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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Greece: Athens & Lesbos

Semester: Fall
Offered:  Odd years
Upcoming: Fall 2019, Fall 2021
Estimated Dates:  Late August to early December
Program Focus: Regional Area Study with Classical Studies Emphasis
Prerequisites: CLAS 254: Ancient Greek Myth and Religion. Minimum of 2.75 GPA and good academic standing.
Recommended Courses: Art 208: Ancient Art of the Aegean World
CLAS 320: Greek and Roman Epic
CLAS 254: Ancient Greek Myth and Religion
Housing: Varies throughout the program
Fall 2019 Program Leader: Benjamin David
Associate Professor of Art History, 503-768-7393

Program Design

In cooperation with College Year in Athens (CYA), Lewis & Clark offers this program in Greece. Study and travel will focus on the history and culture of Greece from the Classical Period to the Byzantine Era. Based in Athens, the program will include extensive excursions to archaeological sites important for understanding the ancient Mediterranean world.

As an augment to the Lewis & Clark Classical Studies minor, this program provides students with the opportunity to experience the ancient Mediterranean world in ways on-campus faculty and programming cannot offer. The course on archaeology and hands-on archaeological experience ensure student exposure to one of the key dimensions of Classical Studies. The course on the Byzantine world brings students into contact with a part of the ancient world left uncovered in the on-campus curriculum, yet is an integral part of a broad Classical Studies program. The general culture course places the historically-focused content of the program in its contemporary context.

The Athens portion of the program (September, November until the end of semester) will use the facilities of College Year in Athens (CYA) as a home base for courses, library resources, computer labs, and orientation and support. The Lesvos portion of the program (October) will be based in the village of Thermi. The Lesbos sojourn will include hands-on archaeological experience and guided anthropological projects with home visits with local families. There will also be short excursions to the Peloponnese, Crete and Delphi.

Onsite Staff: The CYA Director of Student Affairs is Nadia Meliniotis. After completing the German High School in Athens, Nadia attended Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations. She received her Master’s Degree at La Verne University (Athens branch) in Counseling Education/Education–Special Emphasis. Mrs. Meliniotis joined CYA in 1989 and deals with students’ welfare, concentrating on the interpersonal, social, cultural, emotional, spiritual, recreational, and health aspects.

About the Program Leader: Benjamin David specializes in Italian art from 1300-1600, with an emphasis on Early Renaissance painting. His scholarship and teaching engage the historical and theoretical implications of the practice of narrative in Renaissance art and theories of narrative more generally. He is especially interested in the relationship between art and literature. Other research projects and courses explore the complex nature of the Renaissance engagement with classical antiquity and visualizations of Dante’s Divine Comedy from the fourteenth century to the present day.  He is also interested in how contemporary art creates dialogues with Renaissance and Medieval Art and in the intersections of art history and theories of memory.

Recommended Course:
ART 208: Ancient Art of the Aegean World (4 credits) - taught by Benjamin David, Spring 2019

A focused introduction to art and architecture of the ancient Mediterranean world from the Geometric period in the eighth century BCE to the end of the Roman Empire. Special attention given to the intersections of art and literature and the role of art as a tool of politics. Theories in classical culture about the visual image, the artist, and the practice of narrative; how our definition of classical art is often shaped by the views taken in the early modern period. 


Requirements Fulfilled: IS 259, CLAS 251, CLAS 252, CLAS 253, CLAS 314 and CLAS 255 fulfill the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement. CLAS 252 and CLAS 314 fulfill the 4-credit Creative Arts general education requirement. GREEK 201 fulfills the World Language proficiency general education requirement. CLAS courses may be applied to the CLAS major or minor, and can also be used in some cases with permission for the History and Religious Studies majors.

Credits: 16 credits (4 courses)


All students take 4 courses (see below for course descriptions):

1) IS 259: Modern Greece: Language and Culture

2) CLAS 314: Topography and Monuments of Athens; OR CLAS 252: Art and Archaeology of the Aegean, depending on year

3) Two courses chosen from this list: CLAS 251: The History of the Byzantine Empire (offered every program iteration), Greek 201 (offered every program iteration); CLAS 253: Attic Tragedy or CLAS 255: Sports, Games and Spectacles in the Greco-Roman World (depending on year)

IS 259: Modern Greece: Language and Culture (4 credits)

Students abroad in Greece are faced with a double challenge: making sense of a new culture, in a language that is new to them. This course gives students the tools necessary to interpret and understand what’s going on around them, and to push past their first impressions of difference in order to evaluate the cultural logics and history behind what they observe. Students will receive an introduction to the Modern Greek language, making it possible for them to interact with people on a basic everyday level in their neighborhood, in their explorations of the city, and in their travels throughout Greece. The course also covers the important social changes that have transformed Greek society over the past 50 years, as well as the social concerns most pressing in Greek society today. Each class will be split into two parts: the first will be dedicated to language learning and will be conducted in Greek, and the second will be dedicated to the study of culture and will be conducted in English. Click here to view the syllabus from the Fall 2017 program (subject to change).

