Home Features   “My Cyprus experience, why excess freedom not good for students ”

  “My Cyprus experience, why excess freedom not good for students ”

by Church Times

He had a stint at Covenant University, Nigeria before he traveled to Cyprus to attend Eastern Mediterranean University, where he studied Business Administration. He came out with a first class in Business Administration.

 But going to study abroad for Seun Awe was like going to the battlefront with a determination to win the battle. He did not have any illusion that it would be easy.

 “When I left Nigeria and was to move to Cyprus, I had this determination and resolve not to disappoint myself, my parents, and those around me. I think that was the number one factor that helped me to excel,” he said.


 He however later discovered that freedom has grave consequences when he got to Cyprus. And he needed to apply self-discipline if he was to excel. “The first thing I discovered was that there was too much freedom at my disposal. I knew if I was not careful and focused, I would derail.

 “Nobody was breathing on my neck, nobody was going to force me to read and nobody was going to monitor me. So, I was left in my own world. But my orientation back in Nigeria helped me. That made me stay focused.”

 He said he could not afford to take chances. “The first three months I was reading as if my whole world depended on books. I did not make friends and I did not get involved in any other activities apart from church and my studies.


 “But when the first-semester result came out and I saw my result, I relaxed a bit. That boosted my morale and gave me more confidence that I could get to the top. But that did not make me lose my guard. I kept on working hard.”

 Awe who works as Product Manager at Revent Technologies, an Information Technology company based in Lekki, Lagos recalled there were many African students who got carried away with the latitude they had. “This in turn affected their academic performance.”

 According to him, the temptations in Cyprus are strong and real. “There were pubs everywhere and nobody was there to stop you from attending. You are on your own. Your success will depend on your ability to curtail your appetite for the wrong thing.” he said.

Seun Awe


 He noted that Cyprus has a reputation for investing in education.  “Education, Tourism, and real estate from my observation are the tripartite niches of Cyprus. There are so many schools in the country.

 “And many of the schools are populated by foreign students mostly from Africa and other countries in Asia. Education is more like a foreign exchange earner for the country. They prioritize education above any other thing.”

 About 40 percent of the students in his department according to him, were Africans. He noted that the school is about the best in Northern Cyprus, “that is why many foreign students prefer it. But it is relatively expensive.” he said.

 While noting that he did not have any major challenge while in the school, he said, “Compared to our educational system in Nigeria, I think we need to embrace more flexible options to accommodate different learning needs. This is important. It takes a bit of skill to be able to identify the potential of students and encourage them to develop in line with their potential. That is the cutting edge in some foreign universities.”

 “Some of our curricula are too rigid. Many are not in sync with global realities. That is why I believe our teachers should also be given more training so they could be abreast with modern practices.”

 EMU Campus

 Life on the EMU campus according to Awe was a mixed bag of experience. “ Before I left Nigeria for Cyprus I knew I was going to a different environment. I discovered that the student-lecturer relationship was fairly better compared to Nigeria.

 “But the real difference for me was the environment which afforded me the opportunity to learn better. I also discovered that there were many Africans, especially Nigerians in the school that are lecturers. Many of them were assistant lecturers. But before I left about two years ago, they were beginning to get their Ph.D. which will afford them better lecturing opportunities ”

 Though it’s a Moslem-dominated country, Awe noted there are many churches in Cyprus. “There is perhaps no Nigerian church that you won’t find in Cyprus. There is a chapel in the school for all Christians . But every other denomination you can think of is outside the campus.”

Students and crime

 Because of the freedom on campus many of the students especially blacks go to crime. “I saw people who go to church and still go to clubhouses. The temptation is much. It only takes the grace of God not to be carried away.

 “There were some students who were also into internet fraud known as Yahoo Yahoo. That is the downside of the freedom I was talking about. Many come to flaunt their wealth on campus and thereby put pressure on some other students who are barely surviving.”

 For Nigerians who may be thinking of going to study in Cyprus, he counsels, “I think it’s a peaceful place and a great place to learn. But they must make up their minds they want to go and learn and resist the temptation of clubbing. In Cyprus, you can move around by 3 am and you can be sure you won’t get hurt. There is hardly any security threat. It is largely safe. But as I said, the temptation to do bad things is high.”

