The below description has been provided by our implementing program administrator and is subject to change.

Program Overview

Greece Study Abroad Program: Study and Volunteer in the city of Thessaloniki!

Study abroad in Greece and discover ancient Greece as well as and modern Greek culture! Examine the local sustainable micro-entrepreneurship movement, social responsibility, Europe’s refugee crisis, immigration, and more. You can also do fieldwork and research with local Greek family businesses.

Thessaloniki Semester

If you are looking to explore ancient and modern cultural and social issues, choose a Spring or Fall Greece study abroad semester (or a shorter summer term) in Thessaloniki, where you can study social activism, youth empowerment and micro-enterprise.

Thessaloniki, the capital of Central Macedonia, is a 2,300 year old city that still plays a vital and active role in international trade for much of Southern Europe. Those interested in Grecian history will adore Thessaloniki’s unique past, as a symbol of the Byzantine Empire and a free state under Roman rule. The city was also influenced by the occupation of the Ottoman empire, and was the site where the Young Turk Revolution began.

The language of instruction is English.

Where you’ll stay in Greece

During your Greece study abroad program, you will live with local Greek families in Thessaloniki. Living with local families is part of the immersion experience and students will have the chance to learn what it’s like to be a “Thessalonikian.” All host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students. Partial board is included.


The Greece semester abroad program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credentials. TOEFL equivalent 550. No Greek language required.


greece study abroad



Greece Study Abroad: Required Courses

Introduction to COSA

This course is presented virtually and starts before departure and completes after returning from the Greece study abroad program. It includes both pre-departure and post-departure information, discussion and reflection. The course discusses the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning to help dissect the international experience and to foster intercultural competence. One credit will be awarded for 15 hours of academic reflections work, and 2 credits will be awarded for the hands-on service-learning volunteering.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

COSA in Greece (Community Organizing and Social Activism)

The focus of this course is to study community organizing and social activism that can be used across cultures and countries. The course begins with a review of social change organizations, explores the history and ethics of international service, and studies past and present political and social movements and advocacy efforts in Greece. Students will learn the theories and realities of intercultural service-learning. Topics are examined through the lens of community service in Greek NGOs and other non-profits, and include intercultural communication, the mechanics of Greek non-profits/NGOs, citizenship in Greece, local civic engagement/advocacy efforts, and the exploration of civil society.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended US credits: 3

Modern Greek Language

This course is designed to enlighten students with the Greek language, its script, its history, and its idiosyncrasies. Its aim is to familiarize students with the Greek speech and script in a simple and comprehensible way, to discover the alphabet and understand how it became the basis for most European alphabets, to learn how and why the Greek language has dominated scientific and disciplinary terminologies, and how much of it is still used throughout the world. Students will also learn to identify the etymology and meaning of most major Greek words still used in the English language, (from democracy and tyranny to psychology and astronomy) and be able to hold short conversations in one of the oldest and most influential languages in history.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended US credits: 3

Greek History and Culture

This course is designed to familiarize students with Greek history and culture. Its aim is to explore the 5,000 years of Greek history. The course will connect the dots from prehistoric times and the era of the great heroes and legends, like Hercules, Odysseus and the Trojan War, with the achievements of Ancient Greece, the troubled years of Medieval and Byzantine Greece until its independence after the Greek Revolution of 1821, and Greece in the 21st century. Taking place in a large, vibrant port city of Thessaloniki, with a history of over 2,500 years, students will be able to experience Greece’s living history firsthand.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended US credits: 3

Elective Courses

The Rise of Social Activism in Greece Since the Crisis

This course explores solidarity, or social unity, in the context of austerity and refugees in Greece. Austerity measures motivated community efforts including soup kitchens and free pharmacy distribution clinics. At the height of the European refugee crisis, civilian volunteers offered clothing, food, transportation and shelter to immigrants and refugees entering Greece. This course explores how these two crises moments have challenged established forms of sociality and motivated a movement towards national and global solidarity.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended US credits: 3

Creative Thinking and Entrepreneurship

This course is about productive thinking and is designed to assist students in developing critical and creative thinking skills. These skills include the ability to make well-reasoned decisions, solve problems skillfully, and make carefully thought-out judgments about the worth, accuracy, and value of information, ideas, claims, and proposals.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended US credits: 3

greece study abroad

Volunteer Service

As a service-learning member in Thessaloniki, Greece, you’ll have the chance to do volunteer work in one of several local agencies. We try to match your skills and interests to the placement, but please remember that service is ultimately meant to respond to the needs of others.

During your Greece study abroad program, you’ll be an active member of a volunteer team, and work to enhance the projects with your dedication, expertise, and experience. Your effect on other people’s lives will be both powerful and long-lasting.

