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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Greece: Athens & Lesbos

Semester: Fall
Offered:  Every other academic year, odd years
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.
Housing: Varies throughout the program
Fall 2017 Program Leader:

Paul Powers
Professor of Religious Studies
ext. 7289

Fall 2019 Program Leader:

Benjamin David
Associate Professor of Art History
ext. 7393

Program Design

Study and travel will focus on the history and culture of Greece from the Classical Period to the Byzantine Era. Based in Athens and the island of Lesvos, 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curriculum, yet is an integral part of a broad Classical Studies program; the general culture course places the historical content of the program in its contemporary context.

The Athens portion of the program (September, November to end of semester) will use the  facilities of College Year in Athens 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 a seaside hotel 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 a short excursions to the Peloponnese, Crete and Delphi.

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. 


Requirements Fulfilled: IS 259, CLAS 251, CLAS 252, 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)


IS 259: Contemporary Greek Culture (4 credits)

Offered over the course of the semester in Athens and on Lesvos, this course provides insight into important contemporary social, cultural, political, economic, and demographic issues in Greece.

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.

Depending upon year, either CLAS 314 or CLAS 252 (but not both) will be offered:

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.  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.

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

Survey of the art and archaeology of the ancient civilizations of the Aegean and Greece: Minoan, Mycenaean, and Classical Greek. Introduction to primary sources. Visits to sites, monuments, and museums are complemented by classroom lectures and readings that provide historical context. Taught on the Greece overseas program.

Students will choose one from the following two courses:

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.


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

Readings in the religious and secular literature of the Hellenistic and classical periods. May be used to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Prerequisite: Greek 102.


Fee Breakdown:

Total Fee (includes Tuition & Program Fee): $32,334

Tuition: $25,287

Program Fee: $7,047*

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

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: $1,275.50*

*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 Berlin 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. 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.


Blog Feed: Greece


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