Structure of Higher Education
Greek Tertiary Education is divided into Higher University Education and Higher Technological Education:
· Higher University Education is provided by the Universities, the Polytechnic Schools, the Higher Fine Arts institute and the Hellenic Open University.
· Higher Technological Education is provided by the Higher Technological Educational Institutes - TEI. Its role is to contribute to the countrys development and to the progress of science, applied and technological research.
There is also the Higher Non-University Education, which includes various institutes that provide vocational training in the field of religion, art, tourism, the navy, the army and public order. Vocational and special education is also provided at the higher educational institutes.
Tertiary education in Greece is exclusively provided by institutions which are fully self-administrated legal entities of public law, according to article 16 of the Greek Constitution. These institutions are under the supervision of the state and are financed by it. State supervision is exercised by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
Education is provided free of charge and the educational programs are mainly offered in the Greek language. However, specialized study programs mainly at post-graduate level are offered in the English language.
The basic requirement for admission to tertiary education is possession of the Unified Lyceum leaving certificate. The number of students allocated to each University and Technological Educational Institute department complies with the principle of numerous clauses and is being laid down annually by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
Admission is based on the students performance in nationwide examinations and also is taken into account the performance during the second and third class in general and orientation lessons.
Some higher education institutes have their own selection system and participation in the general examinations is not required. A certain number of places at the Technological Educational Institutes are also reserved for Technical Vocational Educational schools graduates.
Over and above the determined number of students to be admitted to each department or faculty of University or Technological Education Institute, candidates will be admitted in case they belong to special categories (Greeks living abroad/ Children of Greek employees abroad/ Foreign nationals/ Foreign nationals holding scholarships/ Ethnic Greeks from abroad holding scholarships/ Muslims from Thrace -northern Greek province/ Pupils distinguished during the Balkan or International Olympiad of Mathematics, Information Technology, Physics or Chemistry).
The educational programs are mainly offered in the Greek language. However, specialized study programs mainly at post-graduate level are offered in the English language.
Foreign students can fall into the special categories of candidates that can be admitted to Higher Education in Greece, on condition that neither the candidates themselves nor their parents have the Greek nationality or citizenship. Those candidates submit their documents to the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs and fill in the candidates application entry form, stating the Faculties and the Departments they prefer. With regard to their registration, candidates who are admitted either into a Faculty or a Department must also hold a certificate denoting their command of the Greek language (such a certificate is issued after relevant examinations either by the University of Athens or by the University of Thessaloniki; alternatively, the candidate should hold a 3rd level or higher certificate issued by the Greek Language Centre of Thessaloniki).
Candidates who do not hold any of those language certificates, can only enroll in the next academic year of their admission to a Greek University, on condition that they will by then have obtained the prerequisite language certificate. Otherwise, they have no right to enroll. The examinations for the Greek language certificate are held twice a year: around June and September in Athens, at the Modern Greek Language Centre of the University Campus in Zografou; also, in June and October in Thessaloniki, at the Modern Greek Language Centre of the University of Thessaloniki. For candidates that hold a graduation certificate from a Greek or Cypriot Lyceum, no language certificate is required. Foreign students who come from countries which are not members of the European Union (non-EU students) pay fees so as to cover a small percentage of both their expenses of their studies and the books they are granted. Tertiary level graduates may participate in special admission exams in order to be admitted to other Tertiary Education Institutions.
It must be noted that any person may attend the courses in the tertiary education institutes as an observer, without participating in exams or getting a degree. 3. Studies, Diplomas and Degrees University Education: In Greece there are 22 Universities, including Polytechnic Schools, the School of Fine Arts and the Hellenic Open University. Greek universities are located in various towns. The internal structure, organization and operation of the Universities administrative, financial and technical services; the determination of the Departments overall teaching and research policy; planning; the procedures and requirements for hiring personnel for such positions; the allocation of funds, etc, are determined by the respective provisions and the internal regulation of each University.
