Learn Greek in Greece: Greek language courses, island Ikaria

Are you planning to study Greek in Greece? The Ikarian Center has been organizing Greek courses on the island of Ikaria almost all year round, for more than 20 years! Each course includes 10 lessons (one lesson per day) of 3 hour tuition per  lesson (36 teaching hours in total) + 18h of activities, usually within a period of 11-12 days. This is the equivalent to a two-week course. Students may register for more than one courses.


Most of our Greek language courses are taking place on-campus, in the mountainous Arethousa. Some courses within the year are taking place in the coastal village of Evdilos, 8 Km away.

The Centre’s campus is located on a remote spot on the mountains. The view of both the mountains and the sea is breathtaking and the environment is ideal for study. It’s an ideal place for someone who wants to stay away from the crowded beaches. If the view of the birds of prey flying above your head, a glass of wine under the milky way of a starry sky, the voices of the goats and the sounds of the bells of the sheep are at least equally important for you as a night in a bar with friends, then the campus is an ideal place to study Greek.


Check the course schedule and fees. Then, send us the  registration form. Don’t forget to check when and how we advice you to get to Ikaria

To participate or not to participate? Some points you must notice first:
  • We are offering language courses for non-native speakers. We are NOT providing experiences for tourists. We are focusing on the learning procedure and you must be prepared to study and do homework. Although fun and new friends are two important elements of a successful lesson, if you mainly focus on having fun & sun and making new friends, or if you desperately want to reconfirm that Greece is a collage of images with cats and white churches with blue domes, better try to find something different!
  • It’s a full immersion program, at least we try hard to make it work like this. As most of the locals do not speak any other language apart from Greek, and the teachers keep speaking Greek even outside the classroom, you must be prepared to listen and speak a lot of Greek, even if you are a beginner.
  • We usually teach a group of 6-12 people, divided into two or more classes, depending on the level of the students and the way they learn.
  • Ikarian Centre’s “campus” in Ikaria hosts these small groups of 6-12 students and provides them with all modern comforts (from a washing machine to fast Internet). It also provides each student an environment for healthy socialization as well as for isolation. Each student usually takes a private room.
  • Although we don’t grow vegetables or animals; also people of all religions are welcome here, someone can easily describe what we call “campus” as “farm”, or even as “monastery”!
  • Therefore, the “campus” is not surrounded by museums, art galleries or by bars and “traditional Greek” restaurants; our good neighbors are some goats, living nearby. This quiet and peaceful environment is the best for relaxation and learning. After almost 20 years of living and giving courses here (the Greek language lessons on-campus started in summer 2001), we can say that life outside the urban environment takes another quality, one that definitely helps the learning procedure.


The courses / season:

From the crowd of August to the olive harvest period in late October – November and the carnival before Easter, the changes of the seasons have an important impact on the life of islanders. Our courses cannot avoid following these changes and students will live another experience depending on the season they will participate in the courses. Following, we try to highlight the changes in the program related with the changes of the seasons.

