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Though often overlooked as an option, studying in Athens, Greece is a great opportunity to get in touch with local culture and enjoy delightful student life while getting the chance to join one of the top European universities that are based in the city. Besides, Athens boasts a wonderful Mediterranean climate, vivid nightlife, and a fascinating culinary scene.
This article will present a few reasons why you should choose Athens for your studies as well as a few tips for those that are already planning to study in Athens.
Why You Should Choose to Study in Athens
There are several different reasons why we highly recommend Athens for your studies. First and foremost, here you can study for degrees like philosophy, medicine, architecture and politics at the very place they were born and developed – completely for free!
The city boasts several top-notch universities like the National Technical University of Athens, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Secondly, Athens is home to several world-class landmarks and there are countless things to do here as a visitor (including nearby beaches and islands). Plus, Athens has marvelous weather all year round with hot summers and quite mild winters.
Lastly, you’ll find that Greek hospitality paired with mouthwatering gastronomy will make your stay unforgettable.
5 Tips for Those Planning to Study in Athens
If you’ve just arrived or are arriving soon in Athens, we’re certain that you’re going to have a great time in the city.
You’ll soon find out that locals are quite friendly and that Athens is an ideal place for both short-term and long-term studies.
Still, in order to help you get acquainted with the city a little quicker, we have put together a list with five tips for those planning to study in Athens.
Learn a Few Greek Words
While Greek can be daunting to someone not familiar with the language or the Greek alphabet, it is well worth the effort to learn a few words.
Greeks are generally friendly and willing to speak in English if they know it, but the effort to begin a conversation in Greek is always appreciated.
If you have the time, try to learn the alphabet before you go.
You’ll find out that speaking Greek is much easier if you can actually recognize each letter and its sounds and just pronounce every syllable in a word.
Here are a few words to start off with:
- Hello – Γεια σου (Ya Soo)
- Thank you – Ευχαριστω (Ef-har-e-sto)
- Please – Παρακαλω (Para-ka-loh)
- Sorry – Συγνωμη (Sig-no-mi)
- Yes – Ναι (Nay)
- No – Οχι (O-he)
Find Places to Eat out of the Tourist Areas
Athens is the place to go for gyros, spinach pie, and tzatziki. Word of warning, gyros in Greece is not the processed meat Americans have come to expect, rather it is large cuts of chicken or pork roasted on a vertical spit.
Gyros serve as a delicious and inexpensive meal in the Greek capital, and they are served with fries in the pita! For a less fatty option, go for the souvlaki in a pita. Souvlaki is seasoned chunks of meat, usually chicken or pork, grilled on a stick.
For a more traditional meal in Athens, hit up a taverna.
Typically, food is ordered for the whole table and shared, so everyone can try everything, although it is still easy to order individual meals.
Eat like an Athenian and go out for dinner around 10 p.m. when the locals begin to fill non-tourist tavernas.
Metaxourgeio is particularly popular among students as it brims with small taverns that offer local dishes at great prices. You can see the best tavernas in Metaxourgeio here.
The tavernas in this area are a tasty and cheap alternative to restaurants in the tourist areas around Monastiraki and Plaka.
For a quick snack, check out crepe shops and Everest, an inexpensive sandwich, snack, and coffee chain in Greece.
While crepes may not seem like typical Athenian fare, there are small shops around the city and they are a good choice for a snack when one’s had their gyros-fill.
One delicious and centrally located crepe and waffle shop is Zuccherino, in the Monastiraki area, and they offer an English menu.
Hang Out in a Cafe and Drink a Frappe
The Athenians of Ancient Greece were known for their debate skills and even now a favorite past-time is sitting in cafes and drinking coffee.
While drip coffee, Greek coffee, espresso, and blended drinks are offered in most places, don’t leave Athens without trying a frappe.
A frappe is a drink made from Nescafe Instant Coffee and water over ice. It can be ordered with or without milk, and with a lot of sugar, a medium amount, or none at all. As good as they taste, these drinks are not for the faint of heart!
Enjoying a coffee at any of the charming cafes in the city center of Athens is a great way to socialize with the locals and get to know the local culture and the everyday life of Athens a little better in a very relaxing way.
Visit Some Archaeological Sites of Athens
Athens is filled with history and sites are everywhere, from the ever-visible Acropolis to small enclosures on main streets where ancient artifacts have been excavated. Make a day to visit the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, and the Ancient Greek Agora.
Make sure to visit Acropolis Hill at least once during your stay to enjoy one of the world’s most famous landmarks; the Parthenon.
There, you can also marvel at the astonishing views from the surrounding hilltops and explore the winding streets below and the famous “neighborhood of the Gods” called Plaka.
Poseidon’s Temple at Sounion is about a two-hour bus ride from Athens.
While there is not much more than a restaurant and gift shop near the temple, the two rocky cliffs overlooking the sea offer enough sights and exploration to make it worthwhile.
Try to time your visit to catch the sunset there before the last bus leaves.
Athens offers many things to do and places to explore. On weekend mornings, Athens neighborhoods such as Kolonaki and Pagrati have farmer’s markets, and there is an outdoor market in Monastiraki, as well.
Plaka and Kolonaki both have open-air cinemas in the summer months, showing movies from current titles to classics, offering a unique and fun experience.
Shop on Ermou street for clothing, shoes, and paintings, as you head toward Monastiraki and Plaka.
Wander around the graffiti-filled streets of Exarchia, commonly referred to as the Anarchist’s Neighborhood.
Finally, the best way to experience the city is by simply walking through the most popular neighborhoods downtown and exploring the hidden gems that lie behind every corner.
All in all, we’re certain that studying in Athens is a decision you won’t ever come to regret. Apart from offering free education at some of Europe’s top universities and amazing year-round weather, here you can get in touch with the fascinating Greek culture, enjoy the vibrant Athenian nightlife, and experience authentic Greek hospitality.
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