CYA - Study Abroad in Greece! (Academic Year Program)

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CYA has offered study abroad programs for over 50 years, originally founded as a gap year program whose spirit continues today in our immersive Academic Year program. With supplemental activities varying from archaeological digs to study-travel and volunteer/internship opportunities, students actively engage with their course material. Students live in apartments or homestays in downtown Athens: a European capital 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, and 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 for cultural immersion
  • Hands-on volunteer and internship opportunities
  • Opportunity to learn Modern Greek over a full year
  • Personalized attention from faculty and support staff
  • Long-term community building with other students, CYA staff, and Athenian neighbors

Questions & Answers


based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Best Year of My Life

I spent the full academic year studying with CYA, and it was the greatest experience! Every staff member in the program truly cares about each student, which was new to me coming from a large university. We were housed in apartments around the neighborhood that CYA is located in, Pangrati, and CYA's housing coordinator is always willing to help with any problems that arise. They provided us with a delicious lunch every weekday, so it was very easy to grab a quick bite to eat between classes. One of my favorite parts of the program were the 3 field trips per semester that CYA took everyone on (included in the program!) to different regions of Greece. They were a great way to get to know other students and professors better, as well as see in person a lot of what we were learning in class. I couldn't recommend CYA enough!

Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you so much for your review Peyton! The trips integrated into the semester abroad is definitely a special bonding experience that can have a huge impact on your semester abroad! And thank you for your suggestion, as well! :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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This program has a way of making you feel right at home. This is absolutely because of the incredibly kind, caring, and experienced faculty and staff. Also, it is because of Greece and the welcoming individuals in each coffee shop and neighborhood. I learned a different way of living on this program that has made me happier, more flexible, and more patient. The only negative part of this program was that I had to leave at the end. Still trying to find a way to return permanently.

How can this program be improved?
It is perfect.
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Thank you for you review Salpi! We love hearing that a student felt like they were at home during their time in Greece, and we hope that you will stay in touch with us as you try to find your way back to Greece!

Yes, I recommend this program
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A year I didn't want to end

It would be an incredible feat if I could sit here and express all the gratitude and love I have for this country, its people, and the program that immersed me in all of it. My life changed because of my year in Greece, and College Year in Athens made that absolutely possible, with the best of their ability. It would have been so easy to let myself be sheltered in my little Pagkrati apartment, but CYA knows how to reach out to even the most shy of students. There was never any shortage of activities outside of schoolwork to immerse students in the culture: I went on hikes with a Greek hiking group most Sundays, and traveled to parts of Greece that most other students never see. I went sailing for three days around the Saronic islands, and I even got to sail to Mykonos. I tried Greek dancing (keyword, tried, but definitely enjoyed) and volunteered in the Agora archives and handled original 1930’s excavation notebooks! Then for the summer (because I couldn’t stand to leave after spring term ended), I became an au pair to a wonderful Greek family.
I packed years of experience into my single year in Greece, and all of that was done with guidance from CYA. They truly respect their students as adults, and that’s why the classes are also as engaging and diverse as they are. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had class on the Acropolis, but I know I’ve been inside the Parthenon twice because of those classes. With the care of one professor, I presented my first academic paper and performed in a comedy by Aristophanes. CYA even provides trips to Crete, Delphi, the Peloponnese, and Thessaloniki led by the wonderful professors who bring not only the ancient and modern history of the places, but also the personal familiarity and humor you can’t find with a typical tour guide.
Of course, since being back in the States, I miss the real Greek gyros and the strong coffee. I miss the friendliness of the shop owners who took personal interests in your life and helped you learn Greek along the way. I miss the weekly farmer’s markets that packed every fruit and vegetable you can imagine. I miss wandering the streets of Athens and using the Acropolis as a personal compass. And not even the last, certainly not the least, I miss the crystal waters of the Aegean. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until I’m back there again, and I encourage everyone to experience this same amazing, unforgettable adventure.

How can this program be improved?
I would have loved some sort of conversation partner program, perhaps with Greek university students!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Greece went beyond my expectations

When I arrived in Athens, my expectation was that throughout the program there would be time to enjoy the program and also to enjoy the beach. In Athens, the beach is just half an hour away from Pagkrati by tram. It’s a quick ride that takes to the waterfront where there are many restaurants like Eden where authentic Greek food is available for a reasonable price and the service is excellent. If you are one of those who don’t like quick trips and packing every day to move from one city to the other, staying in Athens is not a waste of time.

I chose to live on a homestay because my initial goal was to make local friends. My host parents were fantastic. They were there for me to help me with homework, to go shopping, and to spend some quality time on the weekends. Regardless of their agenda, my host mother was always trying to tell me what was on theaters, where to go during the weekends and she also introduced me to friends of hers including one girl my age that was a student at CYA in the past. I felt safe with them and the amenities that came with a host family impressed me. I learned how to use the transportation in Athens and became the go to person to give directions to other students on how to get to many places in town. I discovered that the new public library in Athens offers more things to do on the weekends then I could fit on my schedule. I took sailing lessons there. It sounds strange to take sailing lessons at a library, I know… It’s a unique place and they host concerts among many other things.

I decided to spend a year in Athens because my traveling experiences are longer than what is common. I didn’t get bored… My friends took me to the Acropolis, I went with my friends to the top of the city for souvlaki, another friend and I had breakfast the Acropolis Museum’s café and even though Cape Sounion – where the temple of Poseidon is located – is a bit far for an afternoon trip I went there a few times; during the summer, I spent the day at the beach using the infrastructure of a local hotel where we had a bar, restrooms and chairs to tan. Athens has so many movie theaters… Watching Café Society by Woody Allen in an open-air theater called Cine Paris was quite remarkable. We were on a large group and took almost a whole row.
At first my academics looked boring. I had to choose one course to fill in my schedule and it looked like it was going be a hassle to sit there and study a way of life. I came to class skeptical to anything I could learn. It turned out to be my favorite course. Coming to Athens to study the past is a common thing; learning about contemporary culture like graffiti that is such a strong icon in Athens, burial rituals and even musical movements changed my understanding of Athens. We didn’t practice any burial ritual but we went to a cemetery to see an ossuary (part of Greek culture for millennia); I looked at graffiti with my classmates where it is more vibrant in town. It was truly a good way to engage with a city knowing some details about Greek culture that before many other students it would go unnoticed. Athens is wonderful. If you are thinking about a city to spend a semester, or a year like I did, it will surprise you. I don’t want to spoil the surprise and tell you about the trips around the country. What I can tell you is that Greece is way more than the little islands with white houses. Thanks to my anthropology professor and to the wonderful staff that organizes the trips across the country, now I know that.

How can this program be improved?
If I could have more Greek students to hang out with...
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Staff

About CYA (College Year in Athens)

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...