Krista Im, a senior pursuing a degree in International Studies and Geography, studied abroad through the Sustainability in Cyprus program during May 2023.
Spending a month along the Mediterranean Sea granted many great adventures. From trekking the Troodos Mountains, to eating dinner along the UN Buffer Zone and endless karaoke nights, the beautiful island of Cyprus treated us Buckeyes very well. One thing I loved about the experience was how intertwined our class content was with our everyday activities. We studied in the mornings after breakfast filled with the freshest fruits and veggies. Outside of our time in the university, we were able to walk alongside the very concepts we learned in class, whether it was on a field trip or searching for the night’s dinner. Otherwise, my roommates and the people I have met, including Professor Constantinou, were a pleasant surprise. I have made some lifelong memories with my new friends.
My favorite moment of the trip was our weekend-long visit to Nicosia. The capital of the beautiful island is at the crossroads of historical preservation and a bustling urban life. First, we visited the European Union House. Through a detailed Q&A session, we learned all about the inner workings of the EU and how their economic objectives are tied to sustainability in Cyprus. It was quite memorable, as my classmates majored in subjects outside of the ones we discussed yet everyone was active in the discourse. Afterwards, we ate a meze style lunch. The sheftalia and kebabs were the absolute best. Soon to follow was our visit to the Archbishop’s Palace. With a personal tour, our group was able to preview the museum on the palace grounds months before it would open to the public. I loved our museum experiences. I got to learn how artifacts were preserved and returned to their rightful owners in real time. The next day, we ate dinner along the Green Line. I ate lamb kleftiko, a native Cypriot dish, that easily became my favorite meal of the whole trip. Our free time in between our museum visits were filled with shopping, petting stray cats and indulging in some gelato. Going to Nicosia was refreshing as we got to experience a city outside of our everyday routine in Paphos.
Despite being an International Studies major, I am not well traveled. With this program, I was able to experience what it was like to travel by yourself and with a group of people similar in age. Going abroad made my undergrad experience feel complete as I got to meet new people and refresh my daily routine. While being abroad, we were busy traveling and studying. I learned how to take care of myself and adjust to a new home for a month.
I had the misfortune of arriving a day later than the rest of the group. I was quite impressed with myself because traveling across the island alone on my first day abroad could’ve been extremely stressful. I managed to meet up with my classmates with ease and decided that the rest of the trip could run just as smoothly. I found myself to be quite relaxed throughout the whole trip. I lost my phone in the last week and being unplugged contributed to my newly found peace. I got to experience a world that is so rich in culture and pride in its history. Having never traveled to Europe, I also learned how interconnected the EU was within the region and to other regions of the world.