Abbey Road Programs
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Greece Study Abroad Western Civilization

Academic Journey to Ancient Greece and Rome, Renaissance Florence and the French Enlightenment

Our pioneer study abroad summer program on Western Civilization is designed for adventurous high school students who are eager to learn first-hand the origins and evolution of Western thought, culture and art. This intensive cultural immersion program follows the path of Western Civilization from the Ancient Greeks to the Ancient Romans, continuing to the Middle Ages, Renaissance and, finally, to the Enlightenment. The pre-college program will take you to Athens, Rome, Florence and Paris, for the trip of a lifetime!

Historical sites become our classroom as we discuss Plato and Socrates at the Acropolis and walk in the footsteps of King Louis XIV at Versailles. You will also have time to explore the cities, visit cultural sites, spend time with your new friends and participate in sports and recreational activities.

Abbey Road is committed to its students’ safety and closely monitors conditions in local communities that could affect the quality of our summer programs. For a special message on Abbey Road's approach to student safety abroad from Managing Director and Founder, Dr. Arthur Kian, click here

A Special Message from Abbey Road Managing Director and Founder, Dr. Arthur Kian

As a CSIET accredited organization dedicated to quality summer study abroad programs, Abbey Road conducts an annual review of its policies on safety and supervision. Hundreds of anonymous post-program parent, student and summer staff evaluations are carefully reviewed to determine ways in which programming and safety procedures can be improved. This meticulous approach to programming and an unyielding commitment to excellence above all else, is what gives Abbey Road’s summer study abroad programs their unparalleled record of safety and client satisfaction.

An important factor in maintaining student safety during our summer programs abroad is our rigorous approach to addressing potential threats to program security. Over the past several summers, Abbey Road Program Directors have received supplemental training in areas addressing everything from Swine Flu and contaminated produce to adapting program itineraries in the case of social unrest and strike due to economic instability.

This later area of concern has been at the forefront of many discussions over the past year, and we have been asked several times if we will continue to visit such cities as Athens, Greece given the recent media coverage. It is important to communicate to all summer participants that Abbey Road is carefully monitoring the situation in Athens and we are in close contact with the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Athens and local staff members who reside in Greece. At present, we do not think that there are reasons to interrupt our program preparations for the upcoming summer. However, we have created contingency plans and made the necessary arrangements, should it become necessary, to make changes in program itineraries and avoid those areas that may be of concern.

In my 20 plus years directing student travel programs and during my PhD research in International Security at Stanford, I have gained valuable insight into the sensationalized media coverage of international events in foreign countries. Such reports should be considered with healthy skepticism and it is Abbey Road’s position that multiple sources must be considered when making decisions on altering programs based on events in local communities. For this reason, Abbey Road staff traveled to Athens in June of 2011 to ascertain firsthand the conditions throughout the city prior to student arrivals. We observed a starkly different environment than had been portrayed in the media. This confirmed prior reports given by local staff that Athens continues to be a safe and rewarding environment for student travelers. This sentiment was reinforced when staff members returned to Athens in October of 2011 as part of continued efforts by Abbey Road to address potential parent concerns.

Abbey Road treats all potential safety concerns with the utmost attention so that our families can continue to rely on us for enriching summer experiences. Student safety is our absolute priority, and we take it very seriously. We welcome your detailed questions about our approach to student safety and supervision. Please call us directly at 1-888-462-2239.

Arthur Kian, PhD
Managing Director
Abbey Road Programs


Athens (Week 1) Our journey begins in ancient Greece as students read important works by influential Greek thinkers, explore key monuments and discuss Athenian society and its greatest philosophers, artists and political leaders: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pericles and Alexander the Great of Macedonia. The group will also take advantage of the city’s thriving contemporary culture, comparing traditional Greek fare with Greek fusion during group dinners, shopping for hand-made sandals in the open-air markets and interacting with locals in the historic neighborhood of Plaka. Finally, a relaxing day trip to the private beach resort of Glyfada is an excellent end this first week of travel!

Rome (Week 2) The group will then visit the 2,000 year-old town of Pompeii. A true snapshot of Roman society, preserved at the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius, it provides a perfect introduction to the Roman era. We then continue to the Eternal City, with excursions to the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican and other unforgettable sites. From Augustus to Constantine, you will study and see their legacies first-hand throughout the city of Rome.

Florence (Week 3) The home of the Italian Renaissance, magnificent Florence welcomes our students for the third part of the program. Excursions to the Uffizi, Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David) and others will allow students to see some of the greatest masterpieces of Renaissance art, laying a foundation to discuss the political and cultural life of Florentine society, from Donatello to the ruling Medici family.

Paris (Week 4) The final part of the program brings our students to Paris! The group will explore the era of absolute monarchy and the French revolution, with a focus on the French Enlightenment, while visiting Versailles, the Bastilles and other landmarks. During afternoons and evenings, the group slows its pace as they stroll through the city’s many historical neighborhoods, immersing themselves in the famous café culture and enjoying picnics on the Seine. Enthusiasts of art history will enjoy visits to the Louvre, Museé d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and Eiffel Tower.


All students are enrolled in the History of Western Civilization course
History of Western Civilization
This course gives an introduction to the history of Western Civilization and the evolution of Western thought, culture and art. The cities are our classroom, and each lesson takes place on location. You will discuss Athenian daily life in the Agora, walk in Da Vinci’s footsteps in Piazza della Signoria and review Louis the XIV’s idea of Absolutism in the Palace of Versailles. The final exam is unlike any other you will ever take! Arguably the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre is the ultimate setting for testing your comprehensive understanding of Western Civilization.

*This is an experiential academic program that requires a high level of motivation on the part of the students. At the same time, given the breadth of the topics, the program does not set unrealistic goals or require an excessive amount of homework. Rather, it seeks to help the students grasp fundamental ideas and inspire them to explore these subjects in their elective courses and future studies.


While in Athens, Rome, and Paris, the group will live in centrally located 3-star hotels and will enjoy meals at local restaurants. During your week in Florence, you will enjoy a relaxing break from hotel living, while staying in a modern apartment residence! Each apartment includes a loft, living room, kitchen and bathroom and access to the residence’s breathtaking private terrace. You will live as true Italians during this unforgettable week, shopping at local markets and learning to prepare traditional Florentine meals.


Your day starts with an excursion to a historical site or museum, where history comes to life as you experience first-hand the subject of the day’s lecture and reading! In the afternoons and evenings, students will participate in fun activities and will have time to explore the contemporary sides of these four cities.

Sample Daily Schedule
9:00-9:30 Morning Group Meeting
9:30-12:30 Local Site-visit and Experiential Learning
12:30-3:30 Orientation on Current Neighborhood, Lunch and Exploration
3:30-4:30 Group Meets: Prep for Afternoon Activity Options
4:30-6:30 Afternoon Cultural Activities
6:30-7:30 Return to Hotel, Down-Time
7:30-9:00 Dinner: Restaurant, Stipend, Group Picnic On-site or Culinary Workshop*
9:00-11:30 Evening Activities and Free Time
11:30-12:00 Group Returns to Hotel/Residence, Face-to-Face Nightly Check-in
*Culinary Workshops and family-style dinners are enjoyed during our week in Florence while the group stays in modern apartment lofts each with its own fully equipped kitchen!


Day trips to Delphi and/or Nafplion, Glyfada, Pompeii, Siena and Versailles will complement the academic program.


Click here to view this program's dates and fees.

Western Civilization Greece Study Abroad
Greece Study Abroad Western Civilization
Greece Study Abroad Western Civilization Greece Study Abroad Western Civilization Western Civilization Study Abroad
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