- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 3.0 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application review
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program (24 PSU credits to be completed prior to program start)
- 0 semesters of college-level language required
- Students are required to have completed PSYCH 100: Introduction to Psychology
This program spends six weeks in Athens, Greece to study the psychology of religion, and cross-cultural psychology.
Modern Greece is over 90% Greek Orthodox, but Athens was one of the world's cradles of polytheistic belief systems prior to Christianity. This program explores the origins of religion and belief in Greece; the evolution of religion and belief, and the country's transformation from polytheistic to monotheistic belief systems. The program also explores the psychological need and purpose of religion and its impact on us from an existential perspective.
During the Cross-Cultural Psychology course, students will be exposed to different Greek cultural views on a variety of issues, such as education, science, mental health, food & drink, refugees, the environment, and the return of cultural artifacts, while living alongside Greek citizens in local apartments outside of the touristy neighborhoods.
Program site visits will include:
- the Oracle at Delphi, an ancient pagan temple where polytheistic gods would communicate to "man" through the oracle
- Meteora and its monasteries atop massive rock pillars, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- the famous Monastery Hosios Loukas
- the Parthenon, a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, and its museum
- the Temples of Poseidon, Hephaestus, and Aphaia (on the island of Aegina)
- Epidaurus, the ancient world’s most famous Amphitheatre
- the Jewish Museum of Greece and Jewish Synagogue
- the Tzistarakis Mosque, an Ottoman empire era mosque that has been turned into a museum
- Museum of Ancient Technologies
- the Byzantine and Christian museum
- a day visit to the American College of Greece
Summer: May 20 - June 30, 2024
This program may have limited space, so we recommend that you identify an appropriate backup program and complete the Education Abroad Backup Questionnaire in your Penn State Application when applying to this program. Should you not be accepted for your first-choice program, you will automatically be reviewed for your backup choice. For help on choosing an appropriate backup, please contact your education abroad adviser.
Program Leader Information
- Aris Karagiorgakis
- Assistant Teaching Professor in Psychology
- Aris Karagiorgakis is a Cognitive Psychologist at Penn State Fayette and has a lot of experience with international travel. He has been a part of two embedded programs to Rome and Florence. He also developed the freestanding psychology program in Athens, Greece. Aris was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He has been to Greece several times and is fluent in Greek.
All students will be enrolled in PSYCH 230 or PSYCH 499 (3 credits) and PSYCH 499 (3 credits) for a total of 6 credits.
- Students must have completed PSYCH 100: Introduction to Psychology
PSYCH 230 / PSYCH 499 (3 credits, GS): Psychology of Religion
This course explores the origins of religion and belief in Greece, the evolution of religion and belief, and the transformation from polytheistic to monotheistic belief systems. Greece is a Christian country where over 90% of the population is Greek Orthodox. Prior to Christianity taking over in Greece, Athens was one of the cradles of Polytheistic belief systems in the world, with polytheistic god worship of Zeus, Athena, Ares, Poseidon, etc. Students will have the opportunity to meet and engage with local community representatives from each of the big three monotheistic religions in Greece (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and will visit many religious sites, including a Jewish Synagogue and a mosque that has been turned into a museum. Students will also explore the psychological need and purpose of religion and its impact on us from an existential perspective. By the end of the course, students will better understand and appreciate the implications of religion and religious belief on people’s lives- and their own.
PSYCH 499 (3 credits, GS/US/IL): Cultural Psychology in Greece
This course will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of cross-cultural psychology by examining issues that link psychology to other fields such as anthropology, sociology, economics, and political science, and for the purposes of this program, specifically in Greece. The goal of the course is to link basic principles to practical everyday events to help students cultivate a global and multicultural perspective on behavior and gain an improved understanding of and appreciation for development as it takes place in diverse cultural settings around the world. By studying psychology from a cross-cultural perspective, students should become more aware of the diversity of the international community and develop an increased understanding and tolerance of attitudes and viewpoints different from their own.
Students are required to take the prescribed courses listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for these courses. To determine how these courses will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses offered on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
- You must enroll in 6 credits
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
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. The apartments are one-room spacious studios, furnished simply with two or three single beds, two or three desks and chairs, an eating table and chairs, kitchenette with fridge and stove, and a private bathroom. All the rooms have WiFi, air-conditioning, and an overhead fan.
While on field trips, you will be housed near the trip sites.
You will be responsible for providing your own meals. Grocery shops, bakeries, and other stores are in a nearby neighborhood.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. 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.
The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Penn State Global. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund Policy
Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
After the Start of the Program
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Penn State Global Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA Considerations
There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
Race, Ethnicity, and Faith Considerations
When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study Abroad
The planning stages outlined on the Penn State Global website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Penn State Global website for more details.
How to Apply
Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Penn State Global website.
You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Penn State Global website.
Contact Education Abroad
If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad Advisers
Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Penn State Global website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!