The Universities consist of faculties, which in turn are subdivided into departments and individual units. University courses last four years except for certain Faculties where courses last five or six years. The academic year consists of two semesters with 13 full weeks of tuition and three weeks of examinations. The students complete their studies after four years provided they have passed the examinations both in the compulsory and optional subjects. They receive a Degree or Diploma depending on the Faculty in question. The Universities award certificates in the following fields:
· Humanities, law and social sciences including theoretical faculties such as literature, law, sociology, art schools etc,
· Science, including faculties of mathematics, physics, chemistry etc,
· Health Science, including medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutics etc,
· Technology, including architecture, polytechnic schools etc,
· Economics and Administration, including economic, financial schools etc,
Higher Technological Education: The special role of the Technological Educational Institutes - TEI is to contribute to the countrys development and to the progress of science, applied and technological research, by training executives of top-quality qualifications. Therefore, the education provided at the TEI is chiefly oriented toward the assimilation and transfer of scientific knowledge into production. Higher Technological Education also includes ASPAITE, the Higher School of Pedagogical and Technical Education.
Today there are 15 Technological Educational Institutes composed of at least two faculties; each faculty comprises two or more departments. The Technological Educational Institutes are located in various towns in Greece. Some have independent branches, i.e. separate departments, in other towns. The internal structure, organization and operation of the Technological Education Institutes administrative, financial and technical services as well as the procedures and requirements for hiring personnel for such positions are determined by the corresponding provisions and the internal regulation of each TEI.
Studies at the TEI last four years for a total of eight semesters, which include both tuition periods and a final semester devoted to preparation of the dissertation. During this final semester students may also practice their profession on a trial basis, with assessment.
On completion students are awarded a Degree. The TEIs cover a total of 95 specializations in the following fields:
· Graphic arts and artistic studies
· Administration and economics
· Health and welfare occupations
· Technological applications
· Food and nutrition technology
· Agronomy technology
· Music technology.
Distance Learning in Higher Education
In Greece distance learning is provided only in tertiary education by the Hellenic Open University which was established in 1998 and is located in Patra. It provides an opportunity for open and distance learning to a wide spectrum of interested parties and age groups, on the assumption that education is a lifelong entitlement.
The Hellenic Open University provides distance education in both undergraduate and postgraduate levels via the development and utilization of appropriate learning material and methods of teaching. Promoting scientific research as well as developing technology and methodology in distance learning fall within the scope of Hellenic Open University objectives. The various curricula are formed by combining modules developed by the faculties of the Hellenic Open University. These curricula correspond to various certificates (in undergraduate or postgraduate level), Bachelor or Masters degrees. The students should pay fees for the cost of their studies. However, for a considerable number of students there are scholarships, which discharge them from the above-mentioned fees. The Hellenic Open University awards a degree equivalent to that of all other state universities in Greece.
In order to be admitted to the Hellenic Open University, holders of an upper secondary school leaving certificate or an equivalent certificate from secondary education either in the country or abroad submit an application of participation in their favored programs and are selected without exams, by a public electronic lottery. Priority is given to candidates being at least 23 years old.
Also in Greece is being planned the operation of the International University of Greece (DIPAE) in Thessaloniki, which will constitute an independent and fully self-governed higher-education institute bearing the name International Hellenic University. DIPAE will be a legal entity of public law supervised by the State. Its mission will be to provide higher education to foreigners interested in studying in Greece. In order to attain its mission, it will organize and carry out study programs at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level, by using distance teaching and distance learning.
Guidance, Finance, Grants
Educational/ Vocational Guidance: Higher Education institutes provide information services and assist their students in issues related to their studies and employment.
Career Services Offices for Universities and Technological Educational Institutes provide vocational guidance services, career counselling and information about postgraduate studies, training courses, scholarships and knowledge about employee/ professional rights. In addition, the Career Services Offices mediate the students placement (practical training) where warranted and organise Career Day events.
Tuition: According to the Constitution of Greece, higher education is public, is provided solely by the state and is provided free of charge at all levels. Tuition fees must be paid for study at the Hellenic Open University and also for certain post-graduate programs.
