Cyprus has quickly climbed the ranks to become popular among international students as a study destination thanks to its respected education system, abundant sunshine, and reasonable tuition fees. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and spends around 7% of its GDP on education. This makes Cyprus one of the top three education spenders in the world, just behind Denmark and Sweden.
Cyprus, is divided into two areas, one ruled by Greece and the other ruled by Turkey. The country is close in its location to Turkey, Syria and Egypt and is considered to be a part of the European Union. Cyprus has evidence of some of the oldest civilizations known to man. Human traces have been found on the island from as far back as the 10th millennium BC. The island is a beautiful sight during winters and attracts visitors throughout the year.
The country is dominated by two mountain ranges, Troodos Mountains and the Kyrenia Range. The average annual temperature during the day is around 24 degrees and around 14 degrees at night. Summers last for about eight months and the region experiences the warmest winters in Europe. The country has a total of 107 dams and they serve as one of the main source of water for the island. The government has also invested heavily in desalination plants which supply over 50% of the country’s water supply.
While the country’s GDP is lower than the European average, the country has become a sought after destination for many offshore businesses because of its relaxed tax laws. The country considers tourism, shipping and financial services as its main industries and largest contributors to the economy. Large quantities of offshore natural gas have also been discovered and companies have flocked to make the most of these opportunities. Increasing tourism has also promoted the property market of the country and the government has backed it significantly with substantial investments.
The country is considered as one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world. It is marked by a beautiful landscape comprising of snow-capped mountains, vast plains and olive groves and farm land. The architecture of the country has a mix of classical Greek and Byzantine structures with new modernist architecture dominating city centres. The food of the region is delicious and comprises of various vegetables, fish and meat as well as dairy products. Fresh salads and yoghurt are regulars during meals. The country is also a large exporter of fruits and vegetables, however, the agrarian sector is slowly taking the backseat due to the emergence of the service sector.
The country has far lower study costs as compared to other fashionable study destinations. Unlike Greece and most other countries, high school grades are not considered important for students to enrol in university programs. It is no surprise that the most popular courses offered by Cyprus universities are hospitality business and tourism. Despite the country being a part of the EU the education system of the country is largely based on the American schooling system. Under this system the students are allowed to choose their academic loads and vary the course, the fewer subjects you study in this system the lesser you pay.
There are over 50,000 students studying at Cypriot universities and one third of them are international students. There are also a number of courses in the country that offer a dual degree arrangement which are fully accredited by US and UK partner universities. Because of the Bologna Process university qualifications, the credentials obtained in Cyprus universities are directly comparable to their UK equals. With so much going for Cyprus it is little wonder that the country is rapidly becoming one of the most sought after education destinations in the world.
Higher education in Cyprus is offered in both public and private organisations. The country offers an amazing balance of a healthy lifestyle along with great weather and a chance to learn at one of the prime tourist destinations in the world. The country is known for its safe and welcoming environment. Its proximity to Africa, Europe and Asia have made it a stopping point for a large amount of sea trade through the millennia. This has resulted in Cyprus becoming one of the most attractive destinations for education and trade for students and companies, respectively, around the world.
Studying in Cyprus exposes you to a range of cultures and people which truly gives you the experience of being a world citizen. Students from over 70 different country enrol in universities and colleges in Cyprus to make the most of their education system. The country has something for everyone. With a population of over 1.1 million people it sees over 2 million tourists flocking its shores every year. This makes it a prime destination for tourism and for the hospitality sector.
The country has a landscape that can be an envy of many far larger and more populous nations. It has crystal seas, white beaches, rugged mountains and some world-class resorts. The country has also has a robust healthcare industry, this has become the focal point of a large scale medical tourism industry as well. The country is known for its typical island hospitality and warm people. English is a prominent language among the islanders which makes most international students feel at home.
The country has a low crime rate, a high standard of living and a thriving education sector Cyprus is hugely attractive to a host of foreign students and professionals. Because of its unique location, government support, and laws, the country has become a hub for higher education, medical care, hospitality and finance. The country also has a thriving culture of art, music and food. Cyprus cuisine is most famous for its halloumi cheese. Even Cypriotic wine is considered to be one of the best in the world and is one of the main exports for the country. This mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, pleasure and procreation, has become a sought after education destination for a number of international students.
The higher education system of Cyprus has been divided in three separate sections:
- Public Universities
- Private Universities
- Public non-university level institutions
- Private non-university level institutions
The country has three public universities and a placement here is highly sought after. The country offers bachelor, masters and doctoral level programmes in a variety of courses. There are also post-secondary vocational education and training courses which impart practical and vocational training to students over the course of two years.
The public universities are organized as public corporate bodies that are governed autonomously by their council and senate. Funded by the government, they are given the freedom to raise funds from varied sources as well. The three public universities of the country are considered to be the best in Cyprus and have set high standards in academics and research. These universities are multi-faceted and each faculty has various departments under it. The language of instruction may be Greek or Turkish.
The private universities are founded as private law organisations and are registered with the Ministry of Education. The mission of each private university is to advance science, knowledge and learning by providing the highest standards of teaching and research. The graduate and postgraduate education of these institutions are of international repute. These universities are allowed to raise funds through tuition fees. The language of instruction can be either English or Greek.
The public universities have a limited number of admissions through the year. The numbers of these are set by the council of the university and approved by the council of ministers after being recommended by the Minister of Education. There will be some universities that only give admission to Cypriotic and EU students, but a vast majority of education institutions welcome foreign students. Despite the higher education fees increasing with inflation, the cost of education in the country continues to be one of the most affordable in the world.
