Home Greek America Corps Thessaloniki 2024

Greek America Corps Thessaloniki 2024

by Eleni Anagnostopoulos

Serving Vulnerable Communities in Thessaloniki

Why this program?

From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder

After a successful expansion to Thessaloniki , the capital of northern Greece, during summer 2022, we are proud to continue our work in this dynamic city. This program supports one of the most innovative charities in Greece which serves vulnerable people including hundreds of refugee children and their families. Initiatives like these help develop the strong interpersonal ties between the people of North America and Greece, all while promoting the values of philanthropy, volunteerism and service.

Program dates: June 29 - July 14, 2024

Applications open

DEADLINE: February 29, 2024. Click here to apply.

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Watch our volunteer testimonials

Program overview

This is a two-week Greek America Corps programs which entail serving vulnerable populations in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki in a structured environment and in partnership with respected non-profit organizations and institutions.

For applicants with financial need, we offer scholarships that cover accommodations and program expenses such as excursions, transportation and most meals. Alternatively, if applicants do not require financial aid, they can opt to purchase the package after they have been accepted. These programs are ideal for participants between 18-25 years old. This age range is strongly preferred but not a strict requirement. Volunteers do not need to be enrolled in college, nor in possession of a college degree. See below for the full program details.

Partners & location

During our program, we will work with respected and well known non-profit organizations and join them in crucial volunteer activities in various locations in the surrounding area of Thessaloniki.

Since the launch of our program in Thessaloniki, we have established long-term partnerships with organizations, offering support and serving the refugee population and other disenfranchised individuals and groups. Volunteers also work with local organizations and other volunteer teams, in order to combat food waste, and environmental threats, by participating in food saving activities, beach clean-ups and other volunteer activities in the region of Thessaloniki.

Our growing partnership network, and the holistic approach of our 2-week program, will allow our volunteers to come in contact with a number of prestigious Greek non-profits and their beneficiaries, and will give them the opportunity to experience the multi-faceted and ever changing Greek society.

Our list of partner organizations grows everyday, and participants will be informed of their work during the interview process, and the mandatory group orientation calls after being accepted in the program.

Program dates & description

June 29 – July 14, 2024

The program begins with an informal arrival, meet-and-greet and check-in at our hotel (exact location TBA). No official activities will be scheduled in order to allow for all participants to rest and settle in following presumably long travels. Volunteers MUST be present on the listed start dates. The first day after arrival day will consist of brief orientations and meetings with our charity partners followed by a Greek America Foundation welcome dinner in the evening. The program will conclude on the final evening with a farewell dinner. Participants will be responsible for their own travel arrangements after checking out from the hotel on departure day.

Volunteers will work closely with staff from the Greek America Foundation and our partners. Ordinarily, volunteers will work weekdays for 4-6 hours per day (with lunch breaks) in various locations within the greater Thessaloniki area

In the evenings and at times during the day, volunteers will either have free time to explore the city or attend meal-inclusive excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. Such excursions may include visiting museums and historical sites or attending cultural events and other happenings

Greek America Corps

Program specifics

Accommodation will be provided a location (TBA) in the center of Thessaloniki. Daily breakfast is included. Several group lunches and dinners will also be provided. Participants should budget about €80-100 per week for extra meals that are not included in the package. Transportation to and from volunteer locations will be provided either via public or privately arranged transportation, depending on the day’s activities. Excursions/activities are included in the price of the program. Airfare to Greece and/or Thessaloniki is not included; however, our staff can help with international and domestic travel arrangements, as well as domestic air or ferry details. 

Health insurance

The Greek America Foundation will require all participants to have travel medical insurance for emergency and routine medical needs during program dates. The approximate cost ranges from $30-50 USD, depending on your age. We will provide further information on where to purchase insurance after you are accepted into the program. If you currently own a health insurance policy, we suggest that you check whether coverage is available abroad. On-site staff will be available 24/7 to support volunteers should emergencies arise.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be informed that while volunteering for the Greek America Foundation, you are solely responsible for any medical expenses that may occur during your volunteer activities. The Greek America Foundation does not assume liability for any medical costs incurred as a result of volunteer participation.

Desired qualities in a volunteer

The Greek America Foundation seeks volunteers who are able to handle quickly changing environments, encountering people from different cultures and the emotional ups and downs that come with working in challenging conditions. Our volunteer work may at times be physically demanding: summer temperatures in Greece can reach 100 degrees and at times we will be outside engaging in physical activity. Please note that we will always be mindful of putting everyone’s health first during hot weather. 
Staff from the Greek America Foundation and our partner organizations will be accessible at all times. We encourage all volunteers to take down time, practice self-care and use their own coping strategies while engaged in this work. Having strong boundaries, knowing your limits and when to take a break are important skills while volunteering.