Financial Support: Many students, depending on their family and personal income, may have their living and accommodation expenses covered while undergraduate students making their studies in a city other than that where they live permanently may be granted an accommodation allowance.
All students, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, are also entitled to free health care until the end of their studies.
In addition, all undergraduate and postgraduate students are granted special student cards so as to get reduced prices in all public transportation means and in museums, theatres, art galleries and special artistic events. Further, student loans may be also granted, pursuant to the applicable provisions at the time, as the case may be.
The aforementioned benefits except for student loans, do not apply to doctoral candidates.
The State Scholarships Foundation - IKY and other public and private bodies provide scholarships both to Greek, EU and third-country students who wish to study at tertiary education institutions. Besides, scholarships are granted to graduates of universities and technical education institutions for post-graduate or post-doctoral studies in Greece and abroad. In addition, IKY grants selectively scholarships for Postgraduate research in Greece. Concurrently, a certain number of scholarships, allowances and financial aids are offered to students and institutes of all education levels through various legacies and donations from individuals and legal entities of private law.
Students from EU countries who want to study in another member country basically are entitled to the same grants to secure their livelihood as the native students of the host country. This has been decided by the European Court on the 20.09.2001.
The Greek Government through the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs grants Scholarships to foreign citizens, who wish to attend undergraduate or postgraduate studies at Universities of Greece or a research project at Universities or Research Centres of the country, as well as the summer seminars in Greek Language and Civilization.
European Dimension, Co-operation Programs
Greece supports and takes initiatives, actions and national measures regarding the European and international dimension of education. In this context, the European dimension is promoted in the Higher Education curricula through the participation of the education institutes in European educational co-operation programs (SOCRATES, LEONARDO DA VINCI, etc.). The ERASMUS action of the Socrates program aims at improving quality and reinforcing the European dimension of higher education, by encouraging the transnational cooperation of universities, increasing European mobility, as well as enhancing transparency and promoting full academic recognition of studies and academic titles all over the European Union.
Some tertiary education institutions foster collaboration with universities from other countries and offer postgraduate courses that lead to the acquisition of a joint degree.
Specific information is available from the universities.
Post-graduate courses and Doctoral studies
Post-graduate studies: In Greece post-graduate studies lead to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma of Specialisation (Masters degree). The general goal of post-graduate studies is to allow students to specialise in certain fields. The post-graduate courses are open to Greek or foreign graduates of Greek university and TEI or accredited equivalent institutes from abroad. The admission requirements, the criteria of selection taken into account and the procedure of admission are determined by the internal regulation of the postgraduate program in question. Usually, the candidates are chosen on the basis of a selection process or their (oral and/or written) examination results.
Though, the educational programs are mainly offered in the Greek language, some specialized study programs at post-graduate level are offered in the English language.
In parallel, knowledge of one or more foreign languages is an essential prerequisite for participation in the post-graduate programs. Courses last at least one calendar year.
Doctoral studies: Doctoral studies lead to the award of a Doctorate (PhD). The general goal of doctoral studies is high-level specialization in strategic areas of knowledge and the promotion of fundamental research in various scientific fields with a view to strengthening the countrys scientific base. In the case of Universities that offer postgraduate courses it is essential to have a Post-graduate Diploma in order to obtain a Doctorate. Permission to prepare a doctoral dissertation at Universities which do not offer regular post-graduate courses is granted to applicants who meet certain prerequisites. The Departments themselves lay down the admission requirements.
Law 2083/1992 determinates the admission requirements to a program leading to the acquisition of a doctoral degree whenever exists an organized or a non-organized postgraduate course.
Recognition of Qualifications
In Greece the competent agency for the recognition of Foreign Academic Titles is DOATAP, the Hellenic National Academic Recognition and Information Center.
