The island of Cyprus is well known to many as a holiday destination, with over 1.1 million British nationals visiting the country every year. Known for its sandy beaches, historical sights and beautiful scenery, the Mediterranean island has a huge amount of appeal for people seeking a relaxing break.
Cyprus was a British Colony until 1960 when it was declared independent but strong links still exist between the two countries.
The UK in general is a popular destination for Cypriot students, and since the country gained membership to the EU in 2004, the number applying to higher education institutions in the UK has increased dramatically.
There are currently 200 Cypriot students studying at the University of Wolverhampton, and the International Centre is keen to take advantage of this emerging market for student recruitment.
The University launched its new regional office in Cyprus earlier this year to provide information and advice for potential students from the region. The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) is centrally located in Nicosia, which is the capital and largest city on the island. This provides a great opportunity to expand and strengthen links within Cyprus and the surrounding area.
The new office has two members of staff, Anthie Panayidou and Tina Theophanous, who offer advice and support on a range of subjects such as courses, bursaries and scholarships.
Their role is to provide prospective students and their families with any help they need to make the transition to education in the UK as smooth as possible.
And Wolverhampton is certainly a popular destination for Cypriot students. According to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the University of Wolverhampton was 3rd in the top 30 universities for the number of Cypriot students recruited in 2008/09.
Jo Gittens, Director, International, attended the opening of the new office, along with Jane Nelson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Affairs and Dr Bryony Conway, Dean of the School of Art and Design. Jo says the University is keen to build on the success of other regional offices.
“We are delighted to have opened our new regional office in Cyprus, which is an important market for us,” Jo explains.
“We hope that the office will enable us to build on our success in Cyprus and reach out to International students in the Eastern Mediterranean region by raising awareness of the range of courses we offer students, including at postgraduate level.
“We already have regional offices in China, India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Poland that offer a valuable service to our international students and their families. This new presence in Cyprus is the latest exciting step in our international development agenda.”
Despite a Government cap on undergraduate EU recruitment for 2010/11, the University still hopes to attract highly motivated, good quality Cypriot students.
As this cap does not apply to postgraduate studies, the University is aiming to grow this activity with the assistance of the new regional office staff.
Links between the University and the island also include student and staff exchanges. The Erasmus scheme enables students to study in a European country, usually in the second or third year of their time at university. Wolverhampton currently has links with the University of Nicosia through the Erasmus programme and is keen to expand its interests in Cyprus.
The next phase of development is to deliver University of Wolverhampton programmes in Cyprus itself and talks are currently taking place with potential partners.
Education and qualifications from the UK are held in high esteem and a degree from a British higher education institution is deemed to provide better prospects for employment in Cyprus.
There has been a steady increase for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK with the highest population of Cypriot undergraduate students enrolling in the subjects of business studies, law, engineering and technology, and computer science.
The island is close to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt which have also been identified by the University’s International Centre as potential areas to develop student recruitment.
With the new academic term just weeks away, staff in the International Centre will already be preparing to welcome a host of new students travelling from a range of countries to study in Wolverhampton. In the run-up to this busy and exciting time of year, the new Cyprus office will be a useful source of information and support for those making the move.
For more information: visit www.wlv.ac.uk/international