For the student seeking a unique study abroad site in Greece, Thessaloniki is ideal! Thessaloniki is the ‘road less taken’, a culturally intact city, small, diverse, youthful, at the crossroads of east and west and the gateway to Southeastern Europe.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece; a true crossroads between East and West, and a gateway to Southeastern Europe. Founded in 315 B.C., historic Thessaloniki is now a modern seaport city of over one million inhabitants renowned for its wide avenues, quaint squares, tree-lined streets, neoclassical buildings, Byzantine monuments, historical museums, modern theaters, ancient ruins and warm hospitality. Discover tasteful restaurants, hip cafes, bustling clubs, and elegant shops.

From the beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters of the Chalkidiki peninsula, to the snow covered ski resorts and challenging mountain treks, it’s all within a short drive away. Thessaloniki is ideally located to offer the best of both worlds.

Most importantly, Thessaloniki is a lively university town with well over 100,000 university students. More than 1 out of every 10 residents is a student. With a large student population, this vibrant city invites and welcomes young people from all over the world.



Languages Spoken:

Greek languages

Education System

OVERVIEW 

In inspiration, mission, governance, and programs, ACT resembles the traditional New England colleges upon which it has been modeled. ACT is one of the few institutions outside the United States with full, free-standing U.S. accreditation by NEASC and EU validation of its undergraduate programs. Students choose from a wide range of courses in English from the Divisions of Business, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Technology & Science.

STUDYING AT THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF THESSALONIKI

Courses 

Classes will likely be smaller in size and may be lecture or lab based (especially for science disciplines).  Attendance and class participation are important components of the grading system. An interactive approach to academics allows students to engage with the course content in unique ways such as field work, workshops, conferences, site visits, internships and practicums. An average class consists of less than 20 students. This means that coursework can be tailored to class needs and each student’s contribution is acknowledged, particularly in discussion settings, with plenty of opportunities for personalized attention. 

Registration 

ACT will reach out to students several months before the start of the semester to confirm the final courses from their course request list that are available during their mobility period. Students should respond to this message within one week, so that ACT can register you for the courses while they are available. 

Course Load 

Fall or Spring I: 12 credits 

Spring I & II: 18 credits

Summer: 6 credits  

Full Year (Fall + Spring I): 24 credits

Exams & Grading 

All credits and grades are issued in U.S. credit equivalencies. Courses are normally one semester in length and assign credit depending on the material and course hours. Grades may be based on a variety of factors including attendance and participation, homework assignments, exams or papers. Some classes may consist only of a midterm and final exam. 

Transcripts 

Transcripts are available as soon as they are processed internally and will be sent to ISEP to forward to your home institution. Transcripts will be held if there are any outstanding financial obligations on the student account. 

Visa and Residency

ALL students studying in Greece for more than 90 days (with the exception of European Union and European Economic Community passport-holders) MUST obtain a student visa prior to arriving in Greece from the local Greek Consulate, and you may need to apply for a Residence Permit after arriving in Greece.

Students studying in Greece for less than 90 days do NOT require a visa. 

OBTAINING A VISA

THE PROCESS CAN BE LENGTHY SO START AS SOON AS YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR ACCEPTANCE LETTER FROM ACT! 

Call your local Greek Consulate to confirm the application steps (fee, payment method, documents required, appointment time).

NOTE: It is reccomended that students call as opposed to email, as email is not always a reliable way to communicate.

ISEP and ACT recommend you make a copy of all the documents needed in case you are asked to present them again in the future.

OBTAINING A RESIDENCE PERMIT

In order to stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days, regardless of the expiration date on your visa, you may need to apply for a Residence Permit once you are in Greece. Natalia Alexiou (nalexiou@act.edu), the ACT Student Services Coordinator, will provide more information during Orientation and will assist you in applying for your residence permit. Students will recieve information about the residence permit and become familiar with the step-by-step application process.  The Student Services Office provides assistance to make obtaining a RP as simple and stress-free as possible. In any case, very few students will need to complete the Residency Permit process.  However, it is your responsibility to communicate ahead of time with ACT staff and if necessary travel to Greece with all appropriate paperwork, personally taking the necessary steps to obtain the residence permit as described in this section.

At the time of entry into the Schengen, a stamp must be placed in your passport showing the date and place of entry. If the first port of entry is another Schengen country, even if you are only transiting that country, the entry stamp should be placed in the passport upon entry into that country. Persons who lack port of entry stamps may be fined upon departure from Greece. In addition, we recommend that all travelers hold on to their ticket receipts and/or boarding passes until they leave Greece.

The residence permit is valid for one year. Holders of a Greek residence permit are entitled to travel all over the European Union without a visa.

Checklist of documents you will need for your residence permit:

NOTE: The documents marked with an asterisk (*) must be obtained in your home country.

