CYA Featured in Greek Business File Magazine

Recently, CYA President Alex Phylactopoulos was interviewed in the Greek Business File, the only English-language magazine dedicated to the Greek economy and business community. The interview, entitled “CYA: Creating Spiritual Friends of Greece,” was included in the November-December issue of the publication, and highlights the transformative ability of study abroad to open a window to another culture for its students.

As the first study abroad program in Greece and one of the first in Europe, CYA has consistently served as a catalyst for students from the US to expand their worldview. President Phylactopoulos highlighted CYA’s initial mission in the interview: “To enable students to immerse themselves into another culture, open a window… to a world outside America, learn about Greece and its society by spending a year studying in Athens…to spread Hellenic studies and create spiritual friends of Greece.”

This mission has not changed—rather, the approach has transformed throughout time, constantly evolving with contemporary issues to best accomplish this goal throughout the program’s nearly 60-year tradition.

One secret to CYA’s long-lasting success is its “adaptability to changing social and political circumstances,” as well as “its resilience [which] have allowed it to weather any crisis that came its way,” President Phylactopoulos noted. Most importantly, CYA’s extremely high academic standards and level of care for its students, who come to see Athens as a second home, have brought the program to the forefront of study abroad.

Despite CYA’s resilience throughout the years, Covid-19 has proven to be a great challenge to the program, like many other educational institutions, especially in the field of study abroad. When faced with this difficulty, CYA proved that its ability to adapt is still strong.

In the spring semester, as the world began to lock down and Greece ordered all schools to close, CYA moved quickly to protect the health of students, stopping all in-person classes and moving to online synchronous instruction, so students could continue learning from their apartments. Then, many colleges and universities in the US recalled their students, urging them to return home. As there was still time left in the semester, CYA moved to asynchronous online classes for students, so they could receive their credits and continue their CYA experience from home.

In the fall, CYA remained open under very strict hygiene measures and welcomed nine students to Greece. The highly motivated group of students in Greece this semester “are very happy and have been enjoying their experience in spite of all the pandemic-related restrictions,” Phylactopoulos stated in the interview.

In the wake of Covid-19, CYA has invested into digital opportunities, creating an array of virtual internships, fascinating online classes, and the CYA Virtual Lecture Series, which hosts experts in a wide variety of fields for in-depth discussions on Zoom. Additionally, CYA has launched an impressive Gap Program that allows recent graduates to explore Greece and obtain academic and personal experiences before starting college.

Throughout the current Covid-19 crisis and in the future, CYA hopes to “continue our mission of educating foreign university students, making them study and love Greece, its culture, its ancient legacy, its language, and its people,” CYA President Phylactopoulos stressed.

To read the interview in full, please click the link.

Written by Anna Wichmann