CYPRUS DIARY – 3 April to 9 April 2022
Sunday, 3 April 2022
After a van escort to our hotel accommodation in the town of Paralimni, on Cyprus, we were welcomed by a team of energetic Cypriot teachers. A team of students and teachers from Greece had already arrived and met us in the hotel lobby. The French team would join us on the next day.
Monday, 4 April 2022
To begin our program, we bussed to Paralimni Lyceum school for a welcome presentation by the ERASMUS teams. We were welcomed warmly by both ERASMUS students and teachers and the regular students and staff, who were eager to meet our students. In the afternoon, students got to know one another on an historical sites’ bus tour and during presentations about the island’s occupation. Our hosts emphasized on the full-day tour the importance of a unified Cyprus, and German students shared reflections about former divided Germany. Our students drove to the border of Famagusta, witnessing where the United Nations Peacekeeping Force was stationed to prevent fighting between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities. The bus trip also highlighted Cyprus’ natural beauty and coasts, ending with a walking tour of the Protaras beaches to a delicious grilled lunch.
Tuesday, 5 April 2022
This morning started earlier, because we needed to drive to another part of the island: Lefkara and Larnaca. There we would get to know the old city’s famous embroidery and silver jewelry-making. But first, to deepen students’ connections to one another’s schools, all ERASMUS team students presented in the auditorium PowerPoint presentations about their countries and views on what Europe means to them. Students then had the opportunity to explore the embroidery city with their new friends, and teachers exchanged school experiences over coffee. After a day-long tour, we drove back to Ayia Napa to dine together.
Wednesday, 6 April 2022
Another early day. The ERASMUS teams visited the Tomb of Makedonitisssa, a military and war memorial from 1974. From our view of the past, our hosts took us to the House of Representatives – a look into the future! Our students also met the President of Cyprus’ House of Representatives and engaged her about European policy to immigrants and refugees, as well as the role young people in shaping the European continent. Each evening, the Cypriot hosts showed students traditional foods.
Thursday, 7 April 2022
Our final all-teams day was dedicated to school exchange, team building, and the connective Cypriot culture. The Cypriot students led us in whole-group competitions, traditional games, and taught us various immersive traditional group dances. To emphasize the dynamic international cultural exchange on the island, our hosts took us later to explore the Ayia Napa Sculpture Park, where we were invited to “leave our mark.” The park’s creator invited students and teachers to plant shrubs and small tress, to diversify the park. On the final evening, our hosts treated us to a seafood dinner and live traditional music and dance. Students were presented with certificates of participation, and joined their hosts in the dances they learned from the school dance lessons.
Friday, 8 April 2022
Friday was a “light” day, because our cooperation partners from France and Greece had to leave. Students had the chance to mingle on the beaches outside of our hotel, and teachers met once more to reflect on the week. By mid-afternoon, our partners had gone, but our hosts partnered with our students to give them small evening city tours. In the evening, students went with the Cypriot students to the carnival in our neighborhood. Early bedtime, because our team leaves Saturday!
Saturday, 9 April 2022
The last day gave our students the opportunity to connect more with our host students. We met on the beaches of Ayia Napa, where students played beach games and the teachers discussed plans for future cooperation. Before leaving, our hosts gifted us with items to remind us of a wonderful time. But the time on the island itself was a gift. We were happy to have spent time on the island with their students and to get to know Cypriots’ openness and guest-friendliness. Our students cried when we had to leave, and the Cypriots left a strong impression on our team of teachers as well. We wish to be as good of hosts as you!