Why Study In Greece?
Life In The Country:
Greece is known to be a fascinating and exciting ex-pat destination. From its ancient ruins and rich cultural heritage to its scenic beauty and hospitable people, located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, it is a country full of contrasting sights. Modern, bustling cities in parts of Athens and Thessaloniki and quaint, quiet islands, and seaside towns make one feel like they might have stepped back in time.
Despite the recent economic challenges, the country is slowly starting to regain its momentum, and aspirants or travelers moving to Greece are sure to enjoy a good quality of life, which includes a relaxing lifestyle, authentic and delicious food as well as affordable cost of living. The country’s strategic location on the Mediterranean also means that people can also look forward to pleasant weather conditions throughout most of the year and a wide variety of opportunities for traveling and adventure.
One of the most attractive features about spending time in Greece is the way it is designed for the affordability of accommodation, particularly outside the main tourist regions. Even in the bustling Athens, average rental rates are around 85% cheaper than what the customer would be paying in New York City.
The sights and sounds of Greece have a tendency of drawing people in from the moment they arrive: with dazzling, whitewashed buildings along tree-lined promenades, the iconic Parthenon standing proud above the bustle of the capital, grizzled old fishermen tending nets along the waterfront, the bright colors of produce in the farmers’ markets, and the bleating of goats on the outskirts of an age-old village.
Attitude and etiquette of the local people:
People of Greece are known for their hospitality and laid-back attitude, two elements that are vital in understanding their etiquette and customs. When meeting someone for the first time, it is customary to either allow someone to introduce you or state your name. Like most cultures, shaking hands firmly is the most appropriate way of greeting somebody during a first meeting. Good friends and people who have known each other for a very long time may also embrace and kiss each other on both cheeks as a sign of affection. Shaking someone’s hands while also tapping their shoulder is also quite common amongst male friends.
In general, Greeks are very friendly and this sometimes is projected as a way of intruding on your personal space or asking questions that might be considered too personal in other cultures. Such actions are not meant to be disrespectful. On the contrary, they are simply ways to approach people, make them feel at home, and create new relationships without a sense of formality. Most Greeks like to make jokes and ask foreigners about their countries and their experiences in Greece.
If a local invites you to their home, then you can keep in mind that punctuality is not a big deal or concern. This is backed up by the fact that they will almost never set a strict time schedule and instead urge you to “come around 12”, loosely. The dress code depends entirely on the occasion at hand. An invitation for a coffee requires more casual attire. An invitation to a big dinner, on the other hand, means that you should dress well but not too formally either. It is a good idea to bring something for the host, some sweets from the local bakery or just a bottle of wine as a small gift. Upon arrival, thanking the host for the invitation and complimenting their home will be much appreciated.
Greek, is the official and primary language of Greece and is spoken by the majority of the country's population. English is the dominant foreign language spoken in the business world of Greece and also taught in schools as a second language option. Greek is also the de facto provincial language in Albanian. Today, it exists as Modern Greek with many dialects in the different regions of the country. Greek is known to be one of the oldest Indo-European languages in the world and has survived more than 34 centuries, and it is the official language alongside Turkish in Cyprus. Today, more than 15-25 million people speak Greek, and in Greece 99.5% of the population converse in the language.
Unless you're a member of the European Union, you'll need to apply for an International Driver's License (IDL) before you rent a car in Greece. If you plan to drive your own car, you will require a valid registration and proof of internationally valid insurance in addition to IDL.
Checklist for Driving in Greece
An International Driver's License (required)
Proof of insurance (required)
Rules of the Road
Using the horn: Technically, using your car horn is illegal in towns and urban areas except in the case of emergencies. However, on high mountain roads, make a short beep before going around a blind curve to alert any oncoming traffic of your presence.
Parking: When in urban areas, parking is forbidden within 9 feet of a fire hydrant, 15 feet of an intersection, or 45 feet from a bus stop (though this may not be marked). In some areas, street parking requires the purchase of a ticket from a booth. These areas will usually be marked with signs posted in both English and Greek.
Seat belts: Front-seat passengers must use seat belts. However, since Greece has a high accident rate, backseat riders may also want to buckle their seat belts.
Children: Passengers under the age of 10 years old cannot sit in the front seat. Additionally, children under 3 years old are required to use a car seat.
Speed limits: Typically, urban areas have speed limits of 50 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour) while non-urban roads have a speed limit of 110 kilometers per hour (68 miles per hour), and freeways and expressways have speed limits of up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour).
Toll Roads: The two special roads (like freeways) called Ethniki Odos, the National Road, do require tolls, which vary depending on the type of the vehicle and can be paid in cash or debit/credit card. There is also a Fast Pass system. Toll booths are also found on the main road running between Athens International Airport and the city center.
Cell phones: It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving in Greece. Violators can be stopped and issued a fine. Periodic crackdowns are driving this point home.
Roadside assistance: The Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA) offer coverage to members of AAA (Triple-A), CAA, and other similar assistance services, but any driver can contact them. For quick access to ELPA while in Greece, dial 104 or 154 on your phone (while not driving).
Tickets: Moving violation and parking tickets are rather expensive, often costing hundreds of euros each.
Driving side: Drive on the righthand side of the road as you would in the United States.
In case of an emergency: For visitors to Greece, dial 112 for multi-language help. Dial 100 for Police, 166 for Fires, and 199 for ambulance service. For roadside service, dial 104 or 154 for ELPA.
