CYA - Study in Greece (Semester Program)

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CYA has offered study abroad programs in a wide range of academic disciplines for nearly 60 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 in downtown Athens and will be inspired to immerse themselves in the environment and expand their worldview. Athens, a European capital, is rich in history but also a contemporary hub for art, international business and relations, and debate on economic, political, and migration issues.

The CYA curriculum consists of academically rigorous courses taught by expert faculty. Course offerings encompass a range of academic disciplines and are taught in English. Optional language courses are available (Modern & Ancient Greek, Latin). Each semester, classroom lectures are complemented by onsite courses and field study 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.


Curious about how Greece & CYA has handled the COVID-19 crisis so far, and how we’re preparing for upcoming semesters? Check out the COVID-19 FAQ on our website here:

Questions & Answers

Hello Nicole, thank you so much for your question! Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate students with emotional support animals. Our housing is in residential apartments, and the landlords do not allow animals. In addition, animals would not be able to travel with us during our mandatory field trips because they are not allowed on chartered buses and many hotels will not accommodate them.


9.58 Rating
based on 50 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 94%
  • 7-8 rating 6%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 17 - 24 of 50
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Yes, I recommend this program

I will return one day...

Studying in Athens was one of the most invaluable experiences I have had academically and socially. The city, while much smaller in comparison to -- let's say NYC -- allows you to become comfortable with its long, windy streets. By the first week or so you will already become acquainted with street names, transportation systems, local shops, and friendly faces. CYA's location is perfectly central to all major cultural areas, while still being far enough to avoid all the hubbub. Apartments were decently sized. There are a few things American students may have to get used to like turning on the hot water 20 minutes prior to showering, disposing of paper only in the waste basket, etc. You will be living among other Athenians, so students must be cautious of noise levels, too. Otherwise, our living spaces were very comfortable and gave a good sense of what it is like to live in a city like Athens.

I am certain that I will return to CYA to reconnect with all my dear Athenian friends and who knows, possibly pursue a career in Greece! CYA was instrumental in providing me with opportunities to pursue internships that align with my future career goals. For example, I worked at a gallery space a few minutes away from my apartment, I worked as a writer for an Athens based travel magazine, and I also interned at CYA's Media Lab. All you have to do is ask and the staff at CYA will do all they can to help you.

Academic wise, I do wish CYA had a more expansive curriculum. As an English major, I found myself inundated with Classics focused classes that would not transfer as literature courses at my home institution. Greece is much more than its ancient history, and so I think CYA could benefit from introducing more contemporary focused classes. My Immigration, Nationalism, and Citizenship political science class is an example of a class focused on the 'now' and looking at Greece alongside other major Western European countries. Nevertheless, all of my professors were extremely caring and would even invite their students to dinners and coffees!

If I could change one last thing about CYA, it would be their semester scheduling. I found it difficult to shift back and forth from having classes to long breaks. Especially for language classes, you need consistency in attendance to really solidify concepts. I found myself forgetting, loosing motivation, and feeling frustrated that finals took place immediately after our spring break.

Besides this one suggestion, I cannot express how happy Athens has made me. The friendships I have made, the independence it has given me...I would not trade it for anything!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
My friends and I met up with some local Athenians and they took us to see a local punk band preform! Greek music is not just bouzouki music, go figure...
I also learned to carve marble -- it's much more difficult than you think!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you for your review Barbara! It sounds like you have a very fulfilling time and was able to take advantage of the opportunities presented! Thank you so much for all your comments! Also, we love your pictures, we think they look great! :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

A Fantastic Time!

CYA is a great program! On the surface, it seems to be really pricey, but for everything you get, it is worth it!
Each semester we go on three school-sanctioned trips. In the Spring Semester, we went to Delphi, the Peloponnese, and Thessaloniki. We get guided tours of every site, and we stay in 4-star hotels. We also review ICOMOS memberships--we get free admission to every museum and site in Athens, along with free admission to public museums and sites throughout Europe (and it lasts for a full year!).
The only 'complaints' I have are that some apartments are nicer than others, but it is decided where you live randomly, and that CYA only provides one meal per weekday, so we have to buy groceries or eat out. Otherwise, CYA is a perfect program for classics, history, and poli-sci majors!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to soak up Athens! There is so much history, and the people are so friendly. It might be scary, especially when you first arrive, but just meet new friends, go explore, and try all of the gyros and baklava!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Athens— a new home

