Photo above and feature photo by glen bowman

Even after my return from a semester in Cyprus, my friends still ask me how Greece was.

“Cyprus,” I correct them.

Spending four months on a tiny and obscure island in the middle of the Mediterranean wasn’t anything I expected it to be — but it was still the best. Experience. Ever.

Here are seven reasons I recommend studying abroad in Cyprus.

Photo by greenacre8

1. Nobody really knows where or what it is.

How many people do you know who have studied in Madrid? Beijing? London?

Then ask yourself how many people you know who have studied in Cyprus. Probably none, right? It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience — you’ll have stories to tell for life.

2. The price of living in Cyprus is incredibly reasonable.

Unless you’re heading to fine dining and scuba diving lessons on the regular — which you totally can do in Cyprus! — you’ll spend a lot less than you would have spent studying in a major European city.

It’s easy to eat cheaply, taxis charge fairly, and once you start getting to know the locals you’ll barely pay a dime for the nightlife.

You literally have the world at your fingertips.

Europe’s to the west, Asia’s to the east, and Africa’s to the south. During my time abroad, I traveled to all three continents — a trip to Israel, a trip to Egypt, and a trip through Europe during my spring break.

Others in my program took individual trips to everywhere from Turkey to Malta. Even though we often booked flights last minute, they by no means broke the bank.

Photo by aiace

3. You’ll get to experience more of one country than you could anywhere else.

Because Cyprus is so small (seriously, check it out on a map — you may have to squint), not only will you be able to experience all the touristy things, you’ll become very familiar with your surroundings and get to know the locals quickly.

After a semester in Cyprus, it’ll really start to feel like your home away from home.

4. The weather is gorgeous year-round.

I’m a California native and certified weather wimp; European winters would not have been my thing. Cyprus didn’t dip below 55 at any point during my stay, which suited me perfectly.

My east coast friends were practically crying with joy because they could work on their tans in February.

Photo by aiace

5. There’s a reason Cyprus is a vacation destination.

It’s home to some amazing beaches, and there’s something magical about that Mediterranean water. Ocean swimming, jet-skiing, banana boating, cliff diving – there are lots of ways to play in the sea.

(I spent so many weekends on the beach that back home they now call me “The Bronze Goddess.” With Capital Letters.)

6. Cypriots know how to party.

It’s safe to say that they inherited the celebratory nature of the Greeks. That’s right — Cypriots hit the club on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Not that there’s any shortage of people at the bars on Monday and Tuesday.

If you happen to go abroad during the summer, just imagine your first semester of college all over again… with Greek music, beautiful people, and large bodies of water.

Photo by greenacre8

7. You’ll meet people from all over the world.

I had professors from France, Egypt, and England as well as classmates from literally everywhere.

My Facebook friends list became remarkably multicultural this past semester, and should I ever find myself in Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, or Syria, I now allegedly have a place to stay!

Interested in studying abroad in Cyprus? Here’s a comprehensive list of programs that are offered. If you’re primarily looking to brush up on your Greek or Turkish, try spending a summer studying at the language school in Limassol.

The most popular program for American students is with Global Learning Semesters, which offers studies at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus with the option of additional multi-country travel throughout Europe or Asia.

Community Connection

Matador community member Denise has lived in Cyprus for about 3 years. Member SierraKiloEcho is currently traveling in Cyprus, Turkey and France.

Connect with them and the author of this article – Teresa Wu – through the Matador travel community.