The teaching at the Greek educational institutions takes place mainly in Greek and there are usually only a few foreign students. However, there are certain courses and educations at university level that take place in other languages. Unemployment in the country is high and it is difficult for foreigners to get permanent jobs.
Modern Greece first gained its independence in 1829 and was until the middle of the 20th century a relatively backward agricultural country in Europe. Since the 1960s, Greece has changed into a service and industrial society. The climate, the valuable cultural history and the many islands have helped to make the tourism industry one of the most important and constantly increasing sources of income in the Greek business community.
However, the Greek economy and Greek society have been under severe pressure in recent years as Greek government debt has escalated. As a result, the Greek treasury has been close to bankruptcy. Public cuts, falling wages and very high unemployment have contributed to significant political unrest in Greece.
Vocational training in Greece
Technikes Epaggelmatikes Scholes (TES) offers 2-year vocational education – 3-year in the case of part-time or evening school. A minimum of Apolytirio Gymnasiou is required to access TES. You can specialize in a number of technical / professional areas from mechanics to office work. The focus of the education is on specialized areas and not on general teaching. After graduating, you get a Ptychio (n) diploma. You can get a job in the public or Greek sector or continue your education by taking the 2nd year of a TEL (Teknika Epaggelmatika Lykeia). Finally, when you have finished, you can apply for admission to a special school such as. the maritime school, military school or with the fire department.
Technique Epaggelmatika Lykeia (TEL). Admission to TEL requires an Apolytirio Gymnasiou diploma or a completed TES. The education lasts 3 years and at evening school up to 4 years. TEL combines general education and vocational training. After the second year, you can either finish with a Ptychio (n) Idikotitas certificate, which qualifies for employment immediately, or you can choose to complete all three years and get an Apolytirio (n). After this, you can work in the private or public sector, and you can also graduate from a technical higher institution without an exam to learn more about your area of specialization.
If you have completed Apolytirio Gymnasiou, you can access special schools that offer vocational training. Such an education can e.g. take place in agricultural schools, military schools, security schools or art schools.
You can start at a vocational school if you do not want to study further after primary school. Such vocational schools offer vocational training through apprenticeships within e.g. hairdressing, ceramics or plumbing. You must be between 16 and 19 years old when you start. It lasts 3 years and contains a combination of practical work and school periods. When you finish, you get a Ptychio (Diploma) and can continue working in the same field or change field.
If you are thinking of taking all or part of your own internship in Greece or elsewhere abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary and Secondary Education.
Higher education in Greece
In Greece, all higher education is public. Teaching is usually in Greek. However, there are certain courses and educations at university level that take place in other languages.
The Greek educational institutions generally have only a few foreign students, i.a. due to language barriers. On the other hand, there is a tradition for Greek students to go on study stays abroad.
In Greece, the academic year begins on September 1 and ends on July 1.
In Greece, all higher education institutions are public according to the Constitution. You can take a higher education at the following types of institutions:
Anotata Ekpedeftika Idrimata (AEI): University or other AEI institutions at university level. Greece has 21 universities, including technical universities, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Military Academy and the Hellenic Open University.
Technologiká Ekpaideftiká Idrímata (Technical higher education institutions – TEI): Greece has 17 technical educational institutions which offer subjects within i.a. graphic design, nutrition, technology and administration and economics. The TEI programs are vocationally oriented, and despite the fact that the programs contain theory, the teaching is more practically oriented than at the universities. TEI also includes ASPAITE, which is a pedagogical-technical education.
In addition to universities and technical educational institutions, there are also institutions in Greece that offer other forms of higher education, e.g. in tourism (the Higher Tourist Training Institutes), religion (the Higher Ecclesiastical Institutes) and drama (the Higher Institute of Dance and Dramatic Art) as well as military academies (Stratiotikés Skolés Axiomatikón).
degrees at university level There are the following four degrees at higher level:
- Pthychío or Pthyío TEI, which usually lasts 4 years (8 semesters) is the Greek bachelor’s degree. The studies within e.g. dentist, veterinarian and physician, however, last 5 and 6 years. The studies for the first degree are called Proptychiakes Spoudes.
- The bachelor’s degree in architecture and engineering studies is called Diploma.
- Díploma Metaptychiako Spoudon lasts 2 years and is the Greek master’s degree.
- Didaktor is the Greek PhD program that lasts a minimum of 3 years.
Application for higher education
Applications to universities must be sent directly to the Greek Ministry of Higher Education’s Department of Education, which allocates study places.
With a Danish upper secondary education, you can apply for admission to higher education in Greece. Most institutions also require you to pass an entrance exam.
Greek universities offer only a few subjects in English, and you as a foreigner must be able to document a good knowledge of Greek in order to be admitted to higher education. The University of Athens and the University of Thessaloniki offer special summer courses and 1-year courses in Greek.
Contact the Greek Ministry of Education (Lifelong learning and Religious Affairs) for information on application deadlines.
The Danish Institute in Athens
The Danish Institute in Athens is both a research institution and a cultural institute. The institute aims to promote research, teaching and cultural dissemination within the archeology, history, language, literature, visual arts, architecture and cultural traditions of Greece and the Mediterranean countries.
The institute is recognized by the Greek Ministry of Culture as an archaeological school. The department offers accommodation to researchers, students and artists, and arranges conferences, exhibitions, colloquia and courses. Finally, the institute receives groups on excursions and arranges their access to museums and archeological sites.
Recognition of foreign educations
If you have completed a publicly recognized education in Greece or elsewhere abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education
Work in Greece
Unemployment in Greece in 2012 was 24.3%. Due to the high unemployment rate and the requirement to be able to speak Greek, it is difficult for foreigners to get jobs in Greece.
The many seasonal jobs in the tourism industry are handled primarily by young Greeks, and wages are low.
You can receive your unemployment benefit for 3 months while applying for a job in Greece. See more about this in the article Job search abroad in the folder Paid work.
You can get information about working in Greece from the EURES Advisers at the country’s Job Centers.
In addition, you can also search for e.g. this Greek job database: www.careerjet.gr
Work-and residence permit
As Greece is an EU country, you as a Dane are free to stay in the country for up to 3 months. If the stay extends beyond 3 months, you must apply for a residence permit. If you get a job, you must always apply for a work permit. You must contact the local Greek authorities for a residence and work permit.
See also the article Visas, work and residence permits.
In the newspapers you can find homes for rent under “Enikiassis Akiniton”.
Leases in Greece usually run for 2 years. Signs with “for rent” say “Enikiazete”.
See www.eures.dk for more information.
Facts about Greece
Population: 11.2 million
Employment: Unemployment in March 2013 was 26.8% (Eurostat).
Residence permit: For stays over 3 months, a residence permit is applied for.