Study in Greece
Greek higher education is fully governed by the state. Only state run institutions are recognized and allowed to provide tertiary education. Some private institutions exist - mainly branches of universities and colleges in for example the United States and the UK. These in turn offer degrees accepted by the governing bodies of the parent country. As with most private schooling, tuition fees are considerably higher than for the public universities in Greece.
The Greek system of higher education has long been a growing item of debate - largely due to the changes taking place throughout the European Union in regards to the Bologna process. As the rest of Europe work toward a quality assured and internationally recognized system of higher education, grading and degrees, some say Greece is lagging behind.
Greece does however have quite a few points to commend itself for the international student experience. Especially perhaps if you are a history buff or interested in archaeology. What you will find in Greece are amazing monuments and well preserved items of one of the most important birth places of today's western civilization.
Spending time in Greece will give you not only a chance to visit the beautiful island world of the Mediterranean, but also to walk through the ancient streets of Athens. You will experience a very friendly culture where time and stress is not of the same importance as what you may be used to.
Greece in short facts and figures
Official language: Greek
Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Area: 50,949 square miles / 131,957 square kilometers
Population: 10.9 million
Calling code: +30
It is like asking yourself why to study in the "birthplace of academia and western civilization", since western culture owes many of its linguistic, philosophical, cultural, legal, social and ethical beliefs and systems. This beautiful Mediterranean country is proud to be one of the oldest living cultures on earth, presenting many thousands of years of history and development. It is located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia and it is an entrance gate to the European Union, centered geographically in south-eastern Europe.
International students will find that a richly varied geography, a long-established archeological tradition, a modern society and bustling economy are just some of the reasons that make Greece a fascinating place to study. Apart from is ancient culture, modern Greece has still many to offer. As a member of the European Union, Greece is uniquely positioned as a participant in both the European and Mediterranean economies. It has experienced rapid growth and infrastructure development, especially after hosting the Olympic Games in Summer 2004.
Apart from the higher education institutes, a number of private institutions, known as Colleges, operate in Greece as well. However, the current Constitution of Greece prohibits private institutions for post-secondary education, from operating as independent universities. Colleges overcome this constraint by establishing collaboration with foreign universities to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. According to the current legislation, as derived by the incorporation of EC Directive 2005/36, holders of academic degrees by universities in the European Union, including those obtained through studies at a college in Greece, have their professional rights fully recognized.
• Humanities, law and social sciences including theoretical faculties such as literature, law, sociology, art schools etc,
• Science, including faculties of mathematics, physics, chemistry etc,
• Health Science, including medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutics etc, • Technology, including architecture, polytechnic schools etc,
• Economics and Administration, including economic, financial schools etc,
The University sector offers a variety of topics to study, such as:
• Business (Economics, Management)
• Classical history
• Communication (Mass Media)
• Computer Science
• Foreign Languages (Turkish, Modern Asian etc.)
• Greek (Literature, etc)
• Health Sciences (Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy)
• Music and arts
• Political Sciences (Public Administration)
• Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics)
• Social sciences (sociology, psychology, etc)
• Sport Sciences
• Theology and Religion
What should I pack?
Whatever you bring, you carry in two checked luggage bags and one carry-on bag. Be prepared to move your luggage through airports, on and off buses during orientation, and up several flights of stairs to your room. Here are some tips:
The Leave Half Behind Rule – Select what you think you’ll need and leave half of it behind. You’ll find much of what you need once you arrive in Greece, including toiletries and other daily essentials, so pack only enough to get you through the first few days. Nobody ever complains about having too little luggage.
Layering – with such a changeable climate, layer your clothes from warm to cold so you can change them up easily. Include a rain jacket.
Use Duffel Bags - with wheels or an internal framed backpack. Closet space will not be as generous as what you are used to, so even if you can get it there, you won't necessarily know where to put it.
Be versatile - Student rooms are normally equipped with only a foot and a half of hanging space and two, three-foot bureau drawers or the equivalent shelf space, and emptied luggage is usually stored under beds. Go for multi-purpose clothing.
The Athenian Dress Code - Students who have participated on the program in the past have said it is important to know how stylish the Athenians dress. Young Greek women and men are very keen on tailored clothes and baggy attire is not acceptable. They tuck in their shirts and wear belts with their trousers and jeans with belts. Sweats are worn only to the gym.
Sheets and Towels - We provide blankets and pillows, but you’ll want to bring two sets of flat twin sheets (not fitted). Two towels should be enough. Don't forget a washcloth.
How can I phone home?
There are several options you may wish to consider for keeping in touch with friends and family back home.
Host-country mobile — Our staff will talk to you about the benefits of buying a mobile phone after arriving in Greece – it helps you integrate and while it should be cheap for in-country texts/calls it is usually not the cheapest way to call the US.
International cell phone — many US cellular phone companies provide international roaming options, so you can keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home. However this is expensive for your calls and texts to/from Greek phones so contact your provider for full details.
