Go to Greece, NOT CYA February 26, 2020

By (Tulane University) - abroad from 01/12/2019 to 05/17/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved being in Athens, having wonderful people and amazing food all the time was wonderful. It made me want to move to Athens and keep learning Greek and having a great time!

Review Photos

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

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.

The courses were quite easy and I didn't feel like I learned much, with the exception of one course about EU politics that was amazing.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

If you express any issue with the program it is handled with threats. Many students in my year were threatened to be kicked out of the program and sent home. If you do not comply exactly with their rules, which are quite strict, you are also threatened by the administrative team. There is no outlet to bring up any issue, personal or otherwise, without it being handled incredibly poorly. Do not enter this program if you have any sense of free will because it will not be tolerated.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Roommate matching is done relatively willy-nilly, but I still liked most of my roommates and the housing location was right next to school. if you have an issue with housing or roommates however, there's really nothing that they do about it and moving rooms is not an option. You are also not allowed to have overnight guests for any reason and there is a fine if you do so, which is not mentioned until you arrive in your apartment. So don't plan on having any friends or family visit!

* Food:

The cafeteria food is Greek and cooked by a Greek woman and her team and is delicious. But there is only lunch provided, all other meals are on you.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the culture, and we were given some instruction on the social norms of Greece which was nice. They did little otherwise to integrate us with Athens but it's very easy to do yourself.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Greece itself has excellent healthcare, but I got sick during my time at CYA and was not able to make it to class one day, and when I informed the program they told me to either come to class immediately or they would send a doctor (which I would have to pay for out of pocket and couldn't afford) to my room. I showed up to class and kept having to leave to vomit until eventually the professor told me it was fine and to go home and rest. There's no reason it should have come to that, it's absolutely absurd.

* Safety:

Athens is pretty safe, minus the expected pickpockets. CYA did bring us on a field trip that resulted in many students getting tear gassed, so just be sure to know the socio-political situation around where you're going before you go, even if it's sanctioned by the program. Just be smart!

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

10000% recommend Greece, but being in the College Year Athens program took a lot of my joy out of it. Even locals who had heard of the program knew that it was run poorly and they don't associate with it. Choose another program in Athens!


* 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)

It was very easy until the program required us to do mandatory field trips with no food provided in expensive areas, which drained my bank account despite my budgeting incredibly well otherwise. Many students had the same issue.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat souvlaki! It's delicious and incredibly cheap.


* 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

Taking Greek was not required or recommended, but those that did were able to interact much better with their environment and were encouraged to use the language by their professors.

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
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? Order coffee, a year later I still remember exactly how to order my favorite Greek coffee.

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?
  • Food
  • Exploring
  • Peers
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Field trip planning
  • The entire program (except the food!)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the program was run so poorly, I could've chosen a different program in Athens and had a much better time.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'