CYA - Study Abroad in Greece! (Semester Program)

Video and Photos


CYA has offered study abroad programs in a wide range of academic disciplines for over 50 years. With supplemental activities varying from archaeological digs to study-travel and volunteer/internship opportunities, students are able to actively engage with their course material. Students live in apartments or homestays in downtown Athens and will be inspired to immerse themselves in the environment and expand their worldview. As a European capital, Athens is both rich in history and a contemporary hub for art, international business and relations, and debate on economic, political, and migration issues.

The CYA curriculum comprises of academically rigorous courses taught by expert faculty. Our course offerings encompass a range of academic disciplines. All courses are taught in English, but optional Modern Greek language courses are available. Classroom lectures are complemented by onsite courses and 3 field trips each semester to major historic and contemporary sites around Greece.

  • Onsite classes and study-travel incorporated into program
  • Exciting courses in a range of disciplines
  • Hands-on volunteer and internship opportunities
  • Personalized attention from faculty and support staff
  • Opportunity to learn Modern Greek

Questions & Answers


based on 25 reviews
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 25 of 25
Default avatar

A Fantastic Study-Abroad Program

Many students worry about remaining foreigners while abroad, which was the case for some of my friends studying abroad in other countries. However, CYA does everything it can to foster a strong community and help students immerse themselves in Greek culture. They recommend various internships and volunteer positions, organize a greek cooking class, bring in local marble artists, send emails about a lot of fun events in Athens, and the staff gives great recommendations on places to see and things to do. Everyone is very approachable and genuinely cares about helping the students have amazing experiences abroad.

In order to further help students gain an understanding of Greece's rich history and culture, there are three mandatory field trips to various parts of Greece. These trips provide wonderful opportunities to see more of the beautiful country, try local delicacies and see regional customs. It is also a great experiences for students to get to know each other and some of their professors better as they spend the trip mainly with one assigned group and professor. I got to see so many famous archaeological sites and museums, like Delphi and the Palace of Knossos, while learning about them from very knowledgable professors.

Many classes in Athens are taught on site or take field trips. I loved spending so much time at the Acropolis, going to museums like the Jewish Museum, going to a Monastery, and walking around parts of the city, all for class. I learned more about and how to navigate more of Athens than I ever thought I would through these classes, and I am very grateful that.

It was an all around amazing semester, and I loved the free and delicious lunch that was served every week day, which was a great time to meet up with friends. I know some of the friendships I formed with other students and a couple of Athenians will last a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
There were many fascinating guest lectures towards the end of the semester. It would have been nice if they had been spread out during the semester, but getting ready for all of the exciting field trips through CYA kept everyone busy before the lectures began.
Yes, I recommend this program

A Well-Rounded Experience

My experience abroad in Greece with CYA has been nothing short of wonderful. I chose CYA's program because of the experiential, hands-on learning that it claimed to provide, and I was not disappointed. All of their professors were experts in their field, and they accompanied us to off-site classes, and even week-long field trips; their lectures on-site truly enhanced the learning experience. Being able to see everything we were learning about in person was truly a game-changer. Not only was it a great place to grow academically, CYA also encourages you to fully understand Greek culture, giving out recommendations for activities to do and places to go. They will help you find opportunities for things you are interested in, whether it be sports, volunteering, or marble carving. My experience here has been fulfilling and CYA has helped facilitate that.

How can this program be improved?
Things can get a little unorganized, but you know they want the best for you!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Time of My Life

I truly had the best experience in Greece that I could have wanted. I got to learn about Greece's history, politics, and philosophy, and from those who were experts in their fields. I had class at the Acropolis, the Palace of Knossos, Aristotle's Prison, and the Ancient Agora. Can many other college kids say that had that opportunity??

The best part about CYA is how encouraging the people are. Greek people are so incredibly friendly, and will do anything to make you feel like you are at home. CYA takes that to a whole new level. From the cleaning staff, to the professors, to the administrators, CYA makes you feel like you are part of a big family. The professors are passionate about what they teach, which makes you passionate about learning the material. It doesn't even feel like school work!

I got to travel all around Greece, and all around Europe. I got to see places that I never would have seen if I were traveling on my own. Greece is a beautiful country, and I am so glad that CYA gave me the opportunity to experience all of it. I am so beyond grateful to this program!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Fulfilled every cliché!

