In and Beyond the Great Classrooms of Athens
Athens is the cultural, industrial and political center of modern Greece. Ancient Athens is considered by many to be the fountainhead of Western civilization. The heart of the city, both ancient and modern, is the world-famous Acropolis. Nearby is the Agora, the ancient civic center and marketplace with its temple of Hephaistos and other important monuments. Also close to the Acropolis, and within walking distance of the Athens Centre, is the Plaka, the old quarter of the modern city. There, amidst Byzantine churches and early modern historical buildings are other monuments of the ancient city, like the Library of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Also not far from the Athens Centre are the National Gardens, the Parliament House, and the Panathenaikon Stadium, which was built in 330 BC for the Greater Panathenaic Festival and rebuilt centuries later to accommodate the first modern Olympic Games, held in 1896. Lycabettus Hill, with St. George's chapel at its summit, offers one of the best views of this wonderful city. The many museums, monuments, and scenic viewpoints in present-day Athens evoke memories of the masters of art and architecture, philosophy and drama who once walked its streets and who have made such important contributions to Western civilization.
The Athens Centre, located near the Acropolis and other major archaeological sites of the city, is headquarters for the Penn State Athens program. Founded in 1969 as the Athens Centre for Creative Arts, this Greek non-profit organization sponsors academic and cultural activities. It schedules programs for Athens residents throughout the year in the fields of Greek Studies, fine arts and performing arts, and since 1977 has offered courses in Modern Greek language to foreigners living and working in Athens. In addition to its work with Penn State, the Centre cooperates with several other US colleges and universities. For more information about this program, please visit the Athens Centre website.
Bucknell and Penn State Universities collaborate to offer this 90 day interdisciplinary program and alternate faculty. In 2019, Professors Mark and Mary Lou Munn, Penn State University, will be the faculty leaders and will each teach multiple courses. All other courses will be taught in English by faculty and experts in Athens. Penn State students who successfully complete the Athens program and its prerequisites may be eligible to receive a minor in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS). The final field trip schedule for 2018 is to be determined but tentatively includes a variety of visits to sites and museums in Athens, Argolid, Delphi, Peloponnese, and an extended visit to Crete.
Faculty Directors of the 2019 Program in Athens:
Mark Munn, Professor of Ancient Greek History and Greek Archaeology (Penn State)
Mark is a historian and archaeologist specializing in the political, military, and religious history of classical Greece, especially Athens. He is the author of The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates, and The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 BC, among other books and articles. He has excavated at ancient Corinth and at fortress sites in Attica. Since 1980 Mark has led many student groups in Greece, teaching for Stanford University and since 1999 for Penn State University, and has twice co-directed the Summer Sessions of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with his wife, Mary Lou Munn.
Mary Lou Munn, Associate Teaching Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (Penn State)
Mary Lou is a classical archaeologist with special interests in Mediterranean trade and Greek Bronze Age archaeology. Mary Lou has excavated in Italy, at Carthage in Tunisia, and at Corinth in Greece, where she has published on the subject of her PhD dissertation, "From Beyond the Pillars of Herakles: Corinthian Trade with the Punic West in the Classical Period," in Corinth, volume XX, Corinth: The Centenary, 1896-1996. Since 1980 Mary Lou has led many student groups in Greece, teaching for Stanford University and since 1999 for Penn State University, and has twice co-directed the Summer Sessions of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with her husband, Mark Munn.
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Students select 4 or 5 courses (12-15 credits). Two of the courses are required of all students and then students have the option of selecting 2 or 3 additional courses from the option listed below:
The history of classical Greece from the time of the Persian Wars through the turmoil of the Peloponnesian War will be experienced by students who will plan the roles of citizens of the leading city-states of the classical era: Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos, and Thebes. Based on readings of the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, our “citizens” will debate about which of their cities has done more to benefit the Hellenic world as the Greeks rebuild after the divisive Peloponnesian War. In addition to classroom time, our “citizens” will have the opportunity to advocate for their city’s achievements and glory as we visit each of them on our excursions, and even to compete with each other as the Greeks did at the Panhellenic sites of Olympia and Delphi.