DOATAP is the Hellenic NARIC centre. The NARIC Network (National Academic Recognition Information Centres) is an initiative of the European Commission, which was created in 1984. The network aims at improving academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study in the Member States of the EU, the EEA countries and the associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Cyprus. The network is part of the Communitys Program SOCRATES/ERASMUS, which stimulates the mobility of students and staff between higher education institutions in these countries.
Greece is about to implement the Europass Diploma Supplement. The Diploma Supplement is a document attached to a higher education degree or diploma aiming at improving international transparency and at facilitating the academic and professional recognition of qualifications. It helps to ensure that higher education qualifications are more easily understood, especially outside the country where they were awarded. The Diploma Supplement is produced by national institutions according to a model that has been developed jointly by European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES. In Greece the National Europass Centre is the Organisation for Vocational Education and Training.
Responsible for the regulated professions in Greece is the Council of Recognition of Professional Equivalence of Higher Educational Diplomas.
The climate of Greece is Mediterranean with summers that are usually hot and dry, and the winters that can be quiet cold and wet. The upper part of Greece can be very cold during the winter and snow is not uncommon. However, for the south of Greece and the islands, the winters will be milder. During the winter much of Greece may have snow, and much snowfall can be expected in the higher mountains of Greece.
Summers in Greece are usually very hot, and in July and August temperatures usually reach 30 to 35°C, but sometimes even 40°C and more. It is recommended in these temperatures to stay out of the sun from 11.00 to 14.00 when the sun it at its strongest. There is a strong northern wind called the "Meltemi" which usually sweeps through the east coast of Greece during July and August, and this offers a welcome relief to the heat.
However, these winds can at times be very strong. This can lead to the schedules of the ferryboats to the islands being severely disrupted.
Lightweight cottons and linens during summer months; warmer medium-weights and rainwear during the winter.
From hearty stews, to warming soups and simple side dishes, traditional Greek food combines the freshest of ingredients from land and sea to create a highly appetizing and healthy cuisine.
Wheat has been cultivated in Greece for thousands of years and it's a part of Greek cuisine. It's used to make a variety of breads including pita bread and crusty whole grain peasant bread. Bulgur, which is made from cracked whole wheat, is eaten as an accompaniment to hearty stews or added to soups and salads.
Another important grain food in the Greek diet is rice, which is used in pilafs and bakes, served with stews or wrapped in grape leaves to make dolmades.
Olives and Olive oil
Like wheat, olives have been cultivated in Greece since ancient times. The golden green oil extracted from the first cold pressing of olives is called extra virgin olive oil, and it is used in some form in most traditional Greek dishes. Crusty bread dipped in a little extra virgin olive oil is also a popular accompaniment to food.
As well as being used for their richly flavored oil, olives are also eaten whole. The most frequently eaten type is the plump kalamata olive which is added to stews and salads or eaten as part of a meze (appetizer) dish.
Fish, shellfish and poultry
Greece is almost surrounded by sea, so it's no surprise that fish and shellfish are eaten regularly.
The most popular types of fish and shellfish include tuna, mullet, bass, halibut, swordfish, anchovies, sardines, shrimp (prawns), octopus, squid and mussels. This fish and seafood is enjoyed in many ways: grilled and seasoned with garlic and lemon juice, baked with yogurt and herbs; cooked in rich tomato sauce, added to soups; or served cold as a side dish.
Chicken is also eaten regularly, as are game birds such as quail and Guinea foul.
Meat and dairy
Meat doesn't play a prominent role in traditional Greek cuisine. It's usually reserved for festivals and special occasions or used in small amounts as a flavor enhancer. When meat is eaten it's most often sheep or goat, but these animals aren't just used for their meat. Sheep and goats also provide a valuable source of nourishmentmilk. As milk spoils easily in the warm Mediterranean climate, it is traditionally turned into cheese (such as feta) or yogurt to help preserve it.
Vegetables, fruits, herbs and seasonings
The warm climate of Greece makes it ideal for growing vegetables and fruits, and these are eaten in abundant amounts. A myriad of colorful and flavorful vegetables form a fundamental part of Greek cuisine. These include tomatoes, garlic, onions, spinach, artichokes, fennel, lettuce, cabbage, horta (wild greens), zucchini, eggplant and peppers.