CLAS 251: The History of the Byzantine Empire (4 credits)

This course focuses on the transformation of the eastern Roman Empire into a Greek Orthodox medieval empire and the creation of a separate identity for the Byzantine state and society. Topics include the organization of the Byzantine state; the development and defining features of Byzantine civilization; relations between Byzantium and the Latin West, the Slavic world, and Islam; the pivotal and unique role of Byzantium; and the factors that led to the decline of the empire and the eventual fall of Constantinople. In addition to a narrative of the main events that shaped the history of Byzantium during this long period of time, special emphasis will also be placed on various aspects of Byzantine history and culture, such as: the empire’s foreign and internal affairs; frontier strategy and Byzantium’s relationship with its neighbours; trade and the economy; art and architecture; the role of the emperor and the imperial administration in the government of the empire; the central role of religion in Byzantine society and culture and the emergence of the church as a dominant factor in state politics. Click here to view the syllabus from the Fall 2017 program (subject to change).

CLAS 314: Topography and Monuments of Athens (4 credits)

This site-based course gives a comprehensive overview of the topography, archaeology and history of Athens, focusing particularly on the great monuments of the Classical and Roman city. Every major site - and many minor ones - will be explored, paying attention to their physical setting, architectural and archaeological characteristics, and position in the political, religious and social lives of the Athenians. One of the main aims of the course is to investigate how an understanding of the physical fabric of Athens can inform important historical questions about Athenian Democracy, Empire, religion, political and social life. Students will trace the rediscovery of Athens’ antiquities from the 15th century to the development of scientific archaeology in the 19th, and will look the role of archaeology in Athens from the foundation of the Modern Greek state up to the present day. Click here to view the syllabus from the Fall 2017 program (subject to change).

CLAS 252: Art and Archaeology of the Aegean (4 credits)

This course gives an overview of the art and archaeology of the ancient civilizations of the Aegean and Greece: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Classical Greek, as well as providing an introduction to primary sources. In addition to classroom lectures and readings that provide historical context, the course includes visits to archeological sites, monuments, and museums in order to supplement student learning.  

CLAS 253: Attic Tragedy (4 credits)

Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides are all a fascinating ‘way into’ the wider religious and political culture of fifth-century Athens and a rich part of the living tradition of theater today. This course combines both perspectives and seeks to answer the questions ‘What was Attic tragedy?’ (How and why did it emerge when it did?), ‘What is Attic tragedy?’ (What is its relevance and value in the theater today?), and ‘Are the first two questions different questions after all?’ The course combines traditional academic practices (lectures, seminars, the writing of papers) with an experimental ‘hands on’ approach. For the latter, students participate, in either onstage or offstage roles, in a workshop production of certain scenes from an ancient tragedy, intended to explore its theatrical nature and modern relevance.

CLAS 255: Sports, Games and Spectacles in the Greco-Roman World (4 credits)

An exploration of the athletic competitions and sports-based games and spectacles from the Bronze age through to the period of late antiquity, focusing on ancient Greek and Roman athletics, public spectacles, and gladiatorial games. An interdisciplinary study, the course examines the purpose and function of these games and spectacles within the wider context of the daily lives of the ancients. Students conduct their own re-creations of ancient games and sports, visit relevant archaeological sites, and survey representations of the ancient sports and games in contemporary pop culture. Click here to view the syllabus from the Fall 2017 program (subject to change).

GREEK 201: Readings in Hellenistic and Classical Greek (4 credits)

This course continues the introduction of the grammatical principles of ancient Attic Greek that was given in Greek 101. Once the basics of Greek grammar have been reviewed, the course will focus on readings in the religious and secular literature of the Hellenistic and classical periods. Students will examine the historical context of the texts they read, and explore the purpose, historical events, political views, and societal values that each text reflects. The course aims to help students improve their reading skills while also expanding their knowledge of the grammar and syntax of the language. Click here to view the syllabus from the Fall 2017 program (subject to change).

Prerequisite: Greek 102

Excursions: Past program excursions have included trips to Northern Greece, the Peloponnese, Crete, Delphi, Meteora, and Metsovo.

Student Life

Housing: In Athens, students will live in the CYA student apartments. A typical apartment houses four or five students (double and single rooms) and includes a common area, a kitchen (stocked with tableware and basic cooking equipment), bathroom and balcony. Apartments are simply but fully furnished, with clima units (heating/cooling) in each bedroom and WiFi Internet access. Each student has the use of a desk with locking drawer. Although each student receives space to store clothing and personal belongings, storage space is limited and students are advised not to over-pack. CYA provides a pillow, two blankets and a bedspread for each student. Students live within easy walking distance of grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, bakeries, dry-cleaning shops, banks, and other amenities, including a lively, weekly outdoor “people’s market” offering fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and flowers. There are generally no more than a few CYA apartments within a given building. The advantage of these accommodations over typical student dormitories is that students have a greater opportunity to interact with their Greek neighbors and generally live like Athenians do.


2019-2020 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $33,517

Tuition: $26,173

Program Fee: $7,307

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to ATH): $800 - $1,500

Estimated Travel Document Fees: $100 - $150

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: Applications are due one year before the start of the program. The semester before the program, students who have been accepted will meet regularly for orientation. This orientation is meant to prepare the students for life in Greece by exploring literature and culture, and provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the logistical details of the program.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into Athens International Airport (ATH), where they are met by CYA staff, who will help them navigate taxis or public transportation and will give them their apartment keys.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. Students are required to visit a consulate in their jurisdiction to make a personal appearance to apply for this visa. The nearest consulate that serves the Portland, Oregon area is San Francisco. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Greece.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Greece page.