10/10 Experience, 10/10 Staff March 29, 2020

By (Emory University) - abroad from 01/21/2020 to 05/15/2020 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
CYA gives you so many opportunities. I was able to volunteer, go on trips around Greece, go on trips out of Greece, take field trips with my classes, and experience real Greek traditions. There is so much offered by CYA, and they truly make sure that you are having the time of your life.

Review Photos

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

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 still rigorous, but the professors generally understand that you are adjusting to a new country and are trying to fit as much as you can into the given months. They are very understanding, especially if you go to them directly with any concerns or questions you may have. They want to hear from you!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CYA tells you when you first arrive that they are there to be your abroad family, your home away from home. They absolutely mean it and you can see that every day. As someone who had studied abroad before, I knew that oftentimes abroad programs can be confusing and less helpful than you ideally want, but CYA flipped the script. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, CYA was always calm, communicative, and put the interests of their students first. They genuinely care about their student population, and that isn't just something they say. I felt completely safe and supported by my CYA family the entire time I was abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments are centrally located, so you're only a 7 minute walk (maximum, 2 minute walk minimum) from the academic center. You are also close to food, shopping, a gym, and many of the touristy centers of Athens. The apartments are functional. They definitely aren't living in luxury, but they have everything you need.

* Food:

The food in Greece is amazing! CYA also provides you with lunch on the weekdays, which is typically a huge portion (bang for your buck!). There are plenty of cheap options around for gyros and souvlaki, especially. Can be a little tough for vegans/vegetarians, but definitely still doable and CYA will help you as much as they can.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Greek people, particularly those in the neighborhood surrounding CYA, are some of the nicest people I've met. The appreciate when you use the few Greek words you will learn, and they are always looking to help you. Get to know the people at Kekkos (cafe)!!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We were abroad during the COVID-19 outbreak, and I felt completely safe and protected by CYA. They made sure to check in with students who had traveled, and they helped students get doctor's visits and COVID-19 tests if they were even remotely worried. CYA is incredibly helpful, and they will always assist you if you have any health concerns while abroad.

* Safety:

At no point did I ever feel unsafe in our neighborhood, Pangrati, or anywhere else in Athens or Greece as a whole.

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

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)

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

They offer "survival Greek" classes during orientation week to introduce you to the basics of greetings and ordering food, which is incredibly useful! Everyone speaks English in Athens anyways, but it's nice to know a few words to be polite.

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

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Staff/Faculty
  • Location of Academic Center and Apartments
  • Field Trips
* What could be improved?
  • Apartment appliances
  • CYA lunch vegetarian options
  • Laundry center (more machines)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I could tell my pre-CYA self to really hit the ground running as soon as I get there. A semester abroad sounds like a long time, but it flies by! There is so much to do, so make sure you live each day to the fullest and start checking items off your bucket list as soon as you can.