Area: 131,940 km ²
Climate: temperate; mild and wet winters, hot and dry summers
Population: 10,737,428 (est. July 2009)
Languages: Greek (99%), other 1% (includes English and French)
Government Type: Parliamentary republicNational Holiday: March 25 GDP: $343.6 billion (est. 2008)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $ 32,000 (est. 2008)
Information for Foreign Students in Greece
Obtaining a Visa
For nationals of EU countries (Schengen Agreement), it is not necessary to apply for a visa but an ID card is required. For nationals not living in an EU country, it is not necessary to obtain a visa.
For an accommodation in Athens, you can find a furnished studio for 350 euros (half price without furniture). Plan to pay the security deposit in cash (an average of 700 euros). The university offers an accommodation (a hotel room to share with other student). Greece has only 10 youth hostels affiliated at the International Organization of Youth Hostels, of which five are in Athens and one in Corfu. There are some youth hostels which are not members of the International Organization, but which are grouped in the National Federation of Greek Youth Hostels (www.athens-yhostel.com).
Cost of Living
A provisional budget would be about 600-700 euro per month, including accommodation. The university offers breakfasts, noon and evening meals at the university restaurant. Officially, the cost of living in Greece has reached 90% of the EU average. A host family accommodation is still relatively cheap. For food, retail prices vary widely, and popular restaurants are still very affordable. Public transportation is becoming increasingly expensive. Athens is a more expensive city compared to the rest of the country.
For citizens living outside the euro area, commissions on traveler's checks are very variable. In general, throughout Greece, banks are generally open from 8 am to 1.30 pm or 2 pm (with the exception of the National Bank of Greece in Athens on place Syndagma, which is open all day long). They are closed on weekends and holidays. For students from outside the euro area, you should avoid changing money in Tourist Offices as they take a very high commission.
All telephone booths operate with phone cards which can be purchased at OTE offices, at post offices and in newspaper kiosks. It is possible to make a call from any newspaper kiosks, as well as in numerous shops which have telephone meters (tilefono me metritis). Regarding mobile phones, the network is very good. The emergency number is 112. For access to the Internet, there are cybercafes everywhere in cities. In Athens, you will have to pays 2 to 4 euros for an hour of connection.
The public health system in Greece could be of better quality; it is advised that should the need arise, you should see a doctor in Athens. Outside the cities, there are health centers in townships (Kendro Hyghias) which are small clinics. For a temporary stay in Greece, be sure to obtain the European Health Insurance Card (www.ameli.fr). You should call your Social Security center which will send it to you within 15 days. This card works within all the member countries of the European Union. The most useful phone numbers are: SOS doctors 1016; hospital care doctors 1434; emergency 166.
With your passo student card, you will get substantial discounts for buses, subways, trains and boats. The price of a student monthly pass for public transportation in Athens costs 19 euros. From the airport to Athens, take the bus E95 which will take you to the center of Athens to Syndagma (3 euros). The entire rail network amounts to less than 2 500 km. North and north-eastern Greece areas are the best served. Tickets are not expensive but trains are slow, uncomfortable and often crowded. For schedules and fares, please visit: www.ose.gr. The bus is the means of transportation the least used by the Greeks. KTEL bus companies cover the whole territory. The rates are not very high; you will have to pay an average of 7.50 euros for 100 km.