Since 2 years, international volunteers from “Politistiko Ergastiri Agion Omoloyiton ” enjoy a license that allows them free travel in the main cities of Cyprus, with the bus network “Intercity Bus”.
“Politistiko Ergastiri Agion Omologiton” participates in the European Voluntary Service program (EVS), a European program that welcomes young people from across Europe for a year to work in the cultural organization of Nicosia; an ideal place to learn about the Cypriot culture, since the center is strongly linked to the dances, chants and Greek-Cypriots traditions.
“Volunteers come with a great desire to know the island,” says the director of the organization, Panayiotis Theodorou, who considers that is absolutely necessary to offer some facilities to the volunteers so they would visit Cyprus. Determined to this, he contacted Intercity Buses and reached an agreement between the center and intercity buses , pioneered a cooperation that has never happened before, between a transpotation and an NGO.
We asked volunteers about the card, and these are their opinions:
As volunteer, what do you think about this “Free Card” to travel all round Cyprus, offeered by Intercity Buses?
RAUL (Spain): “It’s really usefull, this card allows you to travel to the cities that without it you couldn’t reach. For us as extrangers in this country is very important to visit places and learn about it as much as we can and this card really help with that. I thank to Intercity Buses for this card and for make me able to see all this beautifull country“.
FREDA (Germany): “I think traveling to other cities and exploring the country you are living in is a desire everybody has. For me as a volunteer I wanted to see as much as possible from my new living place. The free bus card offered by intercity was helping me a lot and gave me the opportunity to explore the cities of Cyprus”.
JOAO (Portugal): “It is a great way of exploring Cyprus and know more of it’s culture”.
JORIN (Germany): “I really like the possibility of traveling all round Cyprus, because it’s a chance to explore the place you are going to call home for the next year. Furthermore it gives you a feeling of freedom and the other side of the isle doesn’t seem to be that far away. But I don’t know whether it makes sense to hand the ticket to the volunteers during the first months, I mean it’s difficult enough to arrive mentaly and to get familiar with the ‘neighborhood’, but I’m not aware of the terms“.
And, Which others iniciatuves like that would be useful for volunteers?
RAUL (Spain): “I think that a huge help for the volunteers would be something related to meet more local people, there are many coffees that can offer Intercultural Days to unite the local people with EVS voluteers and other programs such as Erasmus. That would be really helpfull“.
FREDA (Germany): “In my opinion it would be helpful for volunteers if also other organizations would know more about EVS as an European Program and help the volunteers in getting to know the island and culture of Cyprus. Most of the volunteers come to Cyprus in order to experience a totally different lifestyle. For this it would be helpful if local organizations or businesses would be willing to show the volunteers something about the island and culture they are living in”.
JOAO (Portugal): “If the bus companies that travel in the villages also wore in the program the volunteers could see the villages and understand the more about the deep culture of Cyprus”.
JORIN (Germany): “Maybe a ticket for Nicosia itself and an introduction in the leisure facilities of the city. It’s hard to comment on that because I just arrived 3 weeks ago”.
Nauzet said: “We hope that gradually join other organizations or companies to “Volunteering Train”, as did Intercity Buses. It is a fact that a volunteer is not a tourist, but someone who dedicates time and effort, hosted by local organizations usually for periods of around 12 months. One of our main motivations is to know in depth the Cypriot culture and this wonderful island, its beaches, its people, its history …”
This initiative truly brings us closer to the island’s culture. Free bus travel is a highly valued advantage for all the volunteers, that gives us the opportunity to go across the island. In Cyprus, where having a motor vehicle is absolutely necessary … we have no car, but we have “Intercity Bus”.