Komorebi Post– The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has more twenty universities and is part of an initiative by the Turkish government to establish an economy based on education in the island. After all, it’s quite hard to establish any meaningful economy on the island. The population is very low, the cities are far apart, and the most populated cities have a population of approximately 500,000 people. The economy is mostly agrarian, but the Turkish government is looking to change that with bringing in even more international students into the island in the next few years.
Currently, most of the revenue generated by the government of Northern Cyprus is based off taxes paid by international students. Locals can benefit from the rise in international students as well. While dormitories are offered by universities, a lot of students (myself included) prefer to live in apartments off-campus. Apartments leased are all owned by locals and for places near universities, the prices can be quite competitive. And the best part is, everyone’s willing to pay for it because having an apartment is much better than following to the no drinking/ no smoking policy and curfew that almost all dorms have. It’s even cheaper than living than on-campus so locals have a lot to gain from students to room off-campus.
But that’s not all. Because of the rise in international students, there’s been an increase in entertainment on the island as well. Clubs, restaurants and shopping districts have opened up in order to cater to our needs. You’ll find middle eastern restaurants, burger joints and more in Northern Cyprus in addition to Turkish and Cypriot cuisines. People generally like to think that Northern Cyprus hasn’t got much to offer but they’ve managed to attract major fashion brands like Victoria’s Secret, Mango, Nike, Adidas and more. In fact, the town I live has a population of around 20,000 people and we’ve got two Adidas stores, a Burger King joint (we call it Burger City here for some reason) and a cinema. Which doesn’t make sense since most of the locals are farmers or just own stores but the increase in student population has given rise to a lot of new restaurants in our area.
The rise of education in Northern Cyprus is changing the country for the better. As the Turkish Cypriot government likes to boost, there hasn’t been a rise in crime either. Turkish Cyprus is safe. The crime rate is close to zero, and you can hitchhike to places without fearing for your life. I’ve hitchhiked from Güzelyurt to my university, and even as far as Girne (also called Kyrenia) and Famagusta (or Magusa if you will).
But what kind of education does Northern Cyprus offer?
Almost every university in Northern Cyprus offers engineering and humanities. You have engineering- centric universities like the METU NCC, short for Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus, and EMU, Eastern Mediterranean University. EMU also has very good humanities programs offered. Other universities such Cyprus International University offer courses related to health and medicine as well.
Almost all universities are accredited by the Turkish education ministry and other international education authorities, making it a very attractive place for students. For middle eastern and Asian students, Northern Cyprus is a very good place to study because many universities like EMU and METU have great reputation. The same goes for a lot of Cypriot universities offering health courses. In most Asian countries, studying medicine and such things can be very difficult due to the unnecessary amount of stress put on students and the financial obstacles.
There are fewer Westerners in Northern Cyprus and even Cyprus as a whole. Because of this, you will find a lot more Easter Europeans, Central Asians and Africans. As mentioned, there are many middle easterners and that helps to create a very diverse environment and opens conversation. My world view has changed significantly since coming to this place and it’s because of the influx of ideas that I’ve been exposed to.