The cost of the programmes can range from 3000 to 10,000 euros per year. These costs are set by the institutions. There are some education programmes which provide health care to students but not all. The Council for Educational Accreditation is considered to be the final authority for the authorization and accreditation of courses in private universities. This organization takes charge of making the private education compete with that of universities around the world.
Students who are applying for studying in Cyprus need to have completed their secondary education or 12 years of education at the minimum for getting admission in bachelor’s or undergraduate courses. Students who want admission in post graduate courses need to have finished their bachelor’s education. Applications can usually be sent in via post or can be done online as well. It would be a good idea to apply a year in advance as some courses and institutions require you to appear for entrance exams and/or interviews. Generally there are no English proficiency requirements but some colleges may expect the same. The country also offers a wide range of language courses in order to help students get up to speed with the language in case they need support.
An English Placement Test (EPT) may be required for some students. Those international students who score higher than 513 on TOEFL, 183 in computer based TOEFL, 65 and above on internet based TOEFL, 5.5 and above on IELTS, B and above in Cambridge Exams (first certificate), C and above in Cambridge exams (proficiency certificate), as well as a C level in GCSE English Language O level, are exempt from EPTs.
Students applying for master’s courses need to have at least an average grade of C across the years of their education. Undergraduate applicants too need to have a minimum of grade C across their academic lives. The international students are expected to fulfil the General Academic Admission criterion, if not they are expected to maintain a satisfactory grade point average by the end of their first year.
You need to have the following documents in order to apply to a university in Cyprus:
- A passport with at least one year’s validity
- Photocopy of the passport
- A completely filled application form
- Passport sized photographs
- Proof of funds to cover your stay and education
- Attested original education documents
- A police clearance certificate
The visa process may take up to a month so students are usually required to apply two to three months prior to the commencement of their course. It is important that students understand, in detail, the requirements of the course and university or college they are applying to since the demands may differ from university to university. Only once that you have been accepted in the university will you be allowed to apply for a visa.
The cost of programmes in Cyprus varies from institution to institution and can range widely from 3000 euros to 10,000 euros. MBAs and doctoral degrees are generally more expensive and one should be prepared to shell out more for them. NON-EU students usually pay higher fees than EU students. Living costs in Cyprus can be divided up in accommodation, transport, food and ancillary expenses.
Cost of accommodation in the country varies depending upon the kind of accommodation you go for. Off-campus accommodation can cost you 3000 to 5000 euros per year. These are private buildings near the universities or colleges equipped with their own kitchen. The Student affairs office in the education institution can also provide you with a list of properties around the college for you to put up at. A furnished apartment can cost anything between 400 to 500 euros per month. The food is very affordable in this country, be it buying groceries or even eating out, you will be able to eat to your heart’s content without stretching your purse strings too far. There are monthly passes available for public transportation which cost around 40 euros which can save you a lot of money. There are bus services that connect various cities and intercity areas too. Taxi services are also cheap and normal taxi tariff is about 5 euros.
An international student can apply for a student visa only once they have been granted a confirmed admission in the course and programme of their choice. You need to make sure that you have a complete application form of the college you are accepted at, an application fee, passport photographs, copies of your academic certificates, English proficiency certificates, photocopy of your passport and a police clearance certificate.
Visas are issued only to those non-EU students who are taking at least 12 credits per semester. Make sure that you apply for the visa at least two to three months before the start of your course. When you attend the visa interview make sure you are carrying your medical certificate, police clearance certificate, and letters of financial support. Non-EU students also need to apply at the District Police Alien Branch within seven days of arrival in Cyprus.
International students who have a work permit are allowed to work part-time for 20 hours a week. During their breaks they are allowed to work up to 38 hours every week. Cyprus has a lot of job prospects in industries like hospitality, travel and tourism, among many others. There are great career opportunities in Cyprus in the fields of construction, finance and tourism provided you are able to do the necessary leg-work. Students will need to apply for a work visa to work and live in Cyprus after graduating from their course.
Are scholarships available to international students in Cyprus?
Eight universities in north Cyrpus offer full and partial scholarships. Theses scholarships can be need-based, merit-based, or sports-based.
What are the employment opportunities in Cyprus?
International students can often find jobs to teach English in Cyprus. To do this they need not be fluent in Greek. There are other options as well, which include doing voluntary work with people with disabilities at work camps or on youth exchanges on conservation projects like the Marine Turtle Conservation Project. Non-EU students can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester period and 38 hours during vacations. Universities also offer employment to their students when their course is going on.
Do international students need medical insurance in Cyprus?
Universities usually include the fees for medical insurance in their fees itself. All students who enroll at universities in North Cyprus get medical insurance immediately on arrival at Cyprus.
What tests does one need to pass to study in Cyprus?
One needs to prove their English language proficiency if they want to study in a university in Cyprus. The tests one needs to give are IELTS, TOEFL, CAE or CPE.
Is public transport readily available in Cyprus?
There are frequent bus services available between cities on weekdays. Public transport, however, becomes less frequent after seven in the evening. If you are taking a taxi you’d be wise to agree on a fare with the driver before you begin your journey as most taxies do not have a meter. There is also a system of sharing a taxi for two passengers going in the same direction.
What languages are most common in Cyprus?
English is very widely spoken in Cyprus considering that it is a popular tourist destination. Over and above that Turkish and Greek are also highly common languages.