Skype, FaceTime or VOiP — Teach your mom to skype! Sign-up online for free internet communication tools before you leave and plan ahead about when to connect. Please remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be different to what you are used to.
International calling card — often the most inexpensive and manageable way to call home – purchase either before departing or in-country.
Will I get the courses that I initially requested?
Please be sure to make your course selections based on the list of available courses for your program in Athens. Every effort will be made to enroll you in the courses you request but many things can happen between the time you submit your course form and the beginning of your program. It is essential that you also register for two alternate courses.
How much money will I need initially?
It's a good idea to arrive with at least the equivalent of $200 exchanged into euro – you can do this at your local bank if you give them notice, or at the airport for a charge. Take an ATM card that's linked to your U.S. primary checking account. Travelers Checks can be exchanged in only one location in Athens and you will be charged a significant fee. Rely on your ATM card instead of travelers checks.
Should I take my computer?
The Arcadia Athens Center in Greece and all student apartments are equipped with wireless so consider bringing your laptop with you. There is a printer in the Center for student use.
Do I need a transformer or converter for my laptop and electronics?
Electric current in Greece is stronger than in the U.S. (U.S. 110 / Greece 220 volts). Unless your laptop is more than 5 years old, it probably is set to work on either 110 volts or 220. This means you will not need a transformer or converter but you will need a plug adapter. Electric wall sockets in Greece are 2-pronged and called Type F Schuko, so you will need a simple plug adapter. These are easily available in Athens.
What happens when I arrive overseas?
There are several answers to this question depending on where your Athens flight originated, what country issued your passport and whether you are traveling on the Student Universe flight or independently.
• Assuming you are flying on a U.S. passport, if Athens is your first stop in the Schengen Zone, you will have to go through passport control and get your passport stamped.
• If, however, you traveled through another country, as is usual with flights from the U.S. to Greece, your U.S. passport was probably stamped as you passed through the transit passenger area of that interim airport (not all passport control officers operate in the same way). In terms of crossing borders, think of the Schengen Zone as a European version of the United States where you can easily travel from state to state without passing through any identification points. For the Schengen Zone, this means that passengers on all inter-Schengen flights from Schengen (like Frankfurt or Amsterdam to Athens) do not have go through passport control.
• If your passport is not stamped anywhere, do not worry but be sure to keep a copy of your itinerary. This will be necessary in place of a stamp in your passport when you register with immigration in Athens.
Travelers on the Student Universe Flight:
If you arrive on a suggested Student Universe flight, a member of the Arcadia Athens Center staff will meet you at the airport and take you and your luggage to your apartments. However, if for some reason you miss the planned flight, you must travel to your apartment as outlined in the Independent Travelers section below.
If you are an independent traveler, bring some € with you or use your ATM card at one of the many machines in the arrivals lounge. Buy a phone card from the newsagent and call the Arcadia Athens Center so that they know you've arrived. Exit the terminal and find the taxi rank. As an independent traveler, you will have received directions to your apartment in Greek to share with a taxi driver. If you missed your Student Universe flight, the Center staff will provide you with instruction when you call. A member of staff or one of your roommates will meet you at your apartment.
Will my credits transfer back home?
Only your home college can answer this question, so be sure and safe – ask now, and obtain all the approvals you'll need. For more information regarding credit transfer policies, please visit the "Credits/Grades/Transcripts" section of our website.
Should I make copies of my papers?
Yes. Many home colleges want to review the work you completed overseas before final credit is awarded. Unless you make specific arrangements with your tutors prior to departure, final exams and/or papers will not be returned to you. It is important to keep copies, therefore, of your papers, reading lists and syllabi from all of your courses.
Can I still vote while abroad?
Before you leave home, check with the Board of Elections at your County Court House about procedures for voting by absentee ballot. You may want to arrange for a member of your family to pick up the ballot and mail it to you. Visit the Federal Voting Assitance Program for more details.
What is the LGBT scene like?
For more information on study abroad for LGBT students please see NAFSA: Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group.
Do I need a passport?
YES! Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees. Make sure that your passport is valid at least six months beyond your program end date.
What time zone is Greece?
Greece is seven hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time for most of the year. Greece switches to daylight savings time on different dates than we do, so for a few days in March or April, the time difference may vary. (Add one, two or three hours to these figures in the Central, Rocky Mountain or Pacific time zones, respectively.)
An excellent resource for determining the time in different areas of the world is The Time Now.
What about insurance?
Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a comprehensive health and accident insurance plan. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. Please note that Arcadia University does not provide insurance for your possessions. We encourage you to purchase coverage for them or to leave irreplaceable valuables at home.
What's the weather like?
The climate varies across Greece. Winter weather in is typically in the 40s/50s and snowfall is rare. Without the powerful heating that you may be used to, it will seem colder, so remember to wear layers.
In the summer it is very hot with temperatures and seasons that correspond to the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Remember, though, that air conditioning is not common in homes, businesses, and transport so it will seem even hotter.
Do I need a visa when studying in Greece?
Yes! Please see the Visa section for details.