Volunteer projects address:

  • Refugee assistance
  • English language instruction
  • Supporting homeless and at-risk youth
  • Working with disadvantaged preschool and primary school children

greece study abroad

The following are some of the service opportunities that may be available:

The Care Center:

The Care Center was formed to help refugees and migrants in Thessaloniki. The center accepts refugees and immigrants from different countries who have applied for asylum in Greece or are being transferred to another country. With the help of the mobile medical unit (a fully equipped dental, gynecological and cardiology clinic), we offer free medical services to the villages of Greece, Roma camps, and official refugee accommodation centers.

Blue Refugee Center

The Blue Refugee Center is an inclusive space where people of diverse backgrounds receive education and livelihood programs, attend social and recreation events, and share information and experiences. The Blue Refugee Center also provides reproductive, neonatal and postnatal counseling and care to mothers, designated spaces for breastfeeding, child-friendly spaces and targeted services to beneficiaries. The primary objective of the Center is to empower refugee and host communities by offering a place for these groups to actively partake in decisions that impact their lives.

Thessaloniki Solidarity Center

The Thessaloniki Solidarity Center provides healthcare services, social support services, employment services and legal aid to disadvantaged groups who live in Thessaloniki. All services are free and there are no requirements as to who can receive services. This represents a comprehensive effort directed at poverty relief and social integration of those most affected by the crises facing Greece – specifically, the economic collapse and the increase of migrants and refugees. The center serves the comprehensive needs of refugees including education, employment, and general social services.

Anatoliki Development Agency

The Anatoliki Development Agency is a government run organization dedicated to creating a “Green Zone” in the regions of Northern Greece. The agency provides the following to achieve these goals:

  • Human resources
  • Environment and infrastructures
  • Energy
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Environmental education
  • Consulting support on school communities
  • Social economy
  • Agricultural development
  • Promotion of innovation and new technologies
  • Supporting Local Authorities
  • Supporting Sustainable Enterprises

This school is located within walking distance of campus and serves the children of economically disadvantaged families in Thessaloniki. Volunteers can work with classroom teachers in the elementary school, assisting them in a variety of ways including teaching the children English.

Project PAL

Project PAL is combating discrimination in education and employment in the EU. The project aims to achieve a number of goals in education, healthcare, housing, and employment in order to accelerate Roma Integration into society.

The Mobile School Project

The Mobile School Project is a cart on wheels with extendable blackboards, allowing the mobile school’s educational games to be installed everywhere, such as on sidewalks, in squares, parks, and slums of the big city, with more than 300 educational games available. The Mobile School Project’s goals are to empower street kids, street workers, and school kids. The package covers diverse areas, which makes it possible to provide children a wide scope of basic education: literacy, creative therapy, health education, and drugs and AIDS prevention.

Art Box

Using the idea of Art as Social Intervention, projects hosted by Art Box aim for social change through community engagement, citizen empowerment, and community self-governance. The lab responds to society’s needs and problems by introducing solutions and alternative strategies with the contribution of the artist as a catalyst for change and the citizen as co-producer.


ISea is an environmental organization for the preservation of the aquatic ecosystems. Their activities range from research to educational programs for adults and kids. They have four main areas of focus:

  • Fisheries
  • Invasive Aquatic Species
  • Human and Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Waste Water Management

Things to Do

Travel and Excursions in Greece

Travel is an integral element of studying abroad. Applying knowledge from the classroom through firsthand observation allows for greater comprehension and cultural understanding.

City Tour

As part of orientation upon arrival in Greece, you will be given a day-long guided city tour highlighting important historical sites and museums in Thessaloniki. This will serve as an introduction to the rich history of Greece.

Mt. Olympus & Dion (two days, one night)

You will enjoy a hike up to Mt. Olympus, which is the home of the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greek Mythology.

Sailing Trip (four days, three nights, additional fee)

An unforgettable journey to the three Aegean islands of Skiathos, Skopeleos, and Alonissos and the National Marine Park.

Four Day Excursion to Zagorochoria in the Epirius Region

Zagorochoria, also known as the Zagori villages, rests on peaceful mountain slopes, tucked in the northwestern corner of Greece. These villages are the picture of tranquility and peace, with vast views of unspoiled nature and endless hiking opportunities!


Four Day Excursion to the Tzoumerka Region

Home to quaint villages and stone bridges, Tzoumerka contains stunning natural beauty including waterfalls, rivers, lush hiking trails, and breathtaking mountains.

In addition to the above trips, students taking the Greek Cultural Experience and other classes go on short excursions, including visits to museums and markets, organic farms and vineyards, and exhibitions and fairs.

Optional Excursions (for an additional fee):

Athens (multi-day)

You will have the opportunity to spend four days in Athens exploring everything this 3,400-year-old city has to offer, such as the Hellenic Parliament and the Acropolis.

greece study abroad program