Ready to Go to Greece
Know Before You Go
Know Before You Go
There are many things you will need to think about before you depart for Greece. This section covers some of the basics. Please feel free to contact your program manager at any time as you prepare for your experience abroad!
In This Section:
You will need a passport to travel to Greece.
Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees.
Passports are valid for ten years unless you applied for one before age 18 in which case it is valid for only five years. If you already have a passport, it must remain valid for three months from the final date of your program of study.
Allow plenty of time to apply for your passport, particularly in the busy summer months. Processing can take as long as six weeks. We recommend you apply as early as possible so that you're not caught at the last minute.
Greece has ratified the Schengen Agreement (http://www.eurovisa.info/) which requires you to have a student visa to study in Greece. For information on the student visa from the Embassy of Greece.
Upon arrival in the Schengen Zone, your US passport will be stamped with an entrance stamp and date. Your student visa for Greece, however, is not activated until you enter Greece. Because you will need to verify the date you first entered Greece, and because this date might not coincide with the Schengen Zone entrance stamp in your passport, please keep tickets, boarding passes or at least a record of your travel itinerary.
Once in Athens, you will need to complete several steps in order to register with Greek immigration. The staff at the Arcadia Center will assist you in this process. You are responsible for the in-country registration fee, about €150.
If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, you need to check with the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC or with a Greek Consulate to determine whether or not you need a visa to enter Greece.
2211 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Greek Consulate – New York: www.mfa.gr/newyork
Greek Consulate – Boston: www.mfa.gr/boston
Greek Consulate – Los Angeles: www.mfa.gr/losangeles
Greek Consulate – San Francisco: www.mfa.gr/sanfrancisco
Greek Consulate – Chicago: www.mfa.gr/chicago
Greek Consulate – Tampa: www.mfa.gr/tampa
Greek Consulate – Atlanta: www.mfa.gr/atlanta
Greek Consulate – Houston: www.mfa.gr/houston
Since there are often delays at both Consulates and the Embassy, we urge you to begin the necessary paperwork as soon as possible.
Certification of Student Status
We provide you with a document to present to immigration officials upon entering Greece which states that you are enrolling as a full-time student and that adequate funds are available for your support. Your passport will then be stamped allowing you to reside in Greece for the duration of your program.
You will receive your certification letter prior to departure. This letter should be kept with your passport for presentation on entry into Greece and at other times when you might be asked to show your passport.
Health and Safety
Immunizations and Allergy Immunizations
Immunizations are not required for travel to Greece or to return to the US. The US Department of State recommends, however, that you check your health records to make sure your measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis immunizations are up to date. We strongly recommend meningitis inoculations, although they are not mandatory. For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (www.cdc.gov)
Health and Accident Insurance
Special Medical Needs
If you have any medical or psychological condition that may require attention overseas from a physician or psychiatrist, please tell us about it. Because some conditions may be exacerbated or reactivated by the experience of living in a new country, you may want to report earlier conditions for which you have been treated successfully. If you have any doubt about these matters, check with your physician/psychiatrist.
Be sure to have your physician/psychiatrist prepare an adequate summary of the details of your condition so you can be properly treated by a physician/psychiatrist overseas. List all medications you regularly use, and be sure to have adequate supplies of special items and prescriptions. If you need to take prescription medicine daily, it is essential that you bring a semester's supply with you. Brand names and dosages differ, and you will have difficulty tracking down the specific medication you want. Be sure all prescriptions you take with you are labeled with your name, the name of your physician and the generic name of the medication. We want you to provide us with any information that would help us assist you in an emergency.
This information will be treated confidentially and remain in our files only until you complete your Arcadia University program. We encourage students with a medical condition which might affect emergency treatment to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or pendant.
