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Dear all,

I have been living with my Cypriot girlfriend for 2 years here in the UK. However, she has recently decided she needs to move back to Cyprus (her home is in Nicosia) to be closer to her family, and I have to consider moving over there. But can anyone help me to decide if it is really possible for me to do so?

I have visited Cyprus with her on 3 occasions, and have met most of her family (parents, brothers, sister, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, the lot) - and they have all been really good to me - even though I can only speak very basic words of Greek :p Her immediate family have even come over to stay with us in England for brief holidays. So I have no worries with family relations. We have traveled all over the country during our trips (Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Troodos, Kakopetria...), and I must say that I loved every place we went to.

My biggest concern, however is finding a job. I am 27 years old and currently doing a Ph.D. in Computer Forensics. I am due to finish at the end of June (so a move in July is most likely). I have been in education all my life (Bachelor's, Masters, Ph.D. degrees), so I do not have any work experience - something which I know will cause problems for me, even in the UK. So what are the chances that I can find work in Cyprus? As mentioned, I do not know Greek (although I am sure I will pick it up quickly from the family), but will this cause any issues getting a job? Obviously, I would find it near impossible to get a job in Computer Forensics, but could I use my Ph.D. to get a teaching/research job at a University? Again, would I need to speak Greek first? How about at an English-speaking University?

I hope someone is able to give me some advice, as I am worried that as much as I want to move to Cyprus, it may not be feasible...
 

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Dear all,

I have been living with my Cypriot girlfriend for 2 years here in the UK. However, she has recently decided she needs to move back to Cyprus (her home is in Nicosia) to be closer to her family, and I have to consider moving over there. But can anyone help me to decide if it is really possible for me to do so?

I have visited Cyprus with her on 3 occasions, and have met most of her family (parents, brothers, sister, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, the lot) - and they have all been really good to me - even though I can only speak very basic words of Greek :p Her immediate family have even come over to stay with us in England for brief holidays. So I have no worries with family relations. We have traveled all over the country during our trips (Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Troodos, Kakopetria...), and I must say that I loved every place we went to.

My biggest concern, however is finding a job. I am 27 years old and currently doing a Ph.D. in Computer Forensics. I am due to finish at the end of June (so a move in July is most likely). I have been in education all my life (Bachelor's, Masters, Ph.D. degrees), so I do not have any work experience - something which I know will cause problems for me, even in the UK. So what are the chances that I can find work in Cyprus? As mentioned, I do not know Greek (although I am sure I will pick it up quickly from the family), but will this cause any issues getting a job? Obviously, I would find it near impossible to get a job in Computer Forensics, but could I use my Ph.D. to get a teaching/research job at a University? Again, would I need to speak Greek first? How about at an English-speaking University?

I hope someone is able to give me some advice, as I am worried that as much as I want to move to Cyprus, it may not be feasible...
A move to Cyprus would very probably put an end to any academic aspirations that you may have held. On paper things look quite promising – major investments in research for example through the setting up of the Cyprus Institute in 2003, expansion of the University Sector, and the latest news being the establishment of a UK University campus in Larnaca. But the reality is, I’m afraid, rather more disappointing. The state sector is a closed shop, the private sector is run on a largely US model - robust research in the private sector is almost non-existent. All wings of the much lauded Cyprus Institute are pretty much (in my opinion) a scam – funded by the tax payers and in 7 years only managing to pull in 3 million of research funds and attract 10 out of the 2500 students in the business plan for a taxpayer investment of almost 30 million – latest media reports suggest that the whole organization is riddled with cronyism, nepotism and represents an unnecessary burden on the tax-payer.
You’d have to be flexible and lower expectations to survive – with the understanding that you may find an academic way of life difficult to follow or develop here. A lot would depend on family connections. I arrived on the island under similar circumstances to your own 7 years ago – I had bachelor, masters and PhD and 15 years of experience as a senior academic in the UK. I ended up teaching English (not my subject) in an afternoon institute and knew of many others in a similar boat. But I had had my academic career and was willing to compromise. Here it is very much the case of not what you know but who you know. Through family connections I now have a rewarding job here related to academia, but am out of my field and far removed from research. I recently wrote a letter of recommendation for a PhD Forensic IT specialist who had found Cyprus to be totally closed to his specialism – he returned to the UK after 18months of frustration.
Cyprus is teetering on the edge of meltdown regarding the current financial crisis and also seems to be heading for pariah status regarding its foreign policy and almost slavish following of Greek administration. Austerity measures are being played out, but lack of innovation and flexibility within the State sector is set to send Cyprus down the same path as Greece – unemployment is rising, opportunities are waning and I think the last place a couple with academic and research prospects should be heading is here. Sorry to be the bearer of unwelcome advice…
 