Fruits are eaten either fresh, or preserved by drying. Popular varieties include apricots, grapes, dates, cherries, apples, pears, plums and figs.
A variety of herbs and seasonings are used to flavor food including flat-leaf parsley, dill, oregano, cilantro, mint, ground pepper, sea salt and cinnamon. Lemon juice and lemon rind are also used to season food and in dressings.
Legumes and nuts
Legumes such as chickpeas, lima beans, split peas and lentils are widely used in traditional Greek cooking. They are eaten either whole in stews, bakes, pilafs, soups and salads, or pureed and used as a dip or spread such as hummus.
Desserts and beverages
Fresh and dried fruit are the usual dessert. Rich desserts and pastries, often sweetened with honey, are mostly reserved for special occasions or eaten in small amounts.
Wine is consumed regularly in Greece, but mainly with food, and in moderation. Ouzo (an aniseed flavored spirit) and beer are also popular alcoholic beverages. Strong black coffee is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages.
The Greek embassies and consulates are the first point of contact to request information about working in Greece (and also about residency rights) . These offices come under control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Greek Manpower Employment Organization- an institution of the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection- is responsible for arranging work and training spaces. The network of regional administrative offices offers comprehensive and individual guidance and placement service. Financial support is also possible. The Employment Service is also linked to the European network of EURES Advisers.
A good command of the official national language Greek is essential. The most frequently spoken foreign languages are English and French.
Opportunities and language courses are offered by the Panepistimia (universities) and institutes. The body competent for supporting and promoting the Greek language both inside and outside of Greece is the Centre for the Greek Language operating as a coordinating, consultative and executive body of the state on issues of language education and policy. It places particular emphasis on issues of language support and education for Greeks returned from abroad, Greeks abroad and foreigners.
Who can work in Greece
The following requirements apply to nationals from an EU member country:
· Length of Stay up to three Months: No work permit is required for taking a job immediately after arriving in Greece. No residency permit is required. The stay in Greece must, however, be registered with the police or foreign office.
· Length of Stay longer than three Months: No work permit is required for starting a job immediately after arriving in Greece. The right to stay corresponds to the length of the contract of employment. A temporary residence permit has to be applied for.
Contacts: Renewals of temporary residence permits are done through the offices of the responsible police authorities and the relevant administrative offices of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization.
Nationals of countries which are new members of the European Union require a special work permit in the period leading to full EU membership. The Ministry of Employment and Social Protection and the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation provide information on the requirements for work permits.
Job search and guidance
Unemployment in Greece is relatively high, especially the unemployment rate among the young people. To find a work it is necessary to use all resources available (acquaintances, family, press, information centres, professional associations etc.) as well as the EURES network, and a good measure of imagination and creativity.
The Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) is the main instrument for the implementation of the Government Policy on Employment. The task of the Directorate of Employment of OAED is to provide the unemployed population with information about training and employment opportunities available in the labour market, as well as take active measures in creating new jobs. OAED pursues work placements through the accomplishment of special programs and actions by the Information Offices for the Unemployed, Information Offices for Enterprises and the Employment Promotion Centers. All community citizens have the same rights as Greek nationals. To use these services it is necessary to present your valid identification document or passport and to have an address. They will inform you, free of charge, about job offers, measures aimed at promoting employment, occupational professional training, processing of benefits and subsidies, etc.
Information about the Employment Services hosted by other organizations in Greece can be obtained by the National Center for Vocational Orientation.
European Employment Services - EURES
Facilitates access to employment offers in 17 countries and to another database with information of a general nature on the living and working conditions in these countries.
Private Employment Counsellor Offices
These offices are accountable to the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection where the private counsellors apply for the required license to establish and operate. The services provided in these offices are free of charge, since the revenues of these establishments come from the employers side. Many of these offices have an Internet presence with significant information about the labour market and employment opportunities. Visitors to the websites of these offices may submit their Resume in electronic form.