Whenever I asked anyone how their experience abroad was, I received the same phrases every time: "amazing!" "completely life changing!" "best four months of my life!" I boarded the plane to Athens, Greece, nervous and unsure about what to expect from CYA– but safe to say the experience fulfilled every single expectation I had. When I returned, I was the one using all those cliché phrases to describe my time abroad, and meaning every single one of them.

The best part of CYA is the people. I love that they draw from colleges all over the US, it allowed me to make some truly amazing friends and greatly helped the adjustment to a new country as we were all figuring it out together. The professors and staff were unparalleled as well. They truly cared greatly about the students and went out of their way to help us find activities and new things to experience. One of my professors invited our class over for a traditional Greek meal at his apartment. Not only were we able to see a different neighborhood of Athens with stunning sweeping views of the city, but it was wonderful to experience that one of a kind Greek hospitality firsthand through sharing a meal with friends. None of my professors at my home institution have ever opened their home up to us like this.

The academic aspect of the program is outstanding due to the integration of on site classes and field trips!! My archeology class often was held on top of the acropolis! The field trips to Crete, Delphi, and the Peloponnese were my favorite aspects of the program. You are never going to experience learning this way anywhere else!

I recommend this program to anyone. It's a stunningly beautiful country with a true sense of hospitality. I left Greece with a greater appreciation for life, newfound confidence and independence, and some life-long friendships. It's an experience that will stay with you forever.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Both a Grand Adventure and a New Home

Spending a semester in Greece through College Year in Athens was a life changing experience for me. I was surprised at how quickly I felt comfortable in the city, which was at once very familiar and welcoming and also completely different from anywhere I'd visited before. The locals were friendly and eager to talk to me about our shared love of Athens and to help me with my Greek conversation skills. Learning a new language in the classroom is one thing, but it's quite another to put that knowledge to use in the "real world," but everyone was patient and helpful and seemed genuinely pleased that I was making an effort.
As a classical studies major Athens was the obvious choice for me when I decided to go abroad, and CYA did not disappoint. I was able to study modern and ancient Greek side by side, and also take archaeology and art history courses held almost exclusively at nearby museums or on site. One class we were even allowed to go inside the Parthenon, an area that is blocked off to the public. Often studying for a midterm meant walking to the National Archaeological Museum for another look at a significant sculpture, and researching for a paper meant heading up to the Akropolis to inspect a set of ancient foundations and form an opinion about their implications.
Athens is a vibrant city full of good food, loving cats, impressive street art, and passionate people who truly care about the world and their place in it. Of course my classes were incredible, but what I really took away from my semester was everything else, from hands-on marble carving workshops to countless opportunities to travel both within Greece and to other countries in Europe. Travel highlights include the archaeological sites of Delphi, Mycenae, and Knossos, and a weekend trip to Barcelona. I was also able to participate in a weekend sailing trip through CYA in which we slept on the boats and visited a few different island near Athens. During my time in Greece I've forged friendships that will endure for years, and memories that will last a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
I'm sure this is the case in most study abroad situations, but all semester we received mixed messages from the program--even our professors--about whether the emphasis of the phrase 'study abroad' should be on 'study' or 'abroad.' Some said that we were primarily there to be students, while others insisted that we should focus on enjoying ourselves and making the most of our time in Greece and that homework should come second. This was confusing, as I was already struggling to find a balance between academics and fully experiencing all that Athens has to offer.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Some of the Most Meaningful and Happiest Months of my Life

It’s hard to avoid falling into clichés when describing my semester with CYA Athens, because those four months really were life changing, eye-opening, and nothing short of a dream. Of course, the country of Greece is unspeakably beautiful, and I am amazed at the huge variety of places I was able to see. From the otherworldly landscape of ‘Meteora' with 15th century monasteries perched atop shocking rock formations to the volcanic cliffs of Santorini… The beaches and mountain ranges were surprisingly diverse but equally spectacular, and each island, village and city had a uniquely charming vibe.

The best part of experiencing Greece was not the breathtaking vistas, however. It was the people of Greece, hands down. Sometimes I still shake my head in grateful amazement when I think of all the ways and times that I was shown generosity, warmth and downright familial love from too many people to count. This alone changed me, and is something that I hope to pass on to others wherever I go in life. The CYA staff was not an exception to this rule; in fact, they were all some of the most wonderful and interesting people I met in Greece.

