An irreplaceable experience in a local Greek neighborhood July 28, 2019

By (Oberlin College) - abroad from 01/21/2019 to 05/18/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that studying abroad is what you make it. The bonds and memories you make are entirely up to you and it is important to challenge yourself to make the most of such an incredibly unique opportunity.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

CYA courses are what you make of them. I loved the experiential aspect of my classes, but never felt too overwhelmed by the content level of the courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was always kind and was usually flexible with the requests that I had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my neighborhood and my apartment was perfectly functional. The roommate situation was on the intimate-side in terms of space, so having roommates that you jive well with is particularly impactful.

* Food:

I loved the food that was provided, but it is important to know that only one meal is provided a day on Monday-Friday.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in Pangrati is a fantastic location for social and cultural integration. We were separated enough from the tourist area to make real, local connections, but were also able to access the historical and tourist attractions of Plaka and Syntagma.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any issues with my health abroad, but found that when my friends were sick, CYA helped connect us with doctors and hospitals in the nearby area.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Athens and in my neighborhood. People were almost always kind and respectful.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

While I wish I could have been in a program that also had Greek students, I loved living in Pangrati so much that I would always go back to CYA.

Finances

* 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)

I would say it depends on the week: weeks that I traveled I spent more. On a week that I stayed in Athens, I could get by on $100 or less.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would say about $50-$75 on food, taxis and entertainment.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop as much as possible at farmers markets. The food is fresher and cheaper than at supermarkets.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I took Greek Language and Culture, so my professor was always encouraging us to use our Greek in daily interactions.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Don't be afraid to make mistakes and if someone offers to help you, take their advice!

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The culture
  • The people
  • The location
* What could be improved?
  • Interacting with Greek peers
  • Fostering bonding among program students
  • Providing more food within the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that you don't need to immediately book trips every weekend. It is so important to immerse yourself in the culture that you're choosing to study in. Don't rush to have a bunch of random weekend trips.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.