Major cities with varied course options
Greece is a small country and there are just over 20 universities in Greece, spread across the country and all within the public sector. While subjects are mainly taught in Greek, specialized study programs are also available in other languages (most commonly English), at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These universities are affiliated to or joined by 15 Technological Educational Institutes (TEIs), which do offer higher education programs with a focus on practical and professional skills, in subjects such as applied technology, healthcare, agriculture, management, and art and design. Overall Greece’s higher education system reputation is well respected around the world, ranking at 41st in the world in the first edition of the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings.
Study Programmes in Greece place emphasis on the English-taught programs offered by Greek Universities and other educational activities targeting the international audience. The action reflects the success of the Greek state, which has early recognized the added value of the offered services. It has been observed that the Greek state’s mentality is totally compatible with the spirit of openness and extroversion, which makes it a welcoming and friendly environment. As a matter of fact, within this enhanced framework, thanks to the strategy of internationalization adopted by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the role of Study in Greece has been upgraded.
Nowadays, Study in Greece cooperates and works with all Greek universities and creates the official bridge which connects the Greek academic world with the international academic universe, not only by informing but also through the organization of conferences, Study Abroad programs, summer schools, and other activities, which aim to accompany and promote the programs and activities of Greek universities.
Choice of higher educational institutes:
Greece has recently adopted the international model for higher education suggested by UNESCO, which calls for two main types of institutions for tertiary education—Universities and non-university institutions. In 2001, there were 18 universities in Greece; eight are in the Athens-Piraeus metropolitan area. There are 12 Technological Educational Institutions, two in the Athens-Piraeus area. And there are 61 Higher Professional Schools (the non-university type), 36 in the Athens-Piraeus area (OECD 1997).
The first universities in Greece were the National Capodistrian University of Athens (1837), The National Technical University of Athens (Polytechneion) (1836), and The Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (1925). Between 1960 and 1980 new regional universities were set up across Greece to meet the increased demand for higher education and contemporary fields, such as computer technology and environmental studies. The new universities are in locations like Ioannina, Patra, Thrace, Crete, Corfu, and the Aegean. Even with these new universities, there are not sufficient places for every student who wishes to attend. As a consequence, many Greek students go to other European countries or to the United States to study. There are no private universities in Greece.
Types of qualifications awarded:
Under the 1992 law, undergraduate studies leading to a first degree lasts for a period of four years (eight semesters) for the majority of disciplines: five years (ten semesters) for agriculture, engineering, and dentistry, and six years (12 semesters) for medical schools.
Non-university studies (TEIs), on the other hand, are shorter and last for three years in general. Some majors call for additional six-month on-the-job training for a degree. All institutions of higher learning are open five days a week.
Greek universities award doctoral degrees. Earning a doctorate requires submitting an original thesis to a committee of academic experts. The post-graduate programs are in the process of being organized
Types of degrees:
This first-degree classification can be achieved during the university level stage one that leads to a Ptychio degree, which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree (Hon.) in other countries. These first-tier studies are undergraduate degrees that normally take up to 4 years to complete but exceptions apply to other disciplines such as Veterinary science and engineering which last for 5 years of study leading to a Ptychio. A Ptychio is also given to medical students who successfully complete 6 years of studies. Students with a Ptychio can either pursue further studies for higher qualifications or opt to enter the world of employment. Universities and TEI’s offer all degrees.
This is the university level and in Greece, it is called Metaptychiako Díploma Exidíkefis. These post-graduate degrees are also known as Post-graduate Diploma of Specialization and are equivalent to a Masters degree. The name of the degree is self-explanatory, the degree embodies a term of study that allows a student to specialize in a particular discipline of study. The Post Graduate Specialization Diploma (Masters Degree is awarded only by the universities. The TEI’s bestow a Specialization Diploma that is also equivalent to a Masters degree.
This is the university level stage three that leads to a Doctorate degree also known as a Didaktoriko. The degree reflects a high degree of specialization in selected areas of knowledge and also promotes interest in fundamental research in a variety of scientific disciplines. The approach has the propensity of strengthening the scientific base of Greece. In order for a student to undertake studies in this level, it is essential that the student possess a Post-graduate Diploma. Only universities award all Doctorate Degrees.
Employment opportunities after completion of degree:
Despite the current recession in Greece, there are some opportunities for post-graduate employment for international students, especially in the hospitality industry. Citizens from an EU nation, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland may work in Greece without a work permit; citizens from other countries must have a work permit.
Part-time and post-study work opportunities:
You might expect that in a country with a large number of international tourists, there must be a strong demand for English-speaking workers in Greece. Though there are regulations that govern the rights to work for foreigners, the attitude to employment within the country can appear quite casual. Nonetheless, you should be wary of any apparent loopholes: some employers may allow you to work without proper registration, but you'll have little recourse if they refuse to pay you as agreed.
Casual and part-time work during the summer will usually be easy to obtain in hospitality and related services, though you may need to undertake some initial health and safety certification in order to work with food. EU citizens can work upon receiving their resident's permit (see our article on studying for a Masters's in Greece for information on visas and immigration for international students in Greece). Nationals of other countries are best advised to contact a Greek embassy in order to inquire about their employment rights in Greece.
Despite the current recession going on in Greece, there are some opportunities for post-graduate employment for international students, especially in the field of the hospitality industry. Citizens from an EU nation, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland may work in Greece without a work permit; citizens from other countries must have a work permit.