The academic component of this program was just as excellent. The material for my classes was stimulating and fascinating, and the professors were fantastic. They gave us more individual attention than I’ve ever had in college and took us on once-in-a-lifetime field trips like inside Parliament and an Orthodox monastery, and to archaeological sites, museums and exhibits. As if this weren’t enough, CYA takes all of its students on multiple school-wide field trips that last for as long as one week. This gives you the opportunity to hear about historic and cultural sites from experts in the field in a way that would never be possible as a tourist.

All in all, I can hardly overstate how highly I recommend College Year in Athens. It opened my mind to new perspectives and taught me so much about the world. But also, it taught me so much about myself. I truly can say that I feel like Greece has become like a second home, and that is in large part thanks to CYA.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Best Semester Ever!

Choosing to study abroad with College Year in Athens has been one of the best decisions of my life! I made memories and friends that will last me a lifetime. I found that I made steadfast friends, and connected with others on the program naturally and quickly.

CYA did a phenomenal job of offering guidance for those who wanted it, and freedom for those looking for a more independent experience. They offer incredible guided excursion in the beginning of the semester which allow for easy travel, insider opportunities, and time to get to know the people in your program.

Throughout the semester we took field trips that were course oriented, for example driving to Olympia to see the sites of the first olympics, and taking a boat to Crete to see the art and architecture of the Minoans. One of the best features of CYA was on-site classes. I had class on the acropolis one day, and on the agora the next, as a part of my normal week. CYA offers a variety of courses with appealed to me, I took the opportunity to learn about ancient and modern greek culture, and enjoyed my courses immensely.

The apartments were located less than a mile away from the Parthenon, and downtown Athens. It was incredible to be able to walk through these ancient sites on an everyday basis. We truly lived in and amongst the history! The apartments were lovely, I lived in a three bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the street. The neighborhood is a lovely family residential setting, which means that it is not only safe, but also getting to know your neighbors is easy. We were invited to our neighbor's name day party which was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.

CYA also understands that exploring neighboring countries is part of the abroad experience. With no classes on Fridays, nearly every weekend is an opportunity to travel, learn and experience. During my semester I explored an underwater cave in Macedonia, bathed in a hammam and shopped in the Grand Bizarre in Istanbul, Turkey, hiked to the top of a tower in Thessaloniki, attended an Austrian ball, and bicycled through the streets of Stockholm, Sweden.

A full week of vacation was granted for the week of thanksgiving. I took that opportunity to hunt down the northern lights in Sweden, and to explore the enchanting cities of Salzburg (home to The Sound of Music), and Vienna.

A small side note- there is a gym very close to the neighborhood that we lived in. As a varsity athlete, keeping in shape was important to me. It was easy enrolling and getting there (a little jog and I was there!), and taking a variety of fitness classes in Greek was an absolute blast (yoga, zumba, kickboxing, etc).

Before choosing College Year in Athens, I looked at many other programs-- With the world at my fingertips it was difficult to choose where to go! Athens ended up being the perfect choice for me. I made incredible friends, went on unbelievable adventures, and learned a whole lot more about the world and myself along the way.

How can this program be improved?
I would agree with a previous reviewer that CYA could facilitate more merging between greeks and american students- perhaps a party/ gathering could be organized to welcome neighbors to meet new students.

The only other drawback was that washers and dryers were located in the academic building, so one has to shlep their dirty laundry through the neighborhood to wash it.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Experiencing Greece