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A move to Cyprus would very probably put an end to any academic aspirations that you may have held. On paper things look quite promising – major investments in research for example through the setting up of the Cyprus Institute in 2003, expansion of the University Sector, and the latest news being the establishment of a UK University campus in Larnaca. But the reality is, I’m afraid, rather more disappointing. The state sector is a closed shop, the private sector is run on a largely US model - robust research in the private sector is almost non-existent. All wings of the much lauded Cyprus Institute are pretty much (in my opinion) a scam – funded by the tax payers and in 7 years only managing to pull in 3 million of research funds and attract 10 out of the 2500 students in the business plan for a taxpayer investment of almost 30 million – latest media reports suggest that the whole organization is riddled with cronyism, nepotism and represents an unnecessary burden on the tax-payer.
You’d have to be flexible and lower expectations to survive – with the understanding that you may find an academic way of life difficult to follow or develop here. A lot would depend on family connections. I arrived on the island under similar circumstances to your own 7 years ago – I had bachelor, masters and PhD and 15 years of experience as a senior academic in the UK. I ended up teaching English (not my subject) in an afternoon institute and knew of many others in a similar boat. But I had had my academic career and was willing to compromise. Here it is very much the case of not what you know but who you know. Through family connections I now have a rewarding job here related to academia, but am out of my field and far removed from research. I recently wrote a letter of recommendation for a PhD Forensic IT specialist who had found Cyprus to be totally closed to his specialism – he returned to the UK after 18months of frustration.
Cyprus is teetering on the edge of meltdown regarding the current financial crisis and also seems to be heading for pariah status regarding its foreign policy and almost slavish following of Greek administration. Austerity measures are being played out, but lack of innovation and flexibility within the State sector is set to send Cyprus down the same path as Greece – unemployment is rising, opportunities are waning and I think the last place a couple with academic and research prospects should be heading is here. Sorry to be the bearer of unwelcome advice…
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply so honestly and descriptively!

To be honest, if I were to stay in the UK I am not sure that I would pursue a career in academia (I have been at University for a long time, and feel like a bit of a change)... There are undoubtedly more options for careers within the UK, but since I don't have anything specific in mind, I am open to trying anything, so I am a bit flexible on that basis. I had just (perhaps wrongly) assumed that a University/academic position is my strongest chance seeing as that is the bulk of my CV up until now. Is it possible to also find other IT jobs/software development jobs? I am even open to the idea of teaching English, but presumably I need some sort of qualification for this, and to speak fluent Greek such that I can explain the language effectively?

Thanks again for all your advice!
 

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Cyprus, or the UK?

Dear pjb,
I haven't read your other replies, and I confess to having no knowlege whatsoever, relating to computer-based carreers, however, I'm sure good sense will tell you, that the ability to speak Greek, would ofcourse be advantageous!
Cyprus is also currently in recession, so jobs are even harder to find than usual!
On a positive note, Nicosia is undoubtably the most 'cosmopolitan' city in Cyprus, so I'd say you've already increased your employment prospects, by choosing to possibly relocate there! It appears you also have a 'niche' service to offer, therefore once again increasing your prospects, the 'down-side', once again, being your inability to speak Greek?
A lot of the more recent 'focus' in Cyprus, has strayed from the 'Anglo-friendly' to the 'Russian', as they appear to have adopted the place, as a second home, and seem to be investing heavily in property, businesses etc, THERFORE, it wouldn't be too unfair to assume, that for each appropriate employment position, you'll no doubt be up against a number of similarly qualified Russians, who seem to speak Greek almost as a native tongue?
I'm trying to be practical, in my response, but certainly hope I haven't put you off, entirely?
Personally speaking, having lived here for three years, Cyprus may lack a great many things, but given a choice of 'here, or the uk', Cyprus wins 'hands-down'!
I hope I've been a little help to you?
Good luck, in whatever you decide!
 

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Dear pjb,
I haven't read your other replies, and I confess to having no knowlege whatsoever, relating to computer-based carreers, however, I'm sure good sense will tell you, that the ability to speak Greek, would ofcourse be advantageous!
Cyprus is also currently in recession, so jobs are even harder to find than usual!
On a positive note, Nicosia is undoubtably the most 'cosmopolitan' city in Cyprus, so I'd say you've already increased your employment prospects, by choosing to possibly relocate there! It appears you also have a 'niche' service to offer, therefore once again increasing your prospects, the 'down-side', once again, being your inability to speak Greek?
A lot of the more recent 'focus' in Cyprus, has strayed from the 'Anglo-friendly' to the 'Russian', as they appear to have adopted the place, as a second home, and seem to be investing heavily in property, businesses etc, THERFORE, it wouldn't be too unfair to assume, that for each appropriate employment position, you'll no doubt be up against a number of similarly qualified Russians, who seem to speak Greek almost as a native tongue?
I'm trying to be practical, in my response, but certainly hope I haven't put you off, entirely?
Personally speaking, having lived here for three years, Cyprus may lack a great many things, but given a choice of 'here, or the uk', Cyprus wins 'hands-down'!
I hope I've been a little help to you?
Good luck, in whatever you decide!
Thanks, it's certainly good to know that whilst you recognise some disadvantages with living in Cyprus, you still pick it over the UK - it gives me some hope!