Scholarships/program fees

If you need financial aid, you may opt for a full scholarship covering all program costs including accommodation; local transportation; cultural meals and excursions and administrative fees. Airfare to Greece and/or Thessaloniki is not covered by scholarship funds. You can also opt to pay for the program if you do not require financial aid. The cost for participation is $2,499 (plus airfare). It is not necessary for you to complete a separate application or provide additional materials to receive a scholarship; instead, you will specify this detail in your application by selecting “Pay” or “Scholarship.”

College credit

For an additional fee (price available by request), participants have the option to accrue college credits that can be applied to their studies at their home institution via our partnership with the Hellenic American University, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in Athens. Students are responsible for checking with their home institutions about transfer of credits. A counselor at Hellenic American University will be made available to assist, as will a curriculum and coursework. Please mention in your application if you are interested in receiving these credits and our Greece-based program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, will contact you to provide information on pricing.

Application process

In order to apply and be accepted to the volunteer program, you must prepare your resume, a cover letter and two recommendation letters from two different individuals, and upload them when completing the application form.

Please ensure you have informed your recommenders of the application deadline, as materials submitted after the deadline date will not be accepted. After a member of your staff reviews your application, you will be contacted via the email you submitted in the application to conduct a brief interview. After a waiting period, you will be informed of the status of your application.

Important note: Please make sure to check your spam/junk folders regularly, or create an exception in your inbox.

Frequently asked questions

Can I participate if I’m not from the United States or Canada?

Only U.S. and Canadian nationals or lawful permanent residents are eligible to participate.

Do I have to be between 18-25 years old?

This is not a “strict” requirement; however, the ideal and most common age of participants is between 18-25.

Do I need to be a student or have a college degree?

No, volunteers do not need to be enrolled in college, nor in possession of a college degree.

I’d like to apply for a scholarship. Do I need to submit any extra paperwork?

No extra materials are required. You simply must specify on your application whether you are requesting a scholarship — which is based on financial need — or offering to pay for the cost of your participation.

What costs are covered by a scholarship?

Accommodation, local transportation, most meals, excursions, miscellaneous supplies and administrative fees.

How much money should I expect to spend during the trip?

This largely depends on your personal preferences and spending habits; however, you can safely anticipate spending between 80-100 euros per week on your own food and beverages.

Do I need to speak Greek to participate?

English and Greek will be the main languages spoken in the volunteer program. Knowledge of Greek is not required, but knowledge of the language is a definite plus for our volunteers. Interpreters will be available at times.

Is it safe to be in Thessaloniki?

The Greek America Foundation vets all volunteer locations for safety and suitability for our volunteers. Likewise, our charity partners are also vetted for accountability and ability to handle our volunteer group. The city of Thessaloniki is generally quite safe. Reasonable precautions will be taken at all times and volunteers will be instructed on safety for a variety of contexts.

I’d like to attend another program/conference/family celebration. Can I join the program late or leave at any time?

Participants are expected to be present for the duration of the program and not attend other events.

What’s a typical day like?

Volunteers will work weekdays for 4-6 hours per day with a lunch break. Our group will complete tasks as specified above (see “Program dates & description”). During evenings, volunteers will either have free time to explore or participate in excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. Group meetings will also take place when appropriate. Please note that schedules tend to vary depending on the circumstances presented each day. A more detailed schedule will be shared with volunteers in the weeks leading up to their program’s start date.

Will I have free time to make plans on my own?

Yes. Our programs are structured to give volunteers ample free time to explore and experience Greece independently; however, volunteers should not make arrangements that directly conflict with our daily schedule.

What will the rooming situation be?

Volunteers are generally placed in double or triple rooms on a male vs. female basis. Under extentuating circumstances, the Greek America Foundation may offer to accommodate single room requests, provided that our hotel has availability.

What kind of preparation happens leading up to the programs?

After being accepted, volunteers will be required to participate in preparatory Zoom meetings organized by the Greek America Foundation staff. These meetings will provide volunteers with information about finer details and logistics.

How does health insurance work?

If you are accepted into the program, you are required to purchase your own travel health insurance in order to participate. The approximate cost ranges from $30-50 USD, depending on your age and chosen provider. The Greek America Foundation will provide further information about where and how to purchase travel health insurance after your acceptance into the program.

What happens in case of medical emergencies?

The Greek America Foundation requires all accepted volunteers to share emergency contact information prior to the program’s start date. In the event of an emergency, Greek America Foundation staff will always be available to help volunteers and facilitate their access to medical care; however, volunteers and/or their families are fully responsible for covering the upfront cost of any emergency medical care and filing health insurance claims for reimbursements (if necessary) thereafter.

Is your question not included above?

Please email our program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, to receive further information.

If you would like to support our programs, please consider donating to our cause. Your contribution will play an important role in providing young students with a transformative life changing experience!