The carnival of Evdilos, a small Ikarian village, is not that famous as other carnivals, like the carnival of Rio de Janeiro for example 🙂 However, it is a big event for the island. During the Greek language lessons, students will participate in the last preparations of this event, and will also interview the locals regarding the roots and the influence of this tradition. Of course, the hidden aim of all these is to create osmosis between the community of our students and the locals. In this way we believe that our students will practice the language and multiply their motivation to continue their studies in the Greek language. The weather in March is unstable and the beach is not an option. Some visits to Evdilos or the nearby Karavostamo for shopping and/or a tsipouro are organized according to the mood of the group. After the lessons, students can have lunch together with the teachers. Course activities also include visits to local families, where students can participate in the daily activities of the family (gardening, cooking, feeding the animals etc). As most of the locals do not speak any other language and the teachers keep speaking Greek even outside the classroom, you must be prepared to listen to and speak Greek a lot, even if you are a beginner.
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April 15-25/2019 Start or improve your skills in Greek language in an intensive Greek language course with activities during Easter holiday, on the island of Ikaria. At the same time discover the traditions of the Greek Easter. The weather in April is still unstable although days around Easter are traditionally sunny and warm. Some visits to Evdilos, the nearby Karavostamo and Arethousa for shopping, a tsipouro or dinner are organized according to the mood of the group. After the lessons students who wish can have lunch together with the teachers. Course activities also include visits to local families, where students can and participate in the daily activities of the family (gardening, cooking, feeding the animals etc). Students will also learn about Greek Easter traditions, while participating in them. Usually the dates of the lessons are defined by the Catholic and not the Greek (Orthodox) Easter. However, many times Catholic and Orthodox Easter is only one week away, so students do have the opportunity to participate in the customs of the Greek Easter. Those who can stay until the Orthodox Easter Sunday and celebrate the Greek Easter with their teachers, are welcome to do so. No extra fee is charged for this. The Orthodox Easter of 2019 is on Sunday, April 28th. Ikaria is a small island located in the eastern Aegean where rural traditions are still very much alive. Easter, a springtime celebration,  is celebrated by local communities with great festive spirit. Preparation for Easter Sunday starts in the houses of the community, where various sweets are made and boiled eggs are painted red. During Holy Week, the atmosphere is somewhat solemn, as most local people fast and attend the various religious services held in churches all over the island. Generally, there is a great emotional build-up during Easter Saturday, when celebrations start in the evening. After the religious ceremony and a local fireworks display, people return to their homes where families and friends eat and drink together. On both Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday in the village of Karavostamo one can witness the "burning of Afano", a custom that dates back to Byzantine times.
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The weather in May and September is generally warm and the beach is one of the options. Daily visits to the coastal Karavostamo and sometimes Evdilos for a swim and lunch are included in the program whenever the weather is good. If the weather is bad, students can have lunch or dinner indoors, with the teachers. Course activities also include visits to local families, where students can participate in the daily activities of the family (gardening, cooking, feeding the animals etc).
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June, July, August, until beginning of September The weather in summer is very warm and an afternoon visit to the beach is a must for most of the students. For this, the daily program includes visits to the seaside village of Karavostamo, a 10-minute drive from the center. Course activities no longer include visits to local families, as summer is a "tough" period for the locals. However, traditional dance and singing lessons, slide shows and conversation classes are organized, so students will still have the chance to practice Greek outside the classroom. Summer is the time for the famous Ikarian panigiri which never ends. Sometimes there are more than 2 panigiris or other events (concerts, theater plays, live music evenings etc) at the same day or night. Students usually participate in the party. However, as the island is big and all these events happen in different spots of the island, far away from one another, and also because the local public transport is not well-organized at all, you do need a car in order to participate. A list of car rental agencies in Evdilos is available here. If you are intending to hire a car within the period July 15 – August 30, you must reserve one in advance, a long time before your arrival on the island. We’ll be happy to help you on this.
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Middle of August, island of Ikaria The middle of August is the peak of the tourist season in Ikaria, like everywhere else in the north hemisphere. The weather is hot and people from all over the world flood the island. The locals keep the tradition and organize big scale “panigiri” for all these people -a fiesta with live music, traditional dance, food and wine that lasts the whole day and night long, until the next morning... During our Greek language lessons in the middle of August you’ll have the opportunity to learn traditional dances in afternoon - evening workshops with a local teacher, then practice in the panigiri with the locals. The dance workshops will focus on traditional dances of Ikaria and other islands, but we will also look at dances from other parts of the country. Beginners are expected and welcome, and more advanced dancers should be prepared to dance with beginners. Since the teachers of dance and the organizers of the workshop are Greeks, Greek will be used as well as English.  No more activities will be organized during this lesson, apart from a slide show about Ikaria as well as a cooking lesson where we’ll all cook together traditional Ikarian dishes.
