Athens Spring Semester Abroad
"My Athens Program experience was the most fascinating, fruitful, and certainly the most unique learning experience I have ever had. Classroom learning about the incredible sites of Ancient Greece is instructive, but to actually be there, face-to-face with the Lion Gate of Mycenae and the Parthenon on the Acropolis, is entirely different, and an invaluable experience impossible to have any other way. "
Zach Mandell, Athens Alum 2013
Since 1989 this faculty-led program has been taking students to Athens for a spring semester devoted to Greek culture from antiquity to the modern day. In courses covering such topics as Greek archaeology and art, the origins of philosophy and rhetoric, Greek drama and poetry, Greek sanctuaries and festivals, Greek diplomacy and warfare, the history of sport and athletics in Greece, the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and modern Greek language and customs, students explore ancient fortresses, walk in ancient temples, and study ancient texts. Study tours take students to major historical sites in Greece: Sparta, the home of Helen and training ground of the most formidable warriors of ancient Greece; Mycenae, the fortified citadel of the legendary king Agamemnon; Knossos, the labyrinthine palace and legendary home of King Minos on the island of Crete; Olympia, site of the first organized sporting contests in the Western world; Delphi, where kings and conquerors gave gifts of thanks to Apollo, and where his priestess, the Pythia, delivered oracles concerning the future; and Athens, where democracy, theater, philosophy, art and architecture all flourished.
“The Athens program offers the opportunity to learn about the famous figures and history of Greece, ancientand modern, in a way that no classroom course or textbook can teach you. Touring the sites, museums and the city of Athens itself, walking in the footsteps of the likes of Socrates, Leonidas and Pericles, and being immersed in an inviting and distinctly unique modern culture all make for an unforgettable experience.”
Doug Chatterton, Athens Alum 2013
Students earn a total of fifteen credits (9 credits at the 400-level) for their coursework. Courses include an introduction to Modern Greek language and culture, instruction in ancient Greek art and archaeology, and Byzantine Greek history and archaeology, as well as two topical courses in the field of expertise of the faculty director. Courses satisfy CAMS, History, Art History and general education requirements. With their 3-credit prerequisite course, students may earn a Minor in CAMS after they have completed the spring semester program.
Classes are held at the Athens Centre, a private language and cultural institute in the residential neighborhood of Pangrati, about a mile from the center of the city and from the Acropolis. With the support of the staff of the Athens Centre, students live in nearby, furnished private apartments, experiencing day-to-day living in a modern Mediterranean city.
For further information, visit:
For application details, go to ATHENS: History, Culture, and Archaeology of Greece in Education Abroad at the Penn State Global Programs Office.