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Athena Study Abroad in Paros Island, Greece

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    9

Life-changing experience

The time I spent living on Paros Island, Greece, studying photography at HISA through Athena Study Abroad was the best experience of my life. The photography class taught me so much and helped develop my skills. The people I studied and travelled with changed my life and seven years later many of them still play an active role in my life. I literally cannot say enough good things about this program and the experience I had. It was very affordable and honestly, the experience was worth much more than what I even paid for it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

A perfect experience

This was an absolutely amazing trip abroad! The island of Paros is truly stunning and will feel like home to you in a moment. The food was amazing and the people were incredibly friendly and welcoming. However this program is truly special because they take you on tons of excursions to all the other islands! It is totally stress free, you don't have to worry about booking or figuring out other trips, as the administrators have it all settled before you even go. Your only job is to enjoy the amazing places you go!! I reccomend this program 10/10!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing Experience!

My time in Greece was absolutely spectacular. I had the experience of a life time. Athena Abroad and HISA did an amazing job of making sure the program was the perfect balance of exploration and learning. There was never a dull day in Greece; we were always on an adventure. The classes at HISA were also great. They were very personalized and small, which created a great learning environment. Overall it was an incredible program, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

HISA

I cannot say enough good things about my time at HISA. This program literally changed my life and has been the most exciting part of my college experience so far.
Because the program is so small, I got to know every single student and professor extremely well. Not only do the professors care about you, they become your friends and mentors. I loved being able to visit them at their houses, grab a coffee with them, or even go out with them for drinks.
I absolutely adored every student at HISA and their love of exploration and adventure. We spent so many nights hanging out in the lobby at Jimmy's Apartments, taking midnight strolls to the 24-hour bakery, dancing our hearts out at our favorite bar, and stuffing our faces with popcorn during our movie nights. I think about these people every day and can't wait to share adventures with them for the rest of my life!
Paros is the most beautiful and intriguing island in Greece. Parikia is small enough that I got to know all of the streets inside and out but it wasn't too small that I got bored of it. I never grew tired of my walks to class along the beach or the sunset views from my balcony. The locals on Paros are so friendly and make an effort to get to know HISA students. It is an amazing place that I dream about going back to every day!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Study Abroad Experience That Changed The Trajectory Of My Life

I studied abroad through Athena Study Abroad with Hellenic International Studies in the Arts (HISA) for the first time during the spring of 2013. The experience was so inspiring that I returned to Paros, Greece during the spring of 2014 for a second semester. Athena and HISA are extremely efficient and the process of applying and attending the program was seemingly effortless. I fell in love with every aspect of the program. I was challenged both academically and creatively by professors who took a genuine interest in me and my work. The culture and lifestyle of Paros was addicting and enthralling. I made so many incredible friends, be they other students, locals, and travelers. That island is a magical place, those attending future study abroad programs on Paros should know that many people choose never to leave.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Never so Inspired in My Life!

Not to be cliche, because it's absolutely true, but studying abroad on Paros Island, Greece with Athena Study Abroad was a life changing experience for me!
From the start to the finish, I had a wonderful time. This program was ideal for me because I was late in applying to study abroad (due to a lot of outside factors), so the company worked with me to submit my materials in time and checked in on me to see if I needed any help along the way. Even if I did have a lot of time, Athena would still have given me personal attention, but it was especially nice in this case so I wasn't stressed.
While on Paros the program was structured in such a way that I could direct my studies to my needs. Even in such a relaxed environment as Greece I was able to get a lot of work done. This experience ended up inspiring a lot of new writing projects and working on others I had wanted to do for a long time. Since I'm an English major, this was actually a good thing :-)
The real clincher were the field trips though. They were AMAZING! This program took us to various Greek islands, which gave me insight into the diversity of the Greek culture from island to island, and even from city to city within that island. Additionally, since I went for a semester, we went on a Spring break trip to Turkey. Again, amazing, I loved being able to visit Turkey. I was so happy to have field trips included in the program cost because I would not have been able to travel outside of the program otherwise, due to my finances.
If you want not only an amazing travel experience, but also a company who truly cares for you, go with Athena Study Abroad!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Greek Paradise

I had a wonderful experience. I emerged within Greek culture. I took six classes and private greek lessons. I learned so many new things and met amazing people. This experience was priceless and worth every penny.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

If You Are Looking for a Unique Program, Paros is for You!

I had looked at way too many study abroad programs, but this was the program that I couldn't stop thinking about. As most of the people that go to Paros through Athena will say, they didn't want a conventional study abroad trip. They wanted unique classes, in a unique location, and just really get something more out of the program.

Athena Study Abroad was, by far, the best choice for myself as far as what company to choose. From the moment you meet a representative at a study abroad fair for the first time, to even after your program ends; they provide the best, and personal experience you can ask for. They will help you every step of the way, and feel free to truly ask any questions you may need answered. I plan to study abroad again next Fall through Athena again.

