When one thinks of Greece, images of towering temples with statues of the ancient gods might come to mind, or perhaps the colorful synchronization of the white and blue architecture of Santorini is where you find your mind wandering off. Regardless of what images first spring to your imagination, turn that daydream into a reality by pursuing an internship in Greece.
What is it like in Greece?
Located in Southern Europe, Greece serves as home to about 11 million people, with about 3.7 million people living in the capital city of Athens. Given its proximity to the sea of the same name, Greece’s climate is classified as Mediterranean, which means hot, dry summers and mild, but rather wet winters. The topographical diversity of Greece is comprised of thousands of islands (it has the 11th longest coast line in the world) and 80% of the entire country consists of mountains and hills, hear that outdoorsy hiking fanatics?
What kind of internships can I get there?
When it comes to interning in Greece, a lot of factors depend on what industry you choose to immerse yourself within. With a country harboring thousands of beautiful islands to vacation on, interning in hospitality during the busy tourist season is a great possibility for those looking to develop skills in customer service and other hospitality related disciplines. If an internship in the business field is more relevant, then expect to head away from the islands and find opportunities in Athens, where much of Greece’s commerce operations occur. If the rich cultural history of Greece is what you’re interested in, both academic and art internships are available through universities, dance companies and cultural centers. However, if you’re true calling is working with the water, then keep an eye out for marine biology internships, as well as diving and watersports centers looking for eager mermaids and mermen to join their team for the spring and summer seasons.
An important methodology in Greek culture is 'Filoxenia' which means friend to foreigners. Mid-June to September is known as the ‘high season’ and the winter months between November and mid-April are much quieter. Whether you have a background as a line cook and are interested in learning more about Mediterranean cuisine, or you are interested in developing your customer service skills, several hotels offer internships to foreigners ranging in departments from food & beverage to PR to leisure services. Global Choices offers an internship program for graduates of tourist, sport or economics institutions that enhances your hospitality skills in a new cultural setting, while several hotels and spas, such as Cornucopia Club Ltd, Porto Zante Villas and Spa and Euromoto Karpathos, advertise internships for a wide array of positions at their luxury locations. Although the summer months are busier and typically require extra help, there are still a few hotels that are searching for interns during the winter months.
Business and Technology
Sales, finance, marketing, and all other business related internships are best found in Athens, the major commerce hub of Greece. There are also possibilities in Thessaloniki and if you are motivated you might even be able to join up with the finance department of a resort located in the surrounding islands. The location of your internship will greatly influence the type of experience you have, so make sure you are clear with your intentions for the scene you want to be involved in. If you are after a competitive, bustling atmosphere then heading to Athens is your best bet for a combination of international business involvement while still exploring the amazing Greek culture.
Those interested in technological internships should look at larger corporations that are usually based in Athens, as they can easily accommodate interns while allowing them exposure to high tech engineering techniques and experience with programming. Again, depending on what type of technological field you are interested in pursuing, will determine what organization would be your best fit.
Culture and Academics
The vibrant art, history and culture of the Grecian society continues to inspire individuals and if you are one of these people with a special yearning to discover more of Greek culture, or are interested in developing skills in your particular art discipline, there are internships awaiting you throughout the entire country. Colleges are a great place to search for internships in this genre, since their designated purpose is education and enrichment. Perrotis College, in Thessaloniki offers a wide variety of programs for interns, covering subjects ranging from Food Science to Tourism to Sustainable Development while Arcadia University, in Athens, hosts the College of Global Studies which provides an internship for those looking for experience and exploration in a foreign country.
For thrill-seeking ocean lovers, keep an eye out for opportunities along the coast and amongst the islands, as internships in marine biology centers, dive centers and watersports centers are always on the lookout for passionate marine enthusiasts. The cerulean waters around Greece host a great deal of marine wildlife which provides a natural attraction for eco-tourism exploits such as diving and snorkeling tours, while at the same time serving as an outdoor classroom for aspiring marine researchers. Kite surfing and wind surfing are also very popular during the windy season in locations such as Paros, Limnos and Rhodes. Eurodivers Zante in Zakynthos offers a program to help divers improve their dive skills, while the organizations such as Archipelagos which is located in Mesokampos, Pythagorio, on the southeast coast of Samos island and the Northern Aegean Dolphin Project where you work on a vessel with marine scientists, both feature internships that focuses on marine research and conservation.
How do I apply?
Websites such as Europe-Internship.com and many other overseas related sites that provide search engines for your specific criteria. These agencies are one of the easiest places to find internships, since the application process is built into the website. If you see an internship on one of these pages, I recommend researching as much as you can about the organization, what documents they expect you to have and if there is a direct application process. Subject to your field of interest, there are periods of time where it is more advantageous to apply such as hospitality, where there is a busy season when everyone will be vying for the prime positions. There are other programs that accept interns on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply the better!
Getting into Greece
While the diversity of internships and the culturally rich and visually enthralling locations that they exist within are attractive, travelling abroad usually includes dealing with visa matters. If you are from an EU member country, you are not required to show your passport, just your police I.D. Card, though you will still need your passport for various other transactions once you are in Greece such as money transfers. Citizens coming from Member-States of the Schengen Agreement are not required to a visa to visit Greece if they are staying for less than three months. Durations of internships vary, as do the visa requirements which institutions will either ask you to prepare prior to joining their team, and others may provide for you. Internships do not usually require work permits since you are not technically working as an employee and taking jobs away from Greek citizens, but it is best to consult your internship organization about which documents you need.
Costs and Customs
When it comes to accommodations, your internship host organization might provide food and housing or you may be looking at about EU250 for a small flat and about EU150 for food if you cook at home, on average per week. Dining out in public will certainly cost you more, but if you go to a family style restaurant where they serve large plates of food for the whole table to enjoy, such olives, cheese, bread, you may find you pay a little less than if you solo. Language wise, the booming tourism industry has increased the amount of English spoken but can’t hurt to learn a few Greek sayings such as thank you, Efharistó and I don’t speak Greek, den milao elinika.