I <3 ATHENS June 05, 2024

By (Sociology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/21/2024 to 05/18/2024 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel much more confident traveling and generally being a person on my own. I would go again 100%

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

All of the classes I took, except COMM346 with Michael Nevaradakis, were very interesting and high quality courses. My favorite class was my Greek language course (with Angeliki). The first two months had incredibly light coursework but after midterms things increased a lot. I still liked my classes but felt less motivated to do the readings due to the amount of work I was assigned.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Pretty well done. I had to move apartments a week in and they were extremely accommodating and efficient. I honestly had very little interactions with admin, but I was able to borrow a guitar for the semester after a brief conversation with an administrator!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Really nice! I had to move because my roommates were not satisfied but frankly both apartments were miles better than any Brandeis housing I've had and paid 3x as much for.

* Food:

The food served by CYA was hit or miss, and repetitive after a while. The local food was extremely good and affordable. Try to shop locally as much as you can, many shops depend on CYA students as regular customers.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Very great job of combining the course materials and field studies with the real life experiences of Greek living. My Greek class also covered language and culture, so we did presentations on the holidays and other events that occurred during the semester. There were also a lot of protests and strikes happening so it was awesome to be in the midst of a lot of social change without feeling unsafe.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a lot of allergy problems but no real health concerns. One of my friends went to Urgent Care because of a small scratch she got, and from that experience healthcare seems pretty accessible for foreigners.

* Safety:

Amazing. Literally felt so safe in nearly every area of the city (within reason of course) and often stayed out late at night. I walked very often and felt safe on the metro and other public transportation. Everyone in Greece is very friendly and they are excited to help others.

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

IF there was another solid program like this in Greece I would maybe consider changing but I think my complaints concern the 'luck of the draw' element of who your cohorts are.


* 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)

Hmmmm. Greece and CYA were already very affordable, particularly in regard to my home university. CYA held some budget workshops that I went to and provided a lot of cheap and fun opportunities. I struggled a bit at times because I lost my wallet and had to get cash from other people. But that's not really something that's advisable

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If there's an event with free food, go!!!


* 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 LOVE GREEK!!!!! I was ordering in Greek, talking in Greek, engaging with locals. Super amazing experience with the language and I would love to continue learning it. This is especially due to my amazing professor but also the friendliness of the Greek people. So many Taxi rides were spent on mini-Greek lessons.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 0

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?
  • Professors
  • Location
  • Field Studies
* What could be improved?
  • Inclusivity
  • Diversity
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Focus on meeting the people you truly like, not just the people it's easy to be around

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.