Archaeology of Ancient Greece - REQUIRED - (3 credits, CAMS 499 section 2 / HIST 499 section 2 / ART HIST 499 section 1) Professor David Scahill, Athens Centre
A survey of the major historical monuments and sites, from the prehistoric period to Classical times. In this course we visit key sites and museums in Attica, the Peloponnese, and central Greece to examine the art and archaeology of prehistoric and classical Greece in its original setting. Students will explore first-hand the celebrated monuments and masterpieces of the Minoan, Mycenaean and Greek civilizations and will study the changes from palatial Bronze Age society to the age of Greek city-states and its most important developments under Athenian democracy. As students acquaint themselves with the most influential landmarks in Greek art and architecture, they will take a critical and reflective look at their discoveries and re-evaluate the fundamental bases of Greek archaeology.
City States of Classical Greece - REQUIRED - (3 credits, CAMS 499 section 1 or HIST 499 section 1) Professors Mark and Mary Lou Munn, Penn State University
Stories of the Greek gods continue to entertain students of Greek mythology. Visitors to Greece still delight in the sanctuaries and temples dedicated long ago to these gods. Startlingly beautiful landscapes are made all the more breathtaking by the sculpted stone monuments that adorn them. These sanctuaries with their sacred buildings represent the peak of Greek art and architecture and provide vivid testimony to the care and expense the ancient Greeks paid in honoring their gods. These were settings for the festivals celebrated by the Greeks in honor of their gods. Through the descriptions of ancient authors and the archaeological remains of the major temples and sanctuaries we will visit, this course introduces students to the experience of honoring the gods as it was lived by ancient Greeks. The course will intersect well with the subjects covered in the City-States, Archaeology, and Athletics courses.
Honoring the Gods: The Sanctuaries and Festivals of the Greeks - (3 credits, CAMS 499 section 3) Professor Mary Lou Munn, Penn State University
Exploring the emergence and evolution of athletic competitions and spectacles from the Bronze Age through Late Antiquity, this course draws on a variety of disciplines, from history and archaeology to modern sports studies. The course will examine the role of games and spectacles within broader social, political, religious, cultural, and intellectual contexts, as well as their significance in the daily lives of the ancients. In addition to classroom lectures and discussions, field trips to archaeological sites and museums (Olympia, Delphi, and others) will provide opportunities for interpretation of physical evidence.
Athletics and Competition in Ancient Greek Society - (3 credits, CAMS 499 section 4 / KINES 499) Professor David Scahill, Athens Centre
In the context of major events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that continue to shape Greek life and culture, this course will expose students to the many issues Greeks are presently facing in relation to migration, economy, environment, tourism, and the urban/rural split. The course will be built around a an introduction to modern history followed by a series of guest lectures and field trips, as well as the opportunity for volunteer service with the refugee community. Events at the Athens Centre will also give students a taste of contemporary Greek culture as they sample Greek food, films and music.
Culture and Issues in Contemporary Greece - All students participate, grade is optional - (3 credits, CAMS 199 section 1) Professors Mark and Mary Lou Munn, Penn State University
In this intensive introduction to spoken modern Greek, students will learn to use the language in their daily lives, coming to a deeper and more complex understanding of the people and culture of Greece along the way.
Second semester introductory ancient Greek - (3 credits, GREEK 199) Professor Mark Munn, Penn State University
Beginning Modern Greek - (3 credits, CAMS 99) Athens Centre Staff
Introduction to Ancient Greek, offered as needed by beginning or intermediate ancient Greek students.
Reading in Greek prose authors, offered as needed by advanced ancient Greek students.
Visit the Program Particulars section of the Athens Program website for further details regarding the program. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.
Advanced reading in ancient Greek - (3 credits, GREEK 499) Professor Mark Munn, Penn State University
Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program leader.
Housing and Meals
Housing in Athens is coordinated by the Athens Centre staff. You will live in a private apartment a few blocks from classroom facilities, in the residential neighborhood of Pangrati, about a mile from the center of the city and from the Acropolis. The apartments are one-room spacious studios, furnished simply with two or three single beds, two or three desks and chairs, an eating table and chairs, kitchenette with fridge and stove, and a private bathroom. All the rooms have WiFi, air-conditioning, and an overhead fan. You will be responsible for providing your own meals. Grocery shops, bakeries, and other stores are in a nearby neighborhood. While on field trips, you will be housed near the trip sites.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheets for the Spring semester. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
Students accepted to this program who are majoring or minoring in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies are eligible to apply to the Department of CAMS for travel subventions. Contact the Head of the Department of CAMS.
For more information about this program and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
To learn more about the specifics of each program, schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. You must complete the following materials in your application:
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Application deadline: September 15, 2019
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.
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