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Evdilos is a small village with 600 inhabitants, although it is the main port of north Ikaria. The courses in Evdilos are intended for those who prefer a more urban environment rather than a farm on the mounts. Students have easy and fast access on foot to several bars, tavernas and cafeterias as well as the sea. Evdilos, although a small village, has all the characteristics of an urban environment. In the horseshoe of the port, one can find all the life of the village gathered in one place: From ATMs for money withdraw, post office, car rentals and pharmacy to traditional kafenia (cafeterias), tavernas, places for an ouzo, a beer or a pizza… And all these by the sea. The beach of Evdilos is not the best of the island, but it's only 3 min on foot away, it's clean and it is well-protected from the wind. There are also more options nearby, like the beach of Kampos, 30 min on foot. The afternoon activities are very limited during the courses in Evdilos. One evening we are going to cook all together some traditional Ikarian dishes. A slide show about Ikaria is also included. No more afternoon – evening activities are offered. Students have all the time of the world to do their homework, enjoy picturesque Evdilos and explore the island in their own way. A limited number of summer Greek courses are offered every year in the coastal village of Evdilos, on the island of Ikaria. We suggest accommodation at Hotel Atheras. The hotel offers a special price for our students. Breakfast is also served with an additional cost. Accommodation in the hotel is not obligatory and students may choose other rooms for rent in the area. We strongly suggest students to prefer accommodation inside the village, as they might find inconvenience to walk every day 10 – 15 min from the nearby beaches around Evdilos to the center of the Evdilos, where the lessons are taking place. We can help you to reserve a room at hotel Atheras after your registration in our courses, or you can book it independently. Students can find each other and integrate with locals in the bars and the cafeterias of the port, just 5 min on foot from Hotel Atheras. Students can also rent a car from the local car rentals and explore the island.
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September 9-19/2019 The Greek Literature summer courses are intended for adults who are speakers of modern Greek as a second language, and who can understand a literary text in Greek, even with the assistance of a dictionary, as well as discuss the text and express their opinion about it, again in Greek. Please note that the texts will be sent to the students in advance, at least a month before the beginning of the lessons.  During the course we will look at excerpts from literary texts and poems chosen from Greek literature of the early - middle 20th century.  The aim of the course is both the enrichment of vocabulary and an increased ease in expression for each student, as well as an increased knowledge of Greek authors and trends in Greek literature. A better understanding of the social and political background of the era when the texts were written is an additional important benefit.
  • 10-day course (10 lessons in 11 days, 40 hours of tuition, no extra activities)
  • 4-10 students in a single class
  • Location: On-campus, Arethousa, Ikaria, https://goo.gl/maps/Tg2toQvWfCR2
Κρίτωνας Ηλιόπουλος Ο Κρίτωνας γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1965, αποφοίτησε από τη Σχολή Βιολογίας του Πανεπιστημίου Πάτρας και κατόπιν βιοπορίστηκε ασκώντας διάφορα επαγγέλματα. Μετοίκησε για πέντε χρόνια στο Σάο Πάουλο της Βραζιλίας και τώρα ζει στην Αθήνα. Μεταφράζει ανελλιπώς λογοτεχνία (αλλά όχι μόνο) από Ισπανικά και από Πορτογαλικά. Στην Ελλάδα έχουν εκδοθεί περισσότερες από 65 μεταφράσεις του. Έχει μεταφράσει έργα πολλών συγγραφέων από Ισπανία, Λατινική Αμερική και Πορτογαλία, πχ Carlos Fuentes, Miguel Delibes, Roberto Bolaño, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Daniel Chavarria, Cesar Aira και άλλων. Έχει διδάξει στο μεταπτυχιακό προγραμμα μετάφρασης του Αριστοτέλειου Πανεπιστήμιου Θεσσαλονίκης και στο ΕΚΕΜΕΛ. Επίσης διοργάνωσε και δίδαξε σε σεμινάρια ελληνικής γλώσσας,ιστορίας και πολιτισμού στον οργανισμό ARETÉ , στο Σαο Πάουλο της Βραζιλίας. Συγγράφει άρθρα και ασχολείται με την κοινωνιολογία και την ιστορία της Λατινικής Αμερικής.
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October & November The lessons are intended for any adult who wishes to improve his or her skills in the Greek language, including beginners. Friends of yours may also come with you and participate in the olive harvest and in the rest of our activities, without participating in the Greek classes. The Greek language course & olive harvest is an opportunity to begin learning Greek, or to improve your skills in the Greek language while participating in the olive harvest - an experience both enjoyable and educational. You will learn about the various steps in the production of olive oil and have a chance to get to know a Greek island well apart from the usual tourist areas. This is a time when the island life returns to its normal rhythm. Olive harvest starts by the end of October and continues until the end of November, depending on the weather conditions and when the rain starts. After the language lessons, students who wish can work for a few hours harvesting olives in the nearby fields, optionally and for fun; we are not expecting our students to harvest all the trees of the region 🙂 However, in this way students will have the opportunity to find out how the olive oil is produced, also to meet some locals and speak with them. We will also visit an oil press and watch how olive oil is made from the olives. Course activities include visits to local families, cooking lessons by the teachers or women of the village,  slide shows, conversation classes, film projections, lessons with Greek songs and traditional dance lessons with locals. If possible, we also participate in one of the small scale panigiris of the season, with good food and music, but without the multicolor crowd of the summer. The weather in October – November is unstable, but still not very cold, although there are some hard days with cold and rain. Rooms on-campus are well-heated. Some visits to the nearby villages (Evdilos, Karavostamo, Arethousa) for shopping, a tsipouro or good local food are organized according to the mood of the group.
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