Enterprises on the Internet - Newspapers
There are numerous enterprises that have a presence on the Internet. Anyone interested for more information about companies, job announcements or career opportunities may browse the web pages of those enterprises. Newspapers represent the classical resources for information about demand and supply as regards the labour market. They publish announcements, job opportunities and requests, while some of them have an inset dedicated to the labour market and employment.
Self-employed persons can work throughout European Union - also in Greece. Their qualifications are recognised transnationally. Self-employed people do not need a permit, when they wish to undertake work in another Member State. However, an application or registration at the tax office may be a requirement for opening a business.
If you wish to establish yourself as a self-employed worker in Greece, it is recommended that you contact a Greek Consulate Office or the Chambers of Commerce and Industry if you are already in Greece. Self-employed workers must prove that they comply with the necessary requirements and that they have requested the permits or authorization required for the realisation of the activity in question. They must register with the Treasury Delegation for the payment on economic activities, and register for Social Security by registering for the relevant social security institution for self-employed people. Workers themselves must apply for registration with Social Security, by contacting the corresponding offices of Social Security Institutions.
Anyone who wishes to work in a regulated profession must apply for recognition of his/ her professional qualifications. Regulated professions are those for which particular diplomas, certificates or special qualifications are required. Since the system for training and awarding certificates varies from country to country, the European Union has introduced a system for recognition of qualifications. Related information is available at the Council of Recognition of Professional Equivalence of Higher Education Diplomas and at the Organisation for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK).
Laws and social security
Applicable labour regulations are very extensive and varied. The principle law is the Workers Statute. Collective trade union agreements also regulate working conditions in different fields.
The law requires compulsory insurance for every employee. Social protection is guaranteed by several institutions of the Greek public administration. The largest and most important insurer of employees is the Social Insurance Institute ( IKA) , which is governed by the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection.
IKA covers those in dependent employment in Greece or abroad for an employer in Greece, as well as those who offer full-time or part-time personal labour on commissioned work agreements and are not insured with any other Main Insurance agency.
IKA also covers certain groups of people who offer their labour to various employers at various times and whose insurance is realized through their Unions or Insurance Associations.
Through the right insurance scheme, an employee is entitled to an entire range of benefits from both IKA and other Organisations, such as the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED), the Workers Housing Organisation and Workers Social Benefits Organisation.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare is the responsible for health assistance and in cooperation with the other Ministries, Public Services and Organisations draw a common social policy in the health and welfare sector.
Information on the Greek Social Security system is available on the Internet: General Regime for those employed in industry and services and Special Regimes for those employed in agriculture, mining, fishing and domestic services as well as self-employed.
Living in Greece
Choosing Greece as your studies country constitutes a choice with lots of perspectives. The cities of Athens and Thessaloniki that accumulate the greatest amount of the educational institutions of the country have an intense cultural and academic profile. Athens, the countrys capital after the 2004 Olympic Games holding, has been transformed in a European mega city with the most modern infrastructure network. Greece is considered as one of the safest countries of the world. Finally, the superb climate of Greece in accordance with the numerous monuments and the travelers destinations being in only a stones throw, make Greece the ideal place to live.
Uniquely positioned between east and west, and even north and south, Greece is more famous for its tourist resorts and ancient history than as a destination for international students to study abroad. There is far more to this small country than meets the eye and the education there is starting to become noticed by students from overseas.
Some institutions do not offer any student accommodation or other residential facilities and, though National Students Hostels, which appear to be similar to Halls of Residence in other countries, do exist there is only a limited number of places available in them. Rooms and apartments can be rented at private buildings throughout Athens and Thessaloniki and the cost of renting a one-room apartment is approximately 270 per month. It is estimated by university websites that the cost of living in Athens is approximately 700 per month for all expenses.
