It does not require a sophisticated investigation to learn that most of these supposed obstacles to study abroad in Cyprus should not be obstacles at all.
I’d like to look at the potential for U.S. college students to study abroad in Cyprus and discuss the relevance of students and Study Abroad Advisors exploring Cyprus as a relevant and meaningful study abroad destination.
First of all, let’s look at those perceived obstacles to study abroad in Cyprus.
1. Few Americans know much about Cyprus.
– so what!?!?!?!? Let’s learn!
– most that do know about Cyprus, love it
– Cyprus is a modern, thriving EU (European Union) country and should be known by Americans
2. Because the first language in Cyprus is Greek, many American students and Study Abroad Advisors might incorrectly assume that unless students are fluent in Modern Greek language, they would not be able to study at a Cypriot institution of higher education.
– yes, the official language of Cyprus is Greek, but most of the population is multi-lingual and English is commonly spoken as a second language
– the University of Nicosia uses English as the official language (expect in the School of Education) of instruction and administration
– non-Greek speaking students can easily navigate the university, the community and travel throughout Cyprus in English only
3. There are very few colleges and universities in Cyprus
– until 2008, there was only one (1) university in Cyprus
– in 2008, four private colleges where awarded university-level status by the Ministry of Education
– The University of Nicosia was established over 25 years ago on the U.S. higher education structure and functions academically and administratively parallel to most U.S. universities.
4. Cypriot institutions have not promoted themselves to the American study abroad market.
– until 2004 when the University of Nicosia (formerly Intercollege) developed Global Learning Semesters as an organization to serve as the international marketing and U.S. student support for Intercollege, there was very little promotion of Cypriot higher education to the U.S. college student market
– Global Learning Semesters now supports hundreds of U.S. college students studying at the University of Nicosia annually.
5. Because Cyprus is a bi-communal society divided by a United Nations demilitarized zone, some people may think Cyprus is a dangerous location.
– Cyprus is a democratically stable nation, thriving member of the European Union, and has not experienced any violence related to the bi-communal status since 1974.
– An ideal learning laboratory for students, the bi-communal status of Cyprus is great place for students to learn about international relations, active UN negotiations, and ethnic/national divisions in a stable, non-violent society.
6. Because Cyprus is so close to the “Middle East” some people may think that it is an Arab nation and/or may have security issues related to “Middle Eastern” countries.
– situated in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a close ally, neighbor and friend of Greece
– Cyprus is considered a “Christian” nation with the majority of Cypriots observing Orthodox Christianity
– in geographic proximity, Cyprus is closer to Israel, Egypt and Turkey than it is to it’s Western European counterparts
– politically, economically, and internationally… Cyprus is a member of the European Union and thus functions as a thriving European society
– culturally… Cyprus has a long and diverse history of living in the cross-roads of European, Middle Eastern, and North African civilizations, and thus benefits from a culturally diverse perspective and exposes the average U.S. student to a Mediterranean cross-roads not seen in much of the common destinations Americans gather
Next, let’s look at some of the important factors any student should consider when choosing a relevant study abroad program.
1. What are the academic options available?
2. Can I earn academic credit that will add to my degree plan?
3. Do I meet the eligibility requirements of the program?
4. Will the cultural experience be relevant to my academic, personal and career goals?
5. Do the student support services meet my needs?
6. Can I afford it?