Meet Kaitlyn. A a junior Biochemistry/Neuroscience double major. A sister of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and member of the Panhellenic Council here at SU. This spring, She is studying abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus. We asked her a few questions about her study abroad experiences and here's how she answered!
Don't forget to check out her blog!
Also, in Cyprus, I’ve noticed that it’s culturally normal to stare. In the US, we’re taught from a very young age that staring is rude, but here, it’s a cultural norm. I’ve learned that if someone is staring at us, it’s because there aren’t Americans in Cyprus usually, so they’re just curious. Usually I just smile at them and most times, they will smile back and maybe even strike up a conversation!
A third cultural difference between the US and Cyprus is definitely how much more Americans work. In our country, most people put in anywhere from 40-80 hours or more each week, and a lot of employees even work weekends and evenings. In Cyprus, a lot of businesses will be open at about 8-9 am, close at 12pm for lunch, and open again from maybe 3-7pm. Even the grocery store closes around 8pm throughout the week. On Sundays, almost everything in the city like restaurants, shops, and convenient stores are all closed, too. In the US, we definitely do not take as much time away from the workplace, but Cyprus definitely has that figured out to a tee!
So far, my experience at the University of Nicosia has been a lot different from my schooling at Susquehanna. First, it’s very common here for students to arrive very late to class. By that, I don’t mean a minute or two, but 15 or 20! The professors rarely begin lecturing by the time the class is scheduled to start. In my experