Greece was an awesome/growing/learning experience! May 26, 2022

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/16/2022 to 05/14/2022 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad, you gain a new sense of independence and confidence I didn't feel as much in college. It was worthwhile and helps shape character

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.

I didn't find the academic rigor stressful compared to past traditional college courses in the states. Nevertheless, I felt the material I was asked to complete was manageable and utilizing the city of Athens to our advantage was huge!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I didn't really interact with the program's administration once except on a few occasions. I have no complaints.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied with my housing. I asked for (and was given) a single bedroom before housing lists were announced and was fortunate to be living with four other people who also had singles. We lived in a modern, quiet apartment - something most apartments did not have. We also all got along together which immediately made housing that much easier.

* Food:

Our program provides students with a lunch every weekday which was nice so we didn't have to worry about meals during the day. Students were responsible for dinners and breakfasts, etc. The lunch itself was above average but no complaints. The one thing that was slightly frustrating was having to support ourselves during class trips with meals, the program would not cover that.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Unfortunately due to COVID, our program did not have as many opportunities to interact with locals. I found this disappointing, however, understanding.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no issues with my health abroad so I am not the best resource. At one point I had to buy an antibiotic which was very cheap compared to US prices so I was pleased!

* Safety:

Athens like all European cities has pick pockets, sketchy individuals, etc. I found it safe to roam around at night (the program is in a safe neighborhood), but I always had my head up and was aware of my surroundings. Think smart, be smart. People looked/sought to interact with Americans, however, I kept walking.

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

Having never been to Greece before, yet to Europe, I'm happy/excited I chose Greece to explore a new region of the continent. Great food, people, and culture! Yes it was a culture shock at the start, however, after settling I enjoyed myself


* 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)

Athens is a very very cheap city, I had no issues with finances. If anything, the islands were more expensive but that was expected. As long as students do their research before and find places to go they should be in good shape financially.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 EUR
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? N/A


* 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 an intro baseline Modern Greek course, however, it was frustrating due to COVID not to be able to utilize what I learned in the classroom. Greek itself is difficult to pick up, however, not using it in Athens felt disappointing since most speak English and as students we had few opportunities outside the classroom.

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? I am a Spanish minor at my home institution.
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? If you start speaking Greek, they will speak Greek back to you. If you speak English they will only speak English, there is no mix. Most Greek elders only speak Greek.

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?
  • Ability to explore Athens in particular classes
  • Four day school week
  • Numerous opportunities to explore Greece and Europe
* What could be improved?
  • Better communication between students and professors about class expectations
  • Administration having more trust in students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Finals period was slightly more stressful than I wished given the amount of work professors asked for at the end, students have to support themselves with meals during class trips, apartment lists are chosen at random (be ready!) - my situation was very very rare.