 God factor

He said further, “In my case, I was able to psyche myself that I would excel. And that is what happened. I believed that God can do it for me if I put in the hard work. I held unto God very well. I needed to take my relationship with God seriously so I could get direction.”

 Awe believes it’s also good to be busy with the right thing. “I love music and that is like a hobby for me. But I quickly joined a church which I believed was a safe place for me to express the music talent in me.”

 Having the right kinds of friends according to him is also important. “I did not have many friends. The few friends I had were people that were focused. That really helped.”

 Work and study

 He noted that it is not always easy to combine work with study in Cyprus. “It is usually advisable to be sure of your financial base before venturing to study in the country.

“I must thank God for my parents who sacrificed to ensure my school fees were paid as at when due. But many students have issues because they could not meet up with the school fees which was on the high side. Some who suspend their academics for work may soon discover that the kinds of jobs they get may not  provide enough buffer for them.”

He noted also that there is subtle discrimination against Africans in terms of the kind of work available. “From my findings, it is not a place for an African to want to grow a career. They would normally give preference to their own people when it comes to choice appointments. The economy is not that fantastic. So working to pay your school fees may be quite taxing.

 Bible sites in Cyprus

 Awe noted also that there are many Bible sites in the country which makes it an ancient Christian settlement before Islam invaded the place. They have massive cathedrals and remarkable places linked to where Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel.  Find a link to more on that: https://todayscatholic.org/cyprus-has-christian-sites-pertaining-to-paul-and-barnabas/

 Find below another article Culled from https://www.gotquestions.org/Cyprus-in-the-Bible.html that gives a detailed description of Cyprus and its Bible heritage

 Cyprus is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea approximately 60 miles west of Syria and 50 miles south of Turkey. Cyprus is about 148 miles long and 40 miles wide. It was given the name Kypros (“Land of the Cypress Trees”) by the Greeks. In ancient times, Cyprus was known for its active commerce, producing corn, oil, wine, timber, and minerals, which were shipped to distant ports.

Cyprus (also called Kittim) is mentioned in Numbers 24:24 as a part of Balaam’s prophecy to Balak. The people of Cyprus would invade someday, afflicting Assyria and Israel, but they would ultimately fail.

New Testament

In the New Testament, Cyprus is noted as being the home of Barnabas (Acts 4:36). Cyprus was also the home of Mnason, who was most likely one of the first converts at Pentecost (Acts 2:4121:16). After the martyrdom of Stephen, many Christians scattered from Jerusalem, and some “traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews” (Acts 11:19). Then some of the believers from Cyprus went to Antioch in Syria and began to evangelize the Greeks there, “telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus” (verse 20). The Lord blessed their efforts, and “a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” (verse 21).

It was to the island of Cyprus that Paul took his first missionary journey with Barnabas and John Mark (Acts 13:4–13). They sailed from Syria to Salamis on the east end of Cyprus, where they preached in the synagogue. The missionaries then traveled west, crossing the island, but they apparently did not see much fruit from their labors. When they arrived at the city of Paphos in the southwest, the island’s Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, summoned Paul and his companions and listened to their message. Unfortunately, the proconsul’s associate, Elymas, was a sorcerer who contradicted the gospel and tried to keep Sergius Paulus from converting. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Paul caused Elymas to go blind, and Sergius Paulus exercised faith in Christ (Acts 13:4–12).

John Mark

After sailing from Cyprus, John Mark abandoned the team, but Paul and Barnabas continued their pioneering missionary work in Asia Minor. Later, Barnabas returned to Cyprus, taking Mark with him for more evangelistic work in his native land (Acts 15:38–39). As far as we know, Paul never visited Cyprus again.

Referring to Cyprus may have been one way those in the first century gave directions, similar to our saying, “Go two miles past the big red barn.” Luke mentions Cyprus twice as a place Paul passed while traveling to somewhere else (Acts 21:327:4). The island’s central location and busy ports would have been familiar to the original readers of Acts.


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