Hello! First time posting a question...my daughter is planning on going to Greece this summer for a short study abroad. With everything going on in Syria and Turkey, how do you know it's safe? We're big travelers and have been abroad as recently as last summer...but I guess I'd like to hear how other people have sent their kids off to study abroad during scary times. Ugh! Thanks!
Not to worry. Greece is one of the safest countries to go to. What you are hearing about is the influx of refugees from Syria coming from Turkey to Greek Islands close to the Turkish coast. Yes, there are many refugees but they don't pose a problem of safety to locals or tourists. Just a major economical issue for the all-ready troubled Greek economy that the rest of the EU is not doing anything about.
We have been going to Greece every year since 2010 and have never had any problems with safety either on the mainland or islands. If you are concerned about the refugee problem then avoid islands close to Turkey like Lesbos, Chios, Kos and others . . . still they are safe to go to.
Athens is one of the safest large cities in the world . . . the only concern is pick pockets, purse snatchers and the crazy traffic and drivers . . . and even that should not be a problem.
Go to Greece . . . spend some Euros to help the Greek economy and enjoy one of the most beautiful countries in the world and some of the kindest and most courteous people anywhere!
Hi, worried Mom!
If you are talking about Greece itself, and if there are dangers resulting from Europe's migrant situation, No. In Greece, not at all. As a parallel, it's like saying that Louisville will be risky because of Problems in Virginia or Miami. Athens & almost all the areas your daughter would be at all likely to visit are FAR from the migrant points (Kos, Lesvos, Thessaloniki). In case you have not looked at a map, here is one -- http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-maps/images/greece.gif The islands are so far from Athens they have to be shown in an Inset, and they require a full day's journey on a ferry. As far as Greece safety in general, it has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. As for unassimilated Near East residents -- Greece probably has the least of any European country, probably less than 1% in population, not even a mosque in Athens.
That resolves the issue of whether "it" (Greece) is safe. Whether your daughter is going to get along safely is a different topic, and depends on how mature and self-sufficient she is, how able to handle things on her own without parents around. My grandson leaves Tuesday for a semester in London/Britain, and last night I gave him a stern reality check on safeguarding money, valuables, electronics, etc. in public places. Pickpockets are RIFE in London! Luckily, In Greece, they're only in Athens, (mainly Albanians) and only in a few main places where unwary or careless tourists are found -- The Blue Line Metro from the airport, the Green Line from the Ferry Port, and in crowds watching the Changing of Guards in Syntagma. However college kids these days seem so addicted to staring at their smart-phones, you could take their shoes and they might not notice! Makes me Crazy. The islands are the safest places in the world that I know -- virtually the only petty theft is perpetrated by other young travelers, mostly in hostels. At least my grandson's from a large city and is used to handling public transit himself, and attending events on his own ... so many teens I see around, especially from suburbs, have been school-bussed or driven everyplace all their lives, they haven't developed a sense of prudence or awareness... they live in a "bubble."
Aside from savvy about traveling independently, the other issue is maturity about partying -- because face it, they're going to party. Greek young adults don't overdo it -- ... when they go out for an evening, there always seems to be food on the table too, and talking seems their main addiction. In my 12 extended visits in greece, I've never seen a drunk or even tipsy young Greek -- but I've seen a goodly share from US or UK who've had 2 too many. So, that's worth discussing at your house, and finding out about group leaders, if she's in a group study situation. That said, if you've done a good job, and given her responsibility, she should be fine. It worked out fine with my 2 ... my daughter went around Europe as a 20-year-old, and my son backpacked & did an Amtrak criss- crossing the country on his own at that age, and it was all good. To your daughter, Best wishes for a summer adventure!
Thank you for your responses, I already feel better! She'll be in Crete and a few other places, and then a trip to Athens for a few days. It's a faculty led program through her university, so she should be good. She experienced the pickpockets and scams in Paris, so she knows what to look for with those types of things. We talked in great detail about that. It just seems like the world is so scary right now and I'm having a hard time thinking of letting her go. But...I have to! Actually, I'm all about travel and we are fortunate that she has so many opportunities. I'm sure she'll be just fine. She's not worried at all! Thank you again!
I forgot to mention that we're from St. Louis...not too far from Ferguson, where the riots were last year. (Not that they had an impact on our safety.) But I'm sure she'll be safer in Greece than in some parts of St. Louis!