Physical and Learning Disabilities and other Special Needs
At Arcadia University we encourage students with disabilities to consider study abroad and we are committed to working with each student to find a program that suits his or her individual needs. Please keep us informed of any special needs, including dietary restrictions/preferences, physical concerns or learning disabilities, allergies and strict religious observances. Providing this information will not jeopardize your place in the program. It is much easier for us to help you if we know about your special needs ahead of time. Please visit the health and safety section of our website for further information and resources.
Health and Safety in Flight
For safety and comfort, wear loose-fitting, natural-fiber clothing during flight. Do not wear snug-fitting or heeled footwear! It is helpful to do seat exercises or to walk in the aisles in order to maintain good circulation.
It is always advisable to sleep during long flights (a flight attendant will provide you with a pillow and blanket). You should avoid alcoholic beverages in flight because they cause dehydration. The recycled air in a plane also has a drying effect, so you should drink non-alcoholic beverages regularly. If you require a special diet, notify the airline at least 24 hours before departure. If you suffer from the effects of jet lag, inquire about methods to combat this problem.
We list the following guidelines as precautionary measures, rather than to alarm you. All of the destinations we offer are located in areas that are, statistically, less crime-prone than the average American urban area. Still, it is important to protect yourself and use common sense.
- Americans can be easy targets. We dress differently, speak loudly, carry backpacks and have a distinct accent.
- Try to blend with your surroundings.
- Do not give out information carelessly about students or events.
- Do not share your address with strangers.
- Keep emergency numbers handy.
- Know basic help phrases in the native language.
- Be careful of persons wanting to make your acquaintance very quickly, as they may have an ulterior motive.
- Meet people in public places during the day, preferably with a friend or two of yours.
- Avoid travel to any sensitive political areas.
- Remain alert and never leave your bags unattended.
Special Considerations for Women
A woman traveling on her own may encounter more difficulties than a man by himself. Some of the best ways to avoid hassle are to fit in and try to understand the roles of the sexes in the culture in which you are traveling. Flexibility means observing how the host country's women dress and behave, and following their example. What may be appropriate or friendly behavior in the US may bring you unwanted, even dangerous, attention in another culture.
Try not to take offense at whistles and other gestures of appreciation, regardless of whether they are compliments, invitations, or insults. Realize that, in many countries, these gestures are as much as part of the culture as is the food, history and language.
But if a situation is dangerous – if you are made to feel uncomfortable – then act as if it is. Be extra careful when giving your trust. This applies generally, but is especially important when traveling alone. Avoid being out alone at night in unfamiliar territory – on the street, in parks, on trams, on trains. If, for example, at night you suddenly find yourself alone in a train car, move to another one where other people are sitting.
AIDS, Safe Sex and Relationships
If you are sexually active, take care of yourself and practice safe sex. Be aware that any type of relationship, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, entails the risk of a sexually-transmitted disease. Entering into a relationship overseas should, therefore, be approached with the same precautions you would use at home. The charm of a once-in-a-lifetime romance in another country may be tempting, but consider any relationship carefully and remember that you are only in your host country for a short time. There are different cultural values regarding dating and relationships.
When traveling abroad, be aware that some countries may require HIV antibody tests. Travelers should also know that some countries may not have the resources to screen blood adequately or provide sterile needles or medical facilities. While health care is generally at a very high standard, we recommend that you take normal, everyday precautions to avoid putting yourself at risk. Do not use intravenous drugs. Practice safe sex. Think carefully about administration of CPR if you are trained to do so. Do not share personal care items, such as razors, with others.
Taking Care of Things at Home
Home Campus Arrangements
You should notify your study abroad advisor that you are planning to take part in an Arcadia University program and be sure to take care of any necessary paperwork before you leave campus. Remember to cancel housing and meal contracts for the time you'll be away and make arrangements to reactivate them when you return.
If registration for next year's courses on your home campus will take place while you are abroad, ensure that the appropriate arrangements are made with your registrar or study abroad advisor so that you will receive your registration materials in a timely fashion.