Current passport with VISA*

Photocopy of your entire passport (even blank pages)

4 passport-size (4x6 cm) photos on photographic paper

CD/DVD/Flashdrive with the photograph in JPEG2000 format

Proof of finances. You will need to open a bank account at a Greek bank and deposit €400. You will then receive a certificate from the bank indicating that your account maintains a balance of €400

Proof of your Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number*. You will need this to open a bank account. The information will only be used at the bank and will remain strictly confidential, just like any other document submitted to the bank. A document from your home country’s authorities stating your number will be sufficient. If you don’t have a Tax Identification Number or Social Security Number, you will need a document stating that you don’t have such a number. The document will have to be in English but does not need to be notarized (i.e. a photocopy is sufficient).

Proof of permanent address*. You will need any official document stating your name and permanent address. The document will have to be in English but does not need to be notarized.

Proof of address in Greece. If you are staying in ACT housing, we will issue a letter confirming your address.

Proof of your place of birth (city or state)*, if not stated in your passport. You will need an official document from your home country’s authorities stating your name and permanent address. The document must be in English (originally or a translation of the original). In case of a translation, it does not need to be certified.

Proof of medical insurance. You need an original, official letter of insurance coverage (on insurance company letterhead) valid for one year from a Greek insurance provider. The Student Services Office can assist you in locating an insurance provider that offers the minimum coverage policy required for residence permit purposes, at a cost of approximately €120.

Official letter of acceptance in Greek from ACT (This will provided to you by ACT).

Residence permit fee payment receipts (e-paravolo) for €150 and €16. Be prepared to spend this amount for your application process.

Residence Permit Cost:

Residence permit processing fees are €286. You do not have to carry cash, but you must plan on having these funds available in order to complete your residence permit application. Please note that these fees are not included in other ACT fees and cover the following:

€166 for the residence permit

€120 for insurance policy by a Greek provider

You must also be prepared to deposit €400 to your Greek bank account and maintain that amount until you apply for the permit.

A NOTE REGARDING THE SCHENGEN AREA

Greece is a member of the Schengen area. Students should review the important regulations that dictate travel and visas within the Schengen area.

Current Schengen signature countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. 

Note that Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom are NOT part of the Schengen zone.

Culture

Greece's location between Europe and Asia means its history has been shaped by millennia of civilizations, from the Ancient Greeks to the Roman and Byzantine empires to Alexander the Great. Greece is very proud of its history, with many museums and archeological sites to visit that preserve Greece’s past. Greece’s position in the Eastern European time zone puts it two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.  

In Greece, the dinner table is an important site of socializing with family and friends, and meals are often eaten in a leisurely fashion lasting many hours. Meals in Greece are often served family style, with all those at the table sharing dishes. The Greeks have a strong tradition of meeting for coffee at a kafenion, the traditional Greek cafeteria, to drink coffee while chatting and playing games.  

Of Greece’s 10.7 million residents, 98 percent practice the Greek Orthodox religion, and many of their holidays and traditions are centered around the faith. If you visit a church, do not take flash photos and be aware you may be asked to cover your shoulders and knees.  

Daily Life

Greece's location between Europe and Asia means its history has been shaped by millennia of civilizations, from the Ancient Greeks to the Roman and Byzantine empires to Alexander the Great. Greece is very proud of its history, with many museums and archeological sites to visit that preserve Greece’s past. Greece’s position in the Eastern European time zone puts it two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.  

In Greece, the dinner table is an important site of socializing with family and friends, and meals are often eaten in a leisurely fashion lasting many hours. Meals in Greece are often served family style, with all those at the table sharing dishes. The Greeks have a strong tradition of meeting for coffee at a kafenion, the traditional Greek cafeteria, to drink coffee while chatting and playing games.  

Of Greece’s 10.7 million residents, 98 percent practice the Greek Orthodox religion, and many of their holidays and traditions are centered around the faith. If you visit a church, do not take flash photos and be aware you may be asked to cover your shoulders and knees.  

Health and Safety

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference the Health and Safety section of the ISEP website for general information regarding health and safety abroad.

- Detailed information about Greece can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security, Local Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. Non-U.S nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections regarding travel to Greece. 

- Please review the CDC's Health Information for Travelers to Greece.

-If you’re planning to bring your prescription or over-the-counter medicine on your trip, you need to make sure your medicine is travel-ready. More information can be found here, and please contact your Program Manager and Host ISEP Coordinator with any additional questions. 

 

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Currency

Currency
Greece uses the euro, which has the same value in all euro-zone countries. There are seven euro notes (5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros) and eight euro coins (one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and one and two euros). It is smart to keep track of exchange rates between the euro and your home currency.

Banking

Banks are generally open Monday through Friday only, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It is not unusual for banks to be closed by strikes; so it is a good idea to transact bank business early in the week and to have an alternate plan if the bank should be closed.

Most restaurants and retail stores deal in cash. ATMs are very common throughout cities in Greece. An ATM card connected to a major network (Visa, MasterCard/Cirrus/Maestro) can be an easy way to access money deposited in your home bank account.

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