Yes, my girlfriends family have often spoken about how more and more Russians are settling into Cyprus; especially in the Limassol area it would seem. I even noticed a lot of Russian signposts dotted around, so I'm not suprised to hear that the Cypriots are shifting their focus toward Russians over the English (who let's face it seem to have a bad reputation based on the idiots that occupy Ayia Napa over the summer! :p). Incidentally, have you noticed any hostility or unfriendliness from locals because you are English. I know a very very small number of people thought that the British could have helped more during the Turkish invasion in 1974, and that a bit of stigma is associated with us. However, that said - everyone I have met in Cyprus have all been very welcoming and friendly, and I have never been made to feel uncomfortable.

I have just purchased Rosetta Stone Greek for around £300 which I hope will help me to pick up the basics of the language. My gf and her family will hopefully be able to help me advance further, and also teach me the more Cypriot dialect :p Perhaps when I am stronger in this area, I will be better placed to find a job (although I know I need to know Greek Greek and not Cypriot Greek for the workplace)...
 

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In all truth, I'm kinda devided on the whole 'animosity' thing?.. There's good and bad, light and shade etc!.. I think our conduct, during the 1974 attrocities was reprehensible, and I'm a little ashamed of the association, but, though I have to be honest, in that (apologies to your girlfriend) I simply 'hate' doing business with a VERY large percentage of Cypriots.. There's 'slave-labour' written all over this island, and that makes it extremely difficult to compete on the work-front.. eg there's always someone willing to work 'rediculously hard, for very little money'.. an example being.. Though I was a respected decorator, in England, working predominantly on 'listed buildings', my forrays into that feild, here, have been met with the same response.. "Silly Englishman.. I have Sri-lankan's to do that"! Yes, sadly, that really happened! Thankfully, I'm also a musician/singer, and that's my bread and butter!!
In fairness, I have had many very 'positive' reviews on 'English people', from many good Cypriots, and, dare I say, the 'opposite' has 'generally' been said about some Russians?
The Russians, however, are spending LARGE amounts of money here, and who's to argue with that??.. 'Gift-horse' springs to mind!! A great many Cypriots I have met, over many years of coming here, are warm, generous people.. but, I do certainly miss the 'Cyprus, I used to know'.. for 'then', it really was a place with a great sense of freedom.. beach parties, bohemian lifestyle etc (On my first visit ever, 1985, I was met at Larnaca airport, by my sister's friend, in a 'rainbow coloured volkswagen beetle!) Ha! Largely, those days, sadly, seem to've been replaced by a much more 'profit-oriented' structure.. still, everyone has thier own experience, as I'm sure, will you...
So.. once again.. the very best of luck to you both!!
 

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There is a background of generic animosity towards Xenos (foreigners) and not really the British in particular, but it is very much a tradition (that is actually promoted through School celebrations in a ludicrous mythhistoriographic reinterpretation of the past). I’ve never experienced outright hostility, but there have been numerous occasions where I’ve been cold-shouldered and derogatory comments made followed by profuse apologies of misunderstandings when my wife appears on the scene(who is Cypriot) – and of course the embarrassing overcharging in some shops followed by remarkable reductions when it is realised that I’m married to (and practically myself an honourary) Cypriot. But I’m with Charlie on this one – it’s all a matter of context, contrast and comparison (although I don’t agree that the west in general has anything to apologise for over the 1974 disaster that is generally blamed on everyone apart from the idiots who promoted intercommunal violence and intolerance throughout the 60s and then were surprised when they were not ‘rescued’ from the Greek Junta led coup and the subsequent Turkish intervention and invasion). The vast majority of Cypriots are wonderfully warm, hospitable and friendly – but as with any society there are those that fall into a thankfully small tail end of the continuum that would probably resent you and your background and the fact that you could be taking away a much needed job from one of their own.
As has been mentioned in previous threads the tail end of xenophobics is probably concentrated in Nicosia, but that is also where the job opportunities are also concentrated. You wouldn’t need any qualifications in particular to teach English in an afternoon institution, but you would need to know the right person – nor would you need to speak Greek (in fact it is a disadvantage in some ways as for advanced classes, the students are forced to speak in English as they know that they cannot communicate in any other way). Your academic background would also be an advantage in that you could advise those that may want to go to the UK for their HE, but there is an increasing trend for seeking HE solutions locally because of the increased fees in the UK.
If you’re willing to compromise and accept pretty shoddy wages, it is possible to get along and you have the advantage of family support. Good luck, whatever your decision.
 

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Why don't you look up 'Angloinfo' for computer related jobs in Cyprus? In fact, I'm sure, by tapping in 'computer-based jobs in Cyprus', there'd be a wealth of information at your fingertips! Why not join 'Cyprus recruiter'? They seem to be pretty up to date, and I've seen many IT positions advertised there!
The 'teaching English' idea, is one to pursue, for sure!
It certainly sounds like after all your time spent in Academia, you're in need of a bit of a break!
Cyprus still has that 'sense of freedom' I mentioned previously, and hey.. Life's an adventure right?
Why not make that small jump?.. You can always go back!!
 
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