Anthoula, or Anthi, is a Cypriot girl of twenty-two. Lives in Nicosia, studying psychology and will complete her bachelor in June.
Two years ago, she participated in the Erasmus program, and Granada was her destination. As she says: “Granada is famous worldwide and here in Cyprus, all students want to go there. I have always heard that it’s the best”.
Nauzet.- ¿Why Spain?
Anthi.- Because I wanted to learn Spanish. That’s the main reason. I also wanted to visit the country because I had heard that our cultures are very similar, Mediterranean style, and even physically, especially with people from the south of the peninsula. Moreover, I chose Granada because I have a friend who went there, as Erasmus, and she told me wonders about the city and its people. She explained that the student environment is spectacular, many Erasmus everywhere, the beauty of the city, and the kindness that you breathe in its streets.
Nauzet.- Why did you decide to participate in the Erasmus program? Was it easy to be accepted?
Anthi. I wanted to participate in the Erasmus program for many reasons: I really wanted to live alone, independence from my parents at least for a while, enjoy new experiences, meet people, grow personally,… Cyprus is quite small, it is as a big village, where everyone knows what you do, when you do and how you do it. Having the opportunity to be away from it and live my own experiences is something that even changed my character.
¿If it was easy to be accepted? The truth is that not, because there was no agreement between the faculties of Psychology and I had to create it. There was an agreement between the universities but not between the faculties. So I started to sending mails and to calling by phone because I was determined to go. At first, did not reply to my emails and it appeared that they had no interest in creating the agreement, but it turned out that they had not received. When I finally got to talk to the Head of International Relations, everything started to walk very fast, there were no problems with the validation of subjects and in a few weeks we created this new agreement between the University of Granada and the University of Cyprus. This has facilitated that, henceforth, psychology Cypriot students can perform Erasmus, in such a beautiful and interesting city.
The only complaint about the University of Granada, is that they have no program to integrate Erasmus. Almost no one spoke Spanish and classes do not give you the opportunity to present something in English. Not to mention that it was impossible to follow the subjects of psychology without knowing any Spanish. So at first I was a bit harsh.
Nauzet.- Would you like to be European volunteer (EVS)?
Anthi. The truth is yes. I am planning on going next year, I have decided not to take a Masters and participate in EVS, It can provide me practical work experience related to the world of psychology. Unlike Erasmus, which is more related to teaching, EVS is much closer to professional experience, especially if I could do it in a center where I could work as a psychologist. Here in Cyprus, is very difficult to find a place for practice.
Nauzet.- EVS, is it well known in Cyprus?
Anthi. Currently no, but is becoming more popular. Many young people who perhaps can not pay a master degree, begin to considering EVS as a great alternative because of let you go abroad, gain experience … I think it will gain much importance in the coming years. And people begin to know the experiences of others who have already participated and with here “mouth to mouth” is very important, so I think in a few years everyone will want to participate in the EVS program.
Nauzet.- What do you think about the future in Cyprus, the crisis, youth unemployment, …?
Anthi. Not looking too good, is very complicated to find work, but depends on the field where you look.
It still seems possible for lawyers, economists, logistical issues,… but not for long. There are other fields in which it is impossible such as teachers, engineers,…
But not everything is negative, the Ministry of Economy has created a program related to work placement. The salary is about 600 euros, financed by the government, full time job. They also control that people really are learning and working, not making coffees and photocopies. With programs like this, I think the situation will improve quickly, the government is afraid of a massive emigration of youth population, to countries with healthy economy, like Canada, Australia, England, …The government prefers that people stay in Cyprus for the economy rebounds and avoid economic paralysis.I think they will find solutions!
The last answer, it left me stunned. Just that morning I had read a news of about a Spanish who had received the award as Best Young European Physical, Daniel Martinez. This day, when received the award, he also receive a very bad news, he had applied for a job in Spain, specific for research physicists, “The Ramón y Cajal” … request denied! The same day he had received the award at European level, it is the life! Or it is Spain!
Here, it seems that government and population begin to find solutions to a crisis that began two months ago. In Spain, I can not remember when it started … but more than a crisis in Spain… there is a circus.