Athens Summer Abroad Past Review

By (SUNY - College at Geneseo) - abroad from 05/24/2012 to 06/24/2012 with

SUNY Geneseo: Athens - Humanities Course

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile. I learned a lot about myself and traveling. I gained so many new friends and have amazing memories to tell everyone back home.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: University of Indianapolis at Athens
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.

This class was awesome. Dr. Greenfield made the books interesting and being in Athens not only made the content relevant but also made the ancient sites more meaningful. His tests were fair and his lectures were entertaining. I highly recommend taking this program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff at UIA were so helpful and approachable. They solved every problem with a smile, helped us plan weekend trips as well as gave us incite into the city.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment with 8 other girls. We had two full bathrooms as well as two washing machines. The kitchen held two fridges and plenty of space for us all to fit. Each room was a double (some had bunk-beds), but had huge closets and ample of space for everything we brought with us. Over all the housing situation was fine. It was clean and was in a great location. The only con was the hot water situation, as we had to spread our showers throughout the day in order to get hot water. But it was a minor setback.

* Food:

We had vouchers for one meal a weekday at the same restaurant. The staff was friendly but the food did get repetitive as we got to pick from a small menu of the same items every time. But it always tasted good, so that was all that mattered. The food in the city of Athens is expensive but delicious. Find the local places that tourists do not go too. We also went to the grocery store for breakfast foods and some lunch foods to save money and time in the morning. I recommend bringing a box or two of granola bars from home for when you're running late. The grocery store was not cheap either.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We had so much free time to walk around on our own and explore. By the end of the trip we had made friends with some locals and restaurant owners. Given the four week time span, I think we absorbed as much culture as possible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally got sick for a few days while I was abroad. The pharmacies were so helpful and everyone spoke decent English. A few other people on the trip saw the doctor and said great things about the experience.

* Safety:

We visited Greece in a time of political unrest and besides a few demonstrations we always felt completely safe. We always walked around with other people and tried to stay in big groups at night but i never felt scared or nervous in an area. The Athens school staff and the Geneseo staff were great at informing us of local news quickly and keeping us in safe areas.

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


* 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)

Personally, I dont buy a lot of things. Most of my money went to food and random souvenirs. The weekend trips are the most expensive and range from 200-300 euro if you plan on staying 2-3 nights. I did not spend more than 400 euro but some people on the trip spent a lot more. It is just how much you spend on extra things.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 100 euro a week, usually less
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use the grocery store, it really saved everyone money. Try not to buy things that you can buy in the states, you have to make room to bring it home and it is more expensive here. Try to find the local food places to get good food cheaper. We found a gyro place for 2 euro that served as our daily lunch. Also the ATMs charge a fee every time you take money out, so take out how much you need for the week. I felt safe leaving money in my apartment but some carried it on them at all times.


* 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 had everyone try as much as possible to say the general phrases in Greek but most people spoke English so it was not an issue. The locals loved it when you tried to speak their language and helped as much as possible to understand/correct your phrasing.

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? Only high school level Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Good morning, good afternoon, hello, thank you, please, goodbye and some food names are all that I know. I used them at meals and when I walked into stores.

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?
  • Food
  • Ancient sites
  • Locals
* What could be improved?
  • Cost of overall trip
  • Minor housing issues (ie: slow internet/hot water)
  • not much else
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Besides class information I know my way around the streets foreign of Athens. I know a few pieces of language and some Greek customs. It was awesome to see a completely different culture from my own.