by Symela Touchtidou, @stouchtidou
Amidst pandemic crisis, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) made the decisive step to a new era.
It was the first university in Greece to launch a 4-year undergraduate program especially for foreign students, the BA Program in the Archaeology, History, and Literature of Ancient Greece. All its modules are taught in English.
In September 2020 it welcomed 28 students from 10 countries around the world.
They would have been more, but due to the Covid-related restrictions some students were unable to obtain a student visa on time and, in other cases, they could not even travel to Greece.
“We tried to shift to online courses until circumstances allowed students to travel to Greece but some of the students withdrew their candidacy,” explains professor Athanasios Dimopoulos, Rector of NKUA.
Living the studies
NKUA chose Archaeology and History for its first English-taught undergraduate program, as it is set in a very privileged position in the specific field.
“We are in the unique position to combine these courses with educational visits to archaeological sites in Greece, also offering students the opportunity to study ancient Greek culture while experiencing first-hand some of Greece’s most important archaeological museums and sites,” Dimopoulos says.
“The University of Athens has earned significant distinctions in the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) rankings: in the narrow subject field of Classical and Ancient History it is ranked among the top 51–70 Universities worldwide, while in the field of Archaeology, the NKUA is within the best 150.
Its curriculum, combined with educational visits to archaeological sites and other sites of cultural interest, enables students to delve into the story of the survival of Greek literature and culture, focusing on its interaction with Roman literature and culture, among others, which facilitated the dissemination of the Greek culture in the European West.
Students obtain a degree with direct benefits in the labor market and unlock diverse career paths by gaining a versatile assortment of skills, including creativity, critical thinking, research, problem-solving, and communication.
Foreign students, upon graduation, will also have acquired sufficient Greek language competence, as they will be studying Modern Greek at the Modern Greek Language Teaching Center.”
Medicine will follow
Archeology and History sound like obvious choices when studying in Greece, but could other faculties become equally attractive?
The Rector of NKUA is clear:
“Among the main objectives of the NKUA, as reflected by its ten-year strategic planning, is the active engagement of all academic community members in strategies of internationalization and extroversion in order to achieve a competitive advantage in both national and international markets.
Especially for a research Institution, like the University of Athens, internationalization is reflected in dealing with the impacts of interlinked ‘global challenges’, like, for example, infectious diseases, climate change, food security, shortage of energy.
A main objective, however, is to keep merging our 184 years of tradition with innovation, while developing more foreign-language undergraduate and postgraduate programs that combine theoretical understanding and technical proficiency.
The School of Medicine, for instance, which is ranked among the top-150 medical schools of the world, launches a new undergraduate medical degree program in English, especially for foreign students. We plan to start welcoming its first students in 2022.
The 12-semester program will take 40 students per year, and annual tuition is set at €13,000. Merit scholarships will also be offered. Foreign students will have to accumulate a total of 360 credits under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).”
The full article is part of the Cover story on the Greek Higher Education published in the September/October issue of Greek Business File, available here.