The school you attend there, Hellenic International Studies in the Arts (H.I.S.A), is a tiny little school located in the main town, Parikia. It is located in two small, converted old greek buildings that are beautiful, and personal. The professors there are all very knowledgable and passionate in their given fields. Even though it is an art school, you do not have to be an art major to attend. At HISA, you will get the most individualized attention with your work, studies, etc. than you ever will in your college career. Instead of sitting in a lecture hall of 100 people, you sit outside at the cafe over-looking the ocean with your professor while discussing this week's material. They really care about each student, and want you to succeed. H.I.S.A was probably the most valuable part of the trip for me. It gave me a new perspective, and the professors helped me grow as an individual.
There is a show case/reading at the end of every spring and fall semester to display your work. The entire island is invited to come out every semester. If you are not going into the art field, like I was not, this is something that you never imagined you would experience. It's a little intimidating, but I also was very proud of.

The island of Paros is an amazing, picturesque little greek island located four hours from Athens. You see hundreds of photos of Greece, but nothing really beats waking up every day to it. Paroikia is a small town. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, and beaches. But if the same routine every week isn't your thing, you may have to dig a little deeper. If you want to find something different, you may have to explore other parts of the island also. Water sport lessons, horseback riding, hiking etc. It's all there. You just have to look for it.
The greek culture is something that everyone should experience. The food is amazing, and fresh. The people of Greece are just kind souls. The one thing I wish I had done differently is really taken more time to integrate myself into the town, and get to know people. So I definitely recommend it to anyone who goes on this program.

There are very few weekends that you have completely off. Most weekends, you are on some type of excursion. Through out the semester, you island hop to: Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Anti-paros, and Naxos. Your spring break is a week in Turkey. All of which just makes this program just that much more unique.

If you do decide to go on this program, take advantage of all the opportunities! Take a class that you would NEVER think of taking at home. Whether it be painting, photography, creative writing, etc. Try that class that intrigues but scares you all at the same time. Take those optional hikes every weekend (I recommend Tripiti!) If there are any holidays while you are there, find a way to participate in it. You will quickly find that this place will become a second home, and those 3 months will go by in a blink of an eye.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I Found The Classes To Be Very Inspiring...

I found the classes to be very inspiring and motivating. Since they were so small and intimate, I was motivated to do all of my work, and since my peers were very talented and smart, I was inspired to push myself to do better and keep up with them.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Things Over In Greece Were Fantastic.

Things over in Greece were fantastic. The island itself is beautiful along with the culture. Life is pretty good when lived between the classroom and the beach.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Greek Styled Adventures

Athena offered an amazing greek styled experience from where we lived to where we ate. The best thing about this program is that learning is not just within the class room. The program takes you on weekend and day trips around the island and neighboring islands. If you love the water then you have found the right place. Just a minute or two walk away from a beach with amazing beaches all around the island. We got to go on boat trips and we even went cliff diving.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

Summer in Paradise

Studying abroad with Athena was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I was originally attracted to their booth during study abroad fair day on Xavier University's campus because of it's bright colors and warm welcome. I was instantly greeted by an Athena employee who gave me enough information that I didn't feel overwhelmed, but I was engaged in the conversation. The manual was super easy to read and all the information was given so I didn't really have any questions. When the application process started, Athena's website was super easy to navigate and I had no problem getting in all the required forms. Actually being in Greece was an amazing experience. Athena had everything planned from a greeting at the airport to ferry tickets to our destination island of Paros. One of the best parts about Athena's Paros Island program is throughout the three weeks that you are in Greece you get to travel to many different islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Anti-Paros, Delos, Naxos, etc. The teachers are passionate about what they do and that was shown everyday in class. I wouldn't change my study abroad experience for anything and I am so grateful for everything that Athena Study Abroad has done for me.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My Kind Of Greek Life!

My time in Paros Island, Greece can be summed up in one word: fun. The classroom experience left much room for creative interpretation and the field trips allowed us to see many of the beautiful Greek Isles. I made lasting friends and together in Greece we laughed, lived at the beach, and had the experience of a lifetime.

The staff was very friendly and fun loving, just as likely to talk academics as the fun of island life.

Jimmy's apartments had kitchens, air conditioning, television, and beautiful private balconies. And did I mention daily maid service?!

The rigor of the courses was ultimately left up to the individual, with students taking responsibility for their own level of desired involvement.

You can't miss the Dubliner, a multi-bar building on Paros. The owner loves HISA students and gives them a discount. And practically all the young people on the island can be found dancing and having a great time within its walls.

Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables! Certainly less variety than the states, but the food was always fresh and delicious. Prepare to foster an addiction for tzatziki!

There were multiple restaurants and bars that catered to us as HISA students. And we found it easy to make friends who showed us the best beaches and local gelato places.

The male/female dynamic is a little different than in America. And crime of opportunity (your bag is on the floor and you're sleeping) is more common as well. But, overall, if you're aware of your surroundings and don't interact in an immediately intimate way as you might be used to getting away with in the states, your safety should not be an issue.

I found myself at a local, private hospital after an encounter with a sea urchin and was taken care of in a clean and timely manner :)