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The Inside Scoop on Taking Classes in Greece

by Tiffany Lowery
AIFS Study Abroad students posing with Plato statue in Athens, Greece

While signing up for classes at The American College of Greece, I began to feel overwhelmed as what to expect from a different country and education system. As an almost-alum of the AIFS Summer 2019 program in Athens, I have the opportunity of putting the study in study abroad! I am no expert by any means, but hopefully sharing my own experiences will help ease your mind if you also plan to study in Athens like me!

Here is a closer look into what you can expect from taking classes while you study abroad in Greece.

View from class in Athens, Greece as an AIFS Study Abroad student
The view from one of my classes.

Finding the right class(es) to take before you leave.

I think the worst part about signing up for classes is not knowing if you are going to enjoy the class or if the class is suitable to your degree plan. The best way to fix this anxiety is to take the list of classes available during your study abroad program to your Academic Advisor at your home university and have them look it over to determine the ones that would fit into your degree.

I am currently taking one course in Athens that counts as an elective I need for my degree. Since I am only in Athens for a month, I decided to take a class that would benefit me academically while also being something that I enjoyed! I decided upon an honors class called Walking Incognito through Athens. It teaches the method of studying a city and takes trips once a week to the city center to explore. Hands-on, experiential learning was my personal preference before I left, so when I was looking for classes and found this one, I knew it was right for me!

AIFS student in Athens, Greece visiting the Acropolis and the Parthenon
Visiting the Parthenon at the Acropolis

Your Instructors might teach differently than the way you’re used to.

At my home university, most of my teachers are very digital and use the lecture method of teaching. However, my class abroad is more discussion-based. Personally, I like this more because you are able to interchange ideas and learn from your fellow students. This style may not be for some people, so take a look at the school’s syllabus provided by AIFS to see what you are getting yourself into.

Although the honors class contains harder material, the class definitely pays off for me because of the freedom of sightseeing while discussing topics openly. I personally love this class because it allows me to focus on bigger, broader topics and truly ponder them instead of just memorizing data. Being able to learn about the city in an in-depth way while simultaneously walking around it has been so beneficial to me!

Natural History Museum of Athens, Greece
Natural History Museum in Athens, Greece

You’ll be able to make friends from around the world in one class.

My class is fairly small, with only ten students in total! However, these small classes helped me, and my classmates became closer as a group and as friends. The class would also get together regularly to discuss topics and share what we needed help with on assignments. Since our class was not in the usual setting, we became friends quickly and bonded better through intellectual topics while debating opinions. The most comforting thing has been making from friends all around the world who share common ideas and beliefs. Making friends abroad helps with diversifying your mind and soul.

AIFS student in Athens, Greece visiting the Acropolis and the Parthenon

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