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Studying in Athens

The American Tradition in Greece

By Peter A. von Bleichert

Greece is the cultural and geographic crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the ancient center of western civilization. Its culture of filoxenia (Greek for “Friend of Foreigner” or, simply, hospitality), combines with an ancient tradition of learning.

With Athens hosting the summer Olympic Games in 2004 this is an exciting time to study in the city. It is also a most convenient time to live in Athens because the capital’s new airport, highways, and subway system make getting around easy.

Though Greece offers fine institutions of higher-education, especially in the fields of archaeology, history, and political science, lectures are in Modern Greek. Therefore, for the English speaker there is but one logical choice:

Deree College

Deree is a division of the American College of Greece (ACG), a recognized member of the “Ivies-abroad” and is accredited by the State of Delaware to issue both bachelor and master degrees. The 127-year-old College is located in the Athenian suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, with its primary campus facilities spread across 65 acres of the marbled, pine-covered slopes of Mount Hymettus, one of the five great mountains enveloping the ancient city. The American College of Greece owns a subsidiary downtown campus, primly located in the heart of the metropolitan area.

Besides the college’s 80,000-volume libraries, it has some of the finest athletic facilities in Greece, including its crowning jewel for upcoming Olympic Games the pool facilities.

Living in Athens

The college offers no on-campus housing, so living and shopping in Aghia Paraskevi (Greek for Saint Friday) becomes a pleasurable necessity, helping immerse the student in local culture.

A student can now expect to pay about €1 per month per square meter to rent an apartment. Bargains are available elsewhere in Athens for those willing to commute. The ACG Student Affairs staff is helpful in locating housing and arranging for roommates to help share costs (

Financial Aid

The Financial Assistance Program at ACG provides assistance dependent on financial needs and academic achievement, drawing funds from its own resources and donors.

Playing It Safe

With security tight for this years games, Athens is safer than ever. Deree boasts its own emergency response team.

The Greek Experience

In Greece there is nothing that cannot wait, and when he or she is plowing through seas of bureaucracy, the student can expect to enjoy what is perhaps the most beautiful place and the most passionate and proud culture on the planet.

With college summer sessions competing with the lure of Greek beaches and islands, it takes a true scholar to stay with the books. But travel within Greece is a wondrous educational experience in itself and now easier than ever with her upgraded infrastructure. The large number of preserved ancient sites and isolated horios (villages) waiting to be experienced is endless.

Finally, where else can you both ski Mount Parnassus and sample the Pythic vapors of the Delphic Oracle at the Temple of Apollo in the same day?

Kalo taxidi! (Bon voyage!)

PETER A. VON BLEICHERT a professor of international business at the College of San Mateo in California, completed an undergraduate program in history at the American College of Greece before earning a graduate degree in London.

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