SPEA in Athens

Study in the ancient city of Athens with excursions throughout Greece

Spend three weeks in Athens studying the classical roots of democracy as well as more recent efforts to maintain democratic institutions in the face of severe economic challengesa huge influx of immigrants, the development of the European Union, and struggles by the government to provide efficient and transparent services. 

Learn more about the SPEA in Athens program

May 9 - May 30, 2017

V482 – Democratic Institutions and Ideals in Classical and Contemporary Greece (3cr.)

Program Director: Paul Helmke 

This three-credit course explores both the development of democracy in Classical Greece and the efforts of contemporary inhabitants of Greece to strengthen democratic institutions and ideals such as freedom, equality, inclusiveness, and transparency. The first part of the course focuses on Athenian democracy in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., paying particular attention to the role of citizens and citizenship. Much of the second part of the course will focus on the limitations of the state in promoting democratic institutions and ideals in contemporary Greece and on efforts by the business and nonprofit communities to strengthen democracy by circumventing an ineffective government.

In addition to taking classes on the beautiful campus of the American College of Greece, you will also have the opportunity to meet leading figures from the Greek government as well as from Greek foundations and businesses. There will be ample opportunities to explore the historic sites of Athens and the gorgeous islands off of the mainland, both independently and with your instructors.

    • Visit the Acropolis (and the new Acropolis Museum), the most important ancient site in the Western world
    • Take a trip to Delphi, the center of the ancient world
    • Visit Nafplio, the first capital of the newly independent Greece of the 1820s
    • Take numerous weekday and evening trips around Athens, visiting inspiring sites and meeting leaders of Greek society
    • Join in on weekend trips to gorgeous Greek islands

The course is limited to current and former members of the Civic Leaders Center. To participate in this course, you should have at least a 3.0 GPA or the express permission of Professor Helmke.

You will stay in attractive apartments and take classes on the campus of the American College of Greece, easily accessible via bus and metro to downtown Athens. (It is also where the members of the U.S. Olympic team stayed and practiced before the 2004 Olympics.)  All rooms come fully furnished and have modern air conditioning and Wi-Fi. Additionally, you will have access to excellent libraries, study halls, computer labs, and athletic facilities as well as to numerous local stores and cafes. 

Note: You will pay two amounts – the tuition, which is what Indiana University credits cost, and you will also pay the SPEA Abroad Program fee.

SPEA in Athens Program Fee: $2,200*

The program fee includes lodging, medical insurance, some meals, and cultural excursions.

* Program fee is subject to change due to unforeseeable circumstances

IUB Tuition – 3 credits

The tuition cost for SPEA in Athens is based on IU Bloomington tuition. The amount of tuition you pay will vary based on your student status.

Additional Costs

You will need to pay for your flight to Athens, transportation to and from the airport, food that is not included in the program and other incidentals.


All current and former Civic Leaders are eligible for the SPEA Abroad Scholarship (50% of the program fee up to a maximum of $1500) for the SPEA in Athens Program, even if you are not a SPEA student. However, you must meet the application deadlines and other eligibility criteria. See our scholarship page for details.