When I was looking for study abroad programs, CYA caught my eye because it offers an archaeological drawing program. Being an art major and always having been strongly interested in classics, this class, which is incidentally taught by the top woman in the field, was amazing.
This class was just one of the great things about CYA though. The program is in a great central location in Pagrati, a nice compact neighborhood next to the Panathenaic stadium and walking distance from the Acropolis. This environment, the wonderful tight-knit staff and faculty who are all experts in their fields, and/or just warm, caring people, and the small number of students, makes CYA feel like a small community.
The staff and faculty I feel really wanted us to experience Greece like Greeks. I loved how they took us out to traditional tavernas for dinner and taught us about the traditional food and drink and ate it with us.
The academics had great chances to take very specialized classes in things like archaeology especially, as well as very interesting classes that focused on the current state of Greece as well as its historical origins. My favorite classes used the National Archaeological Museum and Acropolis museums everyday for class lectures. Cant overemphasize the value of first-hand viewing of art for an art history class.
We also went on several group trips around Greece, this was NOTHING like cheesy tourist packages or something, our amazing professors were often so well experienced in the area we were in that they would correct museum placards which were outdated and were overall very enjoyable, even the driving for hours because, Greece is drop-dead beautiful.
Just one more testament to how kind the staff is: I stayed in Greece over the summer with a volunteer program and when I was back in Athens heading home they amazingly let me in to use the laundry for my disgusting clothes and print my plane ticket. You really cannot go wrong with College Year in Athens. I would love to do it again!

How can this program be improved?
If I had to choose one thing to change it would be the amount of interaction students get with other Greek students. It was pretty exclusively American students that we saw every day. Maybe Greek language could integrate with Greek students? Not that I couldn't have gone out and met Greeks myself, CYA definitely made an effort by promoting local events and such.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

My Experience with CYA

I studied abroad with CYA in the spring of 2015. I am of Greek descent, and so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to study in Greece. Going into the semester, I didn't really expect much from the program and I had no strong feelings about CYA one way or another.

However, once I got the Greece and started experiencing life in Athens, I came to quickly appreciate CYA. They made sure that everything from finding your apartment on the first day to finding an internship in Athens was as easy and trouble-free as possible. They have a wonderful woman, Nadia, who connected me and my friends with several different organizations, including recreational sports, hiking, academic groups, and even teaching English to refugees.

Even more, CYA provided us with several wonderful trips through Greece. These trips are super fun (literally driving through beautiful Greece -- trust me, it's stunning), and they're at no extra cost. We went to Delphi, Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest city), Sparta, and a plethora of archaeological sites. I wish I could do it again!

Regarding academics, CYA can really be whatever you want it to be. I managed to get all of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I had a four-day weekend every week. My days with classes were busy, but two of my classes met on-site, and so I would spend my mornings walking archaeological sites and visiting ancient monuments. For one of my classes, we actually held class inside some of the monuments, such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Propylaia. 10/10 would do it again.

My only qualm with CYA is how much time you spend with other American students. I didn't end up making too many Greek friends, as most of my time was spent with my classmates. However, I think this was more my fault than anyone else's, as CYA provided ample support for people looking to get involved in the city and community -- I just didn't take advantage of that as I should have.

Over all, I loved CYA and can't recommend it highly enough.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Summer of a Lifetime!

It is hard to sum up the experience I had with CYA in words.. I can honestly say that the 8+ weeks I spent in Greece have been the best weeks of my life thus far, in part thanks to CYA. I am a science major at my home university, but the two classes I took in Greece that focused on the anthropology of the Mediterranean diet and the archeology of the Bronze Age really opened my eyes to some more of my academic interests and enriched my liberal arts education. The professors at CYA are obviously passionate about what they are teaching, and I think that this attribute really made us students not only want to learn more but to actually care about what we were learning. The structure of the summer programs allowed for personal travel and exploration which were huge parts of my experience as a whole and really instilled within me a desire to continue traveling in the future. While studying abroad through CYA, students lived with other students from the United States. While I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be living with a more international crowd, I think that this arrangement had some “pros” as well. Culture shock is a real thing and to be able to come back home to other American students that were speaking English and experiencing the same emotions was comforting in a experience that was often very overwhelming and uncomfortable. I was in Greece during the summer of 2015 when the economic situation was very interesting and sometimes unsettling, yet I always felt safe being with CYA because they continuously ensured us that everything would be okay and had emergency plans in place if things went awry. I think that that speaks greatly for the structure of the program. I would recommend a program in Greece to anyone that is looking for a experience full of culture, history, and the iconic hospitality that is often associated with the beautiful country.

How can this program be improved?
- Immersion efforts
- Dining hall food
- Information exchange between home university and CYA
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About College Year in Athens (CYA)

CYA is a non-profit educational institution that offers semester, academic year, and summer study abroad programs in Greece. We offer an academically rigorous program of studies combined with the vibrant experience of day-to-day contact with the...