College Year in Athens began in 1962. Established as a nonprofit organization by its founder, Ismene Phylactopoulou, it was the first study abroad program in Greece for English-speaking undergraduates with a program of studies that encouraged students to immerse themselves in a foreign culture. In the first year of its operation, CYA enrolled five students, four of whom completed the year.

CYA has since remained a center for classical studies and humanities but has also adapted its program to meet its students’ changing needs, adding additional course options and out-of-classroom experiences, such as internships and workshops.

College Year in Athens, for six decades, has offered an academically rigorous program of studies combined with the vibrant experience of day-to-day contact with Greece’s people, monuments, and landscape. As a result, CYA enjoys a strong alumni network, with over 11,000 alumni spanning professional fields, including more than 300 professors at universities in the USA and Canada.

As we reflect upon the past, on this page, you’ll find a series of letters written by CYA’s President, Alexis Phylactopoulos, that were a preface to each issue of our institution’s alumni newsletter, depicting, in essence, the state of the school at the time written. You will also find biographies of our founding faculty and a gallery of photos from CYA’s history.

Reflecting on the Past Letters president box
Reflecting on the Past Gallery box