Great country, disappointing program Past Review

By (Archeology., Brown University) - abroad from 01/23/2012 to 05/17/2012 with

CYA (College Year in Athens) - Semester/Academic Year Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have become comfortable in Athens and Greece as a whole. Because of the sheer amount of time spent in Athens with the program, I ended up better prepared to pursue long-term research in the country. CYA was really the only way for me to get an introduction to living and researching in Greece, so that much was worthwhile. However, the program itself did little to nothing for me, save for the token good professor or two.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were easy for anyone with a background in ancient history/archaeology/classics. Not aimed at those with serious interests and experience in the aforementioned areas. Workload was far less than what I am used to at my home university.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Overall, while there are some very lovely people who are readily available to help students, most of the administrators and professors were ineffective. There was little to no consistency. Things that happened that obviously went against the code of conduct were not dealt with, while minor things such as an absence could result in punishment.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Apartments are pretty good. Most people shared bedrooms. Apartments varied in size and quality, but most seemed about average for a big city to me.

* Food:

Lunch provided during the week at school was fine, if repetitive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program made little to no effort to integrate us. There were no opportunities to meet Greeks our own age or participate in events and activities throughout Athens. Most efforts seemed to be aimed at preserving an American college campus feel in the middle of a Greek city. This might have been comforting to some people, but was disappointing to those of us who were hoping to integrate into Athenian life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Some administrators made themselves available to help students who were sick. The program could also recommend English speaking doctors and pharmacies.

* Safety:

Like any big city. Be aware of your surroundings, how you are carrying yourself, etc. Know where you can go and where you shouldn't. Remember that you'll stand out as a foreigner and adjust accordingly.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Travel can get expensive. Normal life in Athens, i.e. groceries, going out for coffee, etc. is very affordable.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • School trips to Peloponnese and Northern Greece
  • On-site classes
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Academic Rigor
  • Cultural Integration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Many programs include some element of study at a local university and both academic and personal interaction with locals. CYA does not. Also, this is NOT a program for anyone with more than an interest in archaeology. If you have a strong background in the subject, this isn't the program for you. This is geared more towards general liberal arts education and providing an opportunity for Americans to go abroad in a safe and easy environment. Thus, if you have spent significant amounts of time in foreign countries and/or if you are an archaeologist, you'll be disappointed.