Monday, January 5, 2009

First International Experience

Studying abroad was one of the most influential experiences of my life. I was given the opportunity to travel to Cyprus in March of 2008. Many people do not know where Cyprus is or they believe it is one of the Greek Isles. It is a small island located in the Mediterranean Sea, but is split between Greece and Turkey. Turkey governs the Northern half, while the Southern half is governed by Cyprus. Nicosia, the capitol of Cyprus, is the only remaining split capitol in the European Union.

The two countries have battled over this land for many years, which ultimately led to the Turkish invasion in 1974. The invasion led to many Cypriots living in the Northern half of Cyprus to move southern or out of the country. The Northern half was then left to the Turkish to rule and not much development was continued in the area. The Southern half continued to flourish with the development of modern buildings and companies. The country relies mainly on tourism as income, which is easy to tell since the area is full of beautiful beaches and mountains.

While spending my time in Nicosia, I was able to travel to both sides of the country during my time off from teaching. I was teaching in the Grammar School and the Junior School in Nicosia on the Greek side. This is an English-speaking, private school that is available to the students in Nicosia that can afford it. In the Junior School the students are young and just learning English, while in the Grammar School the students are split between English and Greek classes.

I was teaching physical education in both schools, which is a difficult task when you are not speaking the students’ primary language. I quickly learned that demonstrations are key in teaching physical education because the students may still understand if they see it happen. Having the opportunity to teach in a foreign country changed my perspective of teaching styles. I learned a lot from being able to teach as well as traveling. I hope that this will not be my final opportunity to travel abroad or teach abroad. I will continue to explore the importance of studying abroad throughout my posts as well as the importance of learning new cultures.

For more information on traveling to Cyprus, please visit: For information on the Grammar School, please visit:


  1. It sounds as though you had a really great study abroad experience. Although I have not had the opportunity to study abroad or out of the country, it seems like it would definitely be beneficial to my future as most individuals tend to gain experience with minority, work with different populations, and then also learn to adapt their teaching to the situation at hand. I actually hope that I can travel after graduation so that I can become accustomed to other cultures lifestyles so that I too can be better prepared for my future in health education.

  2. Sounds like you had an amazing student teaching experience! As intriguing as student teaching in a different country sounds, I would stress out walking into a class that spoke a different language I didn't know. Talk about sink or swim time! Teaching by demonstration was a great idea. The ability to quickly adapt to your student's needs is an important necessity when teaching! Kudos! After teaching there for a while, were you able to pick up on some of their language?

  3. woot woot! i miss mr. alexis...maybe kyriacos too...