Learning Greek can help you not only communicate with locals when you visit Greece, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, but also improve your vocabulary quite a bit within the English language. Many complex English words are based on ancient and modern Greek words; understanding Greek can therefore help you improve your English immeasurably as well.
If you wish to learn Greek, you also have the option to take classes in the country itself and enjoy the vibrant culture, beautiful beaches and impressive history of Greece while you immerse yourself in the local lifestyle is a great way to advance your language learning.
Alongside learning the basics of the Greek language from local, highly trained instructors, you will fall in love the country's great food scene, incredible nightlife, natural beauty, and friendly people.
Several universities and institutions of higher education in the United States and Europe offer Greek as an option for language learning, though not all, since the language is not as commonly taught as Spanish or French. However, advanced education in Greek can also be available through online universities, so if your own institution does not offer it, check the websites of other universities that include Greek instruction, as they may offer their course and other learning materials online.
You may also have the option to study abroad in Greece for a semester or for a whole year if your university participates in an exchange program with a Greek institution. Instruction in most Greek universities takes place primarily in Greek, though there are some branches of American and UK universities in Athens that offer instruction in English for those who are at a less advanced Greek language level.
Language schools and institutes are probably a better option for students with a beginning-to-intermediate level of Greek, since they usually have a wider range of course offerings. Also, if you live in a major metropolitan area and your educational institution doesn't offer Greek as an option, you are almost certain to find a local language school close to you that does. Shop around to see which institution suits you best, as you can find schools with a variety of class sizes, frequency and intensity, as well as prices; this way, you are sure to find one that fits your schedule, goals, and budget.
Alternatively, you can go overseas and spend some time in Greece and enroll in a local language school there; this way, not only will you get formal instruction in the language, but you will also be able to immerse yourself in the local culture and befriend locals, therefore vastly improving your conversational skills.
If the classroom environment doesn't really work for you, you might want to consider taking one-on-one classes with a personal tutor where you can get more personalized attention and work on your problem areas. Taking private language classes helps some students advance faster, since the tutor can give them undivided attention and work with the particular learning style that is most effective for them. Private tutors will usually be more expensive than language school classes, but it's possible to find tutors that charge as little as $15 per hour.
If you have trouble finding a tutor in your area, you can always use a resource likeItalki, which has online tutors you can schedule lessons with at your convenience.
Many universities can help accommodate students in designated student housing nearby. Though most UK and US universities offer on-site housing, on-site dorms tend to be rare in Greek universities, as most students either rent nearby apartments or commute from home, so don't expect universities to offer dormitory accommodation as a given. Also, always check local rentals or other housing choices to make sure you are getting a fair price.
Some language schools may be able to help you find housing, but if you're not enrolling in a university, you should plan to find your own housing.
If you are studying in Greece in the summer months, many hotels and hostels are open to offering accommodation at a reduced price in exchange for some help with menial tasks such as cleaning, gardening, and customer service, so be sure to inquire, especially in lower-budget hotels and hostels you find near you.
Depending on your nationality and how long you plan to stay, you may need a visa before going to Greece, if this is where you choose to learn Greek. Citizens from many countries are allowed to stay in Greece for up to 90 days on a tourist visa -- if you aren't from one of those countries, or plan to stay longer than 90 days, you'll need to apply for a student or other type of visa before you go.
Citizens from EU countries and the US do not require a visa to visit Greece for 90 days or less. For more information, look at your government's travel information for Greece, or get in touch with your local consulate.
Greeks tend to be open, social, and extroverted for the most part, so making friends shouldn't be a problem if you are studying in the country. There are not a lot of strict cultural rules to follow; just know that in general, Greeks tend to be more laid back than some other cultures, including the UK and the US, which sometimes lead to general lateness in business and social appointments.
Most Greeks, especially those of the younger generation in Athens and in tourist destinations, tend to speak a fair amount of English, so even if you are studying in Greece and are a complete beginner, you will likely still be able to communicate and find friends easily. Also, there are many expats in Greece and many Greeks who have studied or worked abroad in English-speaking countries for a while; they tend to congregate in Athenian neighborhoods like Glyfada and Kifisia.
If you are studying Greek in Greece, know that the cost of living in Greece is generally quite affordable compared to most Western European countries, however, accommodation and dining in Athens can be more expensive in high-tourist areas than in the rest of the city, so pick your neighborhood carefully. Also, accommodation may be more expensive to obtain during the summer months, in which places to stay in the city are more in-demand from foreigners.
The price of accommodation in big cities can vary considerably depending on which area of the city you choose to live in; however, you can get a good 1-bedroom accommodation in central Athens or Thessaloniki for between €200-€500 ($250-$600).
Though you may expect to find cheaper accommodation on the small towns of the islands, accommodation on some islands, especially the tourist hotspots of Mykonos, Santorini, Zakynthos and most other top destinations in the summer, can be much more expensive than on the mainland. Apartments in these destinations tend to be much more in demand than the average city apartment in Greece.
The cost of classes varies based on the length of instruction, but you can expect to pay between €550-€1,000 ($700-$1,200).