Some students enrolled on semester programs decide when they are overseas to stay for the full year. This is possible. While home college approval for continued study can be obtained when you are abroad, it will be much easier to make the necessary arrangements and receive preliminary approval before you leave the US.
If you have been accepted to a semester program but want to leave yourself the possibility of staying for the full year, consult your study abroad advisor about what you must do now to facilitate continuing your stay for a full year should you decide to do this.
Voting by Absentee Ballot
You won't want to miss the opportunity to vote if you are overseas during the fall term. Before you leave home, check with the Board of Elections at your County Court House about procedures for voting by absentee ballot. You may want to arrange for a member of your family to pick up the ballot and mail it to you. Some election boards have been known to mail ballots overseas by surface mail, which can take up to six weeks to arrive! Check the following website for more information: www.fec.gov.
If you are studying abroad during your senior year, make arrangements for your yearbook photo before you leave home. You don't want to be left out!
For information on study abroad support for LGBT students and to identify in-country resources, please visit, the website for NAFSA: Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group. You may also find helpful information in the Berkeley and Let's Go guides as well as in the book Are You Two . . . Together? by Lindsy Van Gelder and Pamela Robin-Brandt.
There are several options you may wish to consider for keeping in touch with friends and family back home. Former students have often found a combination of the options below provided them with the best opportunities overseas.
Host-country mobile—to help you integrate with locals and provide a deeper cultural inclusion, Arcadia often recommends students purchase a mobile phone after arriving in-country. During Arcadia orientation our staff will speak to the benefits of have a host-country mobile and explain how they can be purchased.
It is important to keep in mind that while these phones should help you connect with others in-country, they may not be the most cost efficient option for long conversations back to the United States.
International cell phone— many US cellular phone companies provide international phoning options, so an existing cell phone can work any where in the world. This allows you to keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home.
One thing to remember when deciding whether to bring an international cell phone is any calls to your number from new friends in-country will be made back to the United States and not local.
Skype or VOiP—phoning home over the internet is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with others. Students and their family can sign-up online prior to departing and plan ahead about when to connect.
It is important to remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be vastly different to what you are familiar with at home. Often times, students describe this difference as one of the most significant of their time abroad. Be sure to review your program's housing information to learn if internet is provided or available.
International calling card— often the most inexpensive and manageable way to call home, International calling cards can be purchased either before departing or in-country. Calling cards allow for a specific allotment of call credit to be available for your conversations.
You'll need to make a note of the time change so you don't call home in the middle of the night. Greece is 7 hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time for most of the year. Greece switches to daylight savings time before we do, so for one week in March or April, Greece is eight hours ahead of E.S.T. (Add one, two or three hours to these figures in the Central, Rocky Mountain or Pacific time zones, respectively.)
You should take a look at the many excellent travel books available in campus or local bookstores. Our office also has many guidebooks which are available for student use. Returning students tell us they couldn't have gotten by without Let's Go Europe. Another pair of popular budget travelers guides is the Lonely Planet and Berkeley Guides. You can use the costs listed in these guides to help you budget for vacation travel expenses.
A railpass (such as Eurail) will save you money if you're planning to crisscross Europe by train for a month or two at a time. For weekend travel only, it's cheaper to pay as you go.
You qualify for the cheaper Eurail Youthpasses if you are 25 or younger. Eurail passes are valid in Greece, but the railroads are slow (although fun if you're not in a hurry!). These railpasses must be purchased in the US from a travel agent. If you don't want to purchase a railpass before you leave, your family can purchase it for you as long as they have your passport number. Remind your family to insure the railpass when they mail it, because it is not refundable if lost.
Youth Hostel Passes
Youth hostels are inexpensive student accommodations found around the world. You can join the Youth Hostel Association in the US for about $25. It's easier to join before you depart, but you can join the Association once you arrive in Greece. Be forewarned that membership rates may vary between countries. For further information contact Hostelling International USA.