Choosing to study abroad in Greece was one of the best decisions I could have made. It is a beautiful country full of rich history, kind people, and AMAZING food. Greece really has it all, and I learned that throughout my semester studying at College Year in Athens. I took a variety of classes from Modern Greek Language and Culture to History of Ancient Greek Sports. The courses were hands-on, many times being held in a museum, coffee shop, or the olympic stadium. CYA provided a plethora of extra-curricular opportunities for students. By participating in 3 different program-lead field trips, I was able to see much more of Greece than I would have without the excursions. The program also allows you to choose from 3 more optional trips, offers many opportunities to volunteer, play sports, attend cooking or marble-carving classes, etc. These are just some of the advantages of the program. Housing is extremely central and very close to many of the main attractions of Athens, as well as the academic centers themselves. I am more than happy with my experience at CYA in Greece, and am now proud to call Athens a second home.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Although it's tempting to do a lot of traveling around Europe on your free weekends, I would also recommend spending a good amount of time exploring Greece! The mainland, Athens, and islands have so much to offer, so take advantage of it!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review, Bailey! We love hearing how much you enjoyed the courses and trips! Thank you for your advice at the end of the review, we agree! :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

The best semester ever!

My semester spent abroad in Athens, Greece was the most formative, eye-opening, and character building experience that I had at USC. While most people who go abroad, this time is one they fondly look back on as an adventurous vacation from school with more freedom then they have ever had. For me, however, this experience was the foundation for my future career path. It not only gave me a new perspective on the world but on my own dreams and goals as well. From my political science classes to my Ancient Greek sports class, I learned how interdependent our world is and how essential is it to have a global mindset with a broad awareness of those outside our own country or culture. It was refreshing to learn about history and current international policy decisions through the eyes of the Greeks, the founders of Western civilization, who are often forgotten in the international sphere.

Through participating in the Greek holidays, festivals, parades, and protests (accidentally) I saw how amazing Greece is as a country and if it wasn't for CYA supporting us to participate in the greek culture I don't think I would have been as in love with the country as I am today. CYA also offered weekly marble carving classes through a family run organization that was the most welcoming group of people I ever met. They fed us wine and dinner every night after class and really wanted to get to know you as individuals. This class also gave me a more personal understanding of the local culture and sprouted my artistic confidence. The most valuable transformation that occurred during my time in Greece was that I stopped only being a citizen of the United States, and became a citizen of the world. CYA provided everything I could have ever wanted in a study abroad experience and every day I wish I could go back and do it all again.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have said yes to even more opportunities because it was all once in a lifetime experiences
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review Jayme! Your pictures are stunning as well! We are so glad to hear that your time with CYA was so positive, and had such a great impact on you and your future! Please be sure to keep in touch with CYA :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Semester My Life Began

