CYA - Study Abroad in Greece! (Semester Program)

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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 20 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 20 of 20
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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


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...