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MY EXPECTATION AND MY REALITY STUDYING IN CYPRUS (EPISODE 2 RELOADED) – IFEOMA ONUIKE, DIASPORA CONNECT

The Story Continues…

In my first episode I talked about my experience on reaching the airport in Cyprus, and how confused I was with the airport officers who spoke to themselves in a language I could not comprehend, and my fear on whether I would be deported.

Just in case you haven’t read the episode one, you may not really understand the story except you read the first episode here.

As I continue, finally, the officer in charge of collecting the passport and placing a stamp on it as permit to enter the country told me to go inside a room. I sat down with so many thoughts on my mind, I have watched movie(s) where airport officials ask a traveller to go inside a room, and most outcomes were, either the person will be searched or questioned by immigration officers, which means there was a problem.

While waiting, another African guy joined me in the room, at this point, I became relaxed, at least we were two. I tried to esquire from him why we were asked to wait inside the room, while others were allowed to pass. He replied that it was also his first time of travelling too, he has no idea.

Shortly afterwards, two airport officials, a female and a male came with forms in their hands and asked us to fill. I read through the form, it was a questionnaire; I inquire from the officials the reasons why we are to fill the form. They replied that we travelled from Nigeria were there was an Ebola outbreak, so they needed the information to know our health statues. After filling the forms, we were allowed to pick our luggage and pass.

Outside the airport, I saw some taxis and school buses waiting to pick up new students, I located the bus for my school and boarded. My friend already advised me not to pick a taxi due to the price. The weather was cold; the follow-up student in charge of picking new students offered us a cup of tea. At this point, I was not the only student; there were six other students in the bus going to the same school. The driver waited for another 2hours before leaving. I never knew why he waited that long, but I think it was the school policy.

 

While in the bus, I became relaxed, forgetting the ordeal that occurred at the airport. I became thrilled and excited, am finally here in Cyprus.  It was mid night and dusk, Yet, I was anxious to see the beautiful lights and buildings. So, I stretched my neck high; but wasn’t able to see a thing. One of the follow-up students told me not to worry, that I will view the city at dawn. I was so eager to get a glimpse, but after fruitless efforts to see the city I resolved to wait. I rang it as a bell to the driver, “I will alight at Colony Hotel Not School”, because my friend told me school dormitories were expensive, it’s preferably I live off dormitory.

Finally, we got to Colony hotel, my friend was already waiting to pick me up and show me the accommodation prepared for me. On our way to the house, he told me how in just two days he spent much money on property agents in a bid to secure the accommodation.

After settling in, I met some new acquaintances who gave me gist of happenings on the Island. They talked about exchange rate and how to spend wisely, how Nigerians dupe people including their fellow Nigerians, how some ladies were into prostitution, how some guys were into fraudulent activity and all manner of gossips. I finally rested at about 6:30am in the morning, this happened in 24th September 2014.

The next day was Monday, my friend and I boarded the school bus to go for registration. On alighting from the bus, I gave him money to pay for our fare. He refused collecting the money and laughed. I was suppressed at his attitude, after some moment of teasing me; he finally explained that the bus was provided free for students, it was included in the tuition fees. I joined him in laughing, I recalled the saying; “Johnny Just Come” and gave thanks to God for saving me some extra cash.

Within a week of my stay in the Island, I got a job which I did for just one week and stopped. I know you probably will ask why I stopped. Ah…. it was so stressful, I had waist pain, muscles pain, after each day from work. This made me go straight to bed whenever I returned home. It was not the kind of job I wanted, so I had to quit.

After my registration, I was set for class and very excitement to meet my new environment and colleagues especially students of other Nationalities. In my findings about the school, I discovered it comprises of about 20 Countries, wow isn’t that awesome?

Some students who were already in the school system most especially Nigerians advised me about student’s lifestyle in the school.  I listened to some, and ignored others which were not relevant. Ironically, a student in particular who advised me not to live a couple’s life here, he told me guys cannot be trusted, and that the island was a small place where everyone will hear your story in minutes. The same fellow was rather doing the same. This was so disappointing, I had to resolve in my heart to do my best and make my parents and me proud.

To achieve this, wasn’t, easy, I had to cut off some friends and became closer to God.

Although I had always been a church girl back in my country Nigeria; my Faith grew stronger as it was tested in different ways. I became involved with church activities in the student fellowship. I tried to keep to my mother’s advice; “in all you do never let go of God”.

In 2015, i was appointed the Ex. Officio of National Association of Nigerian Student Turkish Zone. Serving in that capacity directly under the president, I was able to access African students and the issues and challenges they face on the Island. I became part of the committee that hosted the first ever Nigeria Independent celebration. In all my struggle for the better living of Nigerian Students I remember the words of a lecturer from Nigeria ‘when you are fighting for students remember yourself, create the balance so you don’t end up having your academics suffer, while the students leave the school happy’.

I would like to drop my pen at this point on this episode, by God’s grace, I would throw more lights on some of my other achievements and the challenges I encountered in my next episode on “My Expectation and my Reality Studying in Cyprus Episode 3.”

Thank you for taking your time to read, feel free to ask any question in relation to travelling and surviving abroad, I would gladly answer, don’t forget to share to others.

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