Greece is the cradle of western civilization, where democracy was born several millennia ago. It was the home of a great and sophisticated civilization that spawned great minds such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, who influence our thinking still. The flowering of education and culture in Greece around the fifth century BC has given us the Acropolis, Olympia, and Delphi plus an educational excellence that continues to this day.
And yet studying in Greece is a whole load of fun, too. Athens is crammed with ancient monuments and world-class museums but it also has a booming clubbing and bar scene. Likewise, Thessaloniki in the north of Greece offers a multi-cultural and youthful community along with its sandy beaches and many ancient Greek and Byzantine ruins.
When it’s vacation time, you have a choice. Hop on a ferry to sun-kissed islands such as Mykonos, Paros, and Kos to sunbathe and party, or explore ancient ruins on Delos, the Knossos on Crete, and the Acropolis of Rhodes.
Greece’s vibrant capital of Athens draws students from across the world, while Thessaloniki also has a concentration of universities and colleges. Students from more than 30 countries are enrolled at the American College of Thessaloniki .
If you’re confident enough to go it alone in Greece, enroll directly at university yourself. You’ll have the flexibility to choose your course and where you study, but you’ll also have to sort your application, enrollment, and accommodation without any outside help.
However, direct enrollment programs have several advantages: the greatest is that you’ll pay considerably less in tuition fees than going overseas on a third-party provider program. You’ll be completely independent, free to make Greek friends, and able to embed yourself deeply into local culture. While some Greek universities teach in English, chances are you may end up studying in their native tongue and your language skills will improve in leaps and bounds.
Direct-exchange programs are organized by your academic institution and allow you to experience life in Greece as part of your chosen study course. Benefits include practical help with finance, accommodation, and travel, plus the chance to study in English alongside fellow students from your high school or college. You’ll also be given plenty of support while settling into Greek life.
Compared with the options for direct enrollment across Greece, flexibility of study course and destination will be limited to the institutions that partner with your school.
If the idea of direct enrollment on a university course in Greece doesn’t appeal, you have the option to use a third-party provider, who will organize your application, accommodation, and travel. The provider also ensures that you have a network of practical and moral support when you go overseas as a fresher.
Choice of study course may be limited and the price of the program may be higher than studying in Greece through direct enrollment.
Greece has an educational tradition that dates back several millennia and also offers a vibrant, youthful culture in its two main cities of Athens and Thessaloniki, plus the chance to vacation on a variety of beautiful islands. The cost of living is generally lower than in most western European countries.
If you are coming to study in Greece from outside the European Union, you’ll be required to pay a fee towards your tuition. In general, US students can expect to pay around US$1,800 per year for their tuition and textbooks, but costs vary between further-education establishments. Choose your course and then approach your university directly to check individual fees.
Cost of Living
Greece’s notorious financial troubles have been widely documented and have led to the cost of living going down countrywide. It is one of the least expensive western European countries to study in, with a slight rise in day-to-day expenses found in Athens and Thessaloniki when compared to other regions of the country.
You can expect to spend around US$850 each month on all your expenses, including accommodation, which averages out at US$300 a month. Overseas students are eligible for free medical care and reduced fares on public transport.
Students studying in Greece from the EU and Switzerland do not need to apply for visas. If you’re coming from the USA, you’ll require a visa to study in the country for more than 90 days, and that costs US$139.
Here is a list of the paperwork you’ll need to produce: a passport that is valid for at least six month and has two blank pages; two passport-sized pictures; a Greek visa application form; FBI clearance; an acceptance letter from your chosen university; proof of funds; proof of insurance and health certificate; and a letter from your doctor confirming that you carry no infectious diseases.
This mound of forms must be translated into Greek and then you’ll also have to visit your local Greek Consulate to apply for a visa in person. When you’re making plans, bear in mind that processing your visa can take up to nine weeks and this cannot be expedited unless you pay a surcharge of US$239.00
An array of scholarships is on offer to overseas students in Greece, available from the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) as well as several private foundations. Non-EU students applying for scholarships to study at degree level are all assessed for eligibility by the Inter-University Centre for the Recognition of Foreign Academic Titles in Greece.
With an academic tradition that dates back several millennia, Greece can rightly claim to be the birthplace of western thinking and civilization.
The Ionian University on the island of Corfu is currently the oldest seat of higher learning in Greece. It began life in 1824 as the Ionian Academy and became a fully fledged university in 1984.
However, universities flourished in Athens more than 2,500 years ago. The famous Greek philosopher Plato founded the Platonic Academy in 387 BC.
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (usually known as the University of Athens) is Greece’s largest university, with more than 65,000 students enrolled on campus.
The American College of Thessaloniki offers several interesting courses as part of their Humanities and Social Sciences division. One that U.S. students might find interesting is the course on "Foreign Policy of the USA," which examines U.S. foreign policy since the turn of the 20th Century. If you're looking for an outside perspective, this will be an eye-opener.