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 2018, Dr. Paula Clossen Buck, Bucknell University, will be the faculty leader and will teach two of the 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.
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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:
ART HIST/ CAMS /HIST 499: Archaeology of Ancient Greece - Required of all students - (3 credits) Dr. Steven Diamant, Athens Centre Staff
A survey of the major historical monuments and sites, from the prehistoric period to Classical times. Includes field trips.
HIST/KINES/CAMS 399: Sport, Competition and Spectacle in Ancient Greek Society - (3 credits) Dr. David Scahill, Athens Centre Staff
This course draws on a variety of disciplines, from history and archaeology to modern sports studies, to explore the emergence and evolution of athletic competitions and spectacles from the Bronze Age through Late Antiquity. 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 will provide opportunities for interpretation of physical evidence.
CAMS 199: Greek Culture and Society - All students participate - grade is optional - (3 credits) Athens Centre Staff
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.
This course will introduce students to modern Greek culture and aspects of Byzantine Greece that forms the foundations of modern Greek identity. The course will include an introduction to elementary modern Greek, participation in a series of lectures and cultural events (movies, poetry readings etc.) that are held each semester at the Athens Centre, field trips to cultural and heritage sites of contemporary significance in Athens and elsewhere, and a four-day field trip to northern Greece, with a special focus on the Byzantine period. Academic evaluation of students will be based on their participation and a detailed diary/critique of all cultural activities and field trips associated with this course. Each student will submit their diary and critique to the resident faculty member.
CAMS/ENGL 499: Writing Greece - (3 credits) Dr. Paula Clossen Buck
Whether one is working with refugees in Athens, exploring the excavation of ancient Olympia, or discovering the wild beauty of a Cycladic island, making art out of life and writing toward understanding will be the primary endeavor in this workshop-based course in writing creative nonfiction and poetry. In this context, Students will have an opportunity to process their individual experiences of Greece and their changing ways of seeing the world around them.
CAMS/ENGL 499: Love and War in Greek Literature - Required of all students - (3 credits) Dr. Paula Clossen Buck
Pairing ancient literary texts with modern/contemporary ones, this course in poetry, fiction, and drama by Greek writers as well as outsiders will explore the themes of love, war and the politics of identity as they take shape in the literary imagination.
GREEK 099: Modern Greek Language - Optional - (3 credits) Athens Centre Staff
An intensive introduction to spoken modern Greek designed to enable students to use the language in their daily contact with the Greek people.
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. You will be responsible for providing your own meals. 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, 2017
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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