Because of its status as a tourist destination, it's worth looking into long-term flatshare options, as this will keep you away from inflated prices in the expensive summer season. It is also possible to find a host family, which could be an amazing way to get to learn about Greek culture, family structure, history and, of course, the language.
Greece is not a huge country and, with a population of just over 10million, there is a lot of countryside. Transport is generally pretty good, particularly on the mainland, though the islands are less well equipped and geared more towards tourist travel or smaller roads for the locals.
Athens International Airport (ATH) handles most international flights to Greece and is located 25km from the city, though there is a 24-hour bus service into the centre. There are airports on some of the larger islands too as well as Thessaloniki. The national airline, Olympic Airlines, also connects Athens to all airports within Greece.
Taxis are available to/from the airports and are very reasonable, though between 1am and 6am when there is an additional charge and double fares between 2am-4am. Taxis run on a share basis, so do not be surprised if the taxi picks up other passengers for the journey!
There is a reasonable rail system on the Peloponnese Peninsula (the mainland) but no rail service on the Greek Islands. If you are travelling by train, try to book your seat a few days in advance and ask for a free seat reservation. Do not purchase your ticket on the train as you will be charged 50% extra on the price charged at stations. Travelling north, there are regular daily trains between Athens and the other major towns and cities. Students may be entitled to a 25% reduction in the price of domestic rail fares.
For driving, Greece has a good road network in general of mostly paved roads. Traffic, as with most of mainland Europe, drives on the right. Athens to Thessaloniki is 511km; to Corinth 85km; to Delphi 165km. Traffic in Athens can be described as somewhere between a nightmare and a very bad dream. Avoid it if you can.
Buses link Athens and all mainland towns. Service on the islands depends on demand, and timetables should be checked carefully. Fares are low. Buses are generally cheaper than the train and you won't normally have to book in advance unless it is high season.
EU member since 1-1-1981
Foreigners from non-EU countries (with certain exceptions) wishing to study in Greece will need to acquire a student visa (type D) from a Greek consulate. There is a possibility of obtaining a student visa free of charge on request to a Greek consulate in the students country. Besides the standard documents (passport, photographs, etc.), foreign students will be required to submit an affidavit of sponsorship, proof of funds, medical and police clearance certificates, academic transcripts, language certificates and documents from the host institution in Greece. Applicants can expect to have an interview with consular staff.
The Schengen Convention: Greece is a signatory to the Schengen Convention. If you have a visa issued by one of the Schengen countries, it is automatically valid for all other Schengen countries.
Having exported chaos, drama, tragedy and democracy before most nations were staying up late enough to want souvlaki, Greece boasts an unrivalled legacy. But don't expect a visit there to be a sober study of the ancient world - the Greek propensity for partying dates back to Dionysos.
From sometimes smoggy Athens to blindingly bright islands, ancient fragments abound - the navel of the cosmos at Delphi, fallen columns galore on the sacred island of Delos, frescoed Minoan palaces on Crete and even - as some might believe - the remnants of Atlantis at Santorini.
Official name: Hellenic Republic
Greece is located in South-eastern Europe and covers an area of 131,957 sq. km. The land boundaries are Bulgaria, Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey and its coastline covers 15,021 km.
Capital City: Athens
Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures, a limited amount of rainfall.
The population of Greece is now 10,934,080 (2001 census). Foreigners amount to 762,191 people. (2001 census) (National Statistical Service/
The official language of Greece is Greek. It is used throughout the Greek territory and its taught at all levels of education and at the minority schools as well.
The prevailing religion in Greece is the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The 98% of the Greek population is Orthodox Christians.
Administration of the Country
Greece is a Presidential Parliamentary Republic and it has a parliament with 300 members, who are elected for a four-year term by general elections. The President of the Republic, who is the Head of the State, is elected by the Greek Parliament for a four-year term
Greece in the International Community
Greece became the 10th member state of the European Economic Community (EEC) in1981. Greece is also a member of NATO, the Council of Europe, the OCSE, the OECD, and the Western European Union (WEU).
Local time: UTC+2
Internet TLD: .gr
Country code: +30