I have always been a relatively anxious and shy individual. I am an academic at heart, and have always taken on a heavy work load, but was never one to take risks. Athens and its warm, compassionate inhabitants, however, taught me how to genuinely not fear so many things about life and its possibilities. The night before my flight back to the States, I had one of the most meaningful yet simple conversations with the local cafe owner. He asked what I'd learned from the Greeks and I told him I'd learned to not be so afraid of life. I began to tear up, knowing I'd be leaving in the morning and I wasn't ready to let go yet. When he saw this reaction, he responded to me, "Yes. We do not fear life because we do not fear death." With that, he and his partner sent me on my way with a box full of Greek traditional candies and pastries to take home to my family.
Never have I felt so openly welcomed and comforted by people outside of my own immediate family as when I was in Athens surrounded by genuinely selfless people. The courses I took abroad were obviously very conducive to earning my degrees back home, and I love the topics we studied. However, the most significant and life changing moments I had were those such as I've just described: the moments spent with locals; the simple encounters.
While in Athens, in this program I was fortunate enough to travel to different parts of Greece both as required field trips and as optional side trips. This included all parts of the Peloponnese (Nafplio, Kalamata, Sparta, Menaleion, etc.), Delphi, and even Crete. On the optional trips, I got to visit, Ioannina, Meteora, and Metsovo as well as Cyprus! All of these trips were not only culturally immersive but vastly educational. I loved meeting new people and learning about their backgrounds and ways of living.
Aside from trips, my courses were very involved in the city and took us on several local field trips so that we were studying on-site and truly gaining hands-on experiences, which helped make sense of the cultural concepts we were learning about.
My time in Athens saw many social "firsts," and allowed me to learn how to be a bit more like a social butterfly. I made some very sincere lifelong friends, and for the first time in my life, I learned how to let go of some stress and to have fun while really living in the moment.
I spent my semester as working as an intern for the media lab, creating content, writing articles, doing journalist coverage and social media work for the program. This work not only allowed me to explore my love for writing and blogging, but also forced me to really immerse myself in the culture, while also getting to know the students and their passions. This opportunity is something that has stuck with me as I prepare for graduation and look into further pursuing ambassador and higher education opportunities that allow me to help others pursue these same passions.
I also had the pleasure of working as a "babysitter" for a local Greek family twice a week. While the 2-year-old child I spent time with already had a full-time nanny, I read him English children's books to help him become acquainted with native English speaking. This child brought so much joy to my weekly life, and the time I got to spend with him was very humbling.
Above all else, I say that this was the semester my life began because before my time in Athens, I spent a lot of time being afraid of my own potential, and hiding from some of life's most wonderful opportunities, just for fear of failure. Between the courses I took, the people I met, the mentors that guided me, and the places I visited, this semester changed my life and set me on a path of success, regardless of it's lack of destination. I don't know quite where I am going. But I do know that I am no longer afraid to go there, and since returning home, I have spent the last year exploring, experimenting and figuring out who I am as an individual caught in the web of sociality. This semester truly was the beginning of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
Academically, I think the program needs some more guidelines for grading expectations. Otherwise, perhaps some more hands on assistance with budgeting would be helpful, but the program was sincerely amazing.
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review Rachael! We really appreciate how personal your review is, and how it truly shows the journey you went on with CYA! We really hope you'll keep in touch with CYA as your journey continues :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

CYA Fall 2018

I spent the Fall 2018 semester with CYA, and my experience with them was fantastic! My favorite aspects of the program were its dedicated staff, incredible field trips, and central location. The staff were very helpful in making the transition to life in Athens go very smoothly, and they were also very reliable prior to my arrival. The courses could have been more challenging, but I really enjoyed the opportunities to learn inside and outside of the classroom. There are also many opportunities for volunteering if you are willing to reach out and ask about them. The apartments were quite nice, and we were less than a 20-minute walk away from Syntagma. Overall, I am already missing Greece and I wish I could go back and experience it all over again!

What would you improve about this program?
The program only provided meals during lunch on weekdays. I did not expect this, since school cafeterias tend to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, so eating become much more expensive than I originally anticipated. I also wish that the professors held office hours.
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you for your review Alex! We love hearing that you had a great time, and that it had such a positive impact on you! Please be sure to keep in touch with us :)

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Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience

I had an incredible time in Greece. To start with, the country itself is so beautiful, Athens is the most colorful city I've ever seen, with a vibrant street art community, as well as the incredible ancient sites scattered around. My studies were a surprise to me, as they were challenging, and encouraged me to work hard, but they still left enough time for my friends and I to explore and expand our horizons. My professors especially rose above and beyond my expectations through their thoughtfulness, understanding, and enthusiasm and knowledge of their respective fields! As someone who has wanted to study archaeology ever since I can remember, this experience has only revitalized that passion, and I can't wait to use what I learned while abroad in my studies, and one day, my career!

Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review Ann! We love that you were able to find personal and academic joy within the courses! And, of course, we agree with you, Greece is absolutely beautiful :)

Yes, I recommend this program

A True Greek Experience!

Studying with CYA had a lot of great perks. The most awesome thing about the programs is the program trips which are completely planned by CYA and which take you all around Greece. I was able to travel around Europe while also gaining a very deep knowledge of Greece. The course material is also very centered around Greece which helped to further my knowledge about the country. While the apartments that are provided are not in the best condition, they are clean and also help you be more independent. Greece is in a fairly central location so it's really easy to travel from as well. Also, Greeks are really friendly so it was very easy to learn about the culture and about life in Athens. Overall, I had a great time at CYA and would definitely recommend the program to anyone who is interested in it!

What would you improve about this program?
The apartments could be better and the academics could be more analytical rather than information-based
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review Rachel! We love that you were able to explore Greece, and greater Europe, during your time with us! Please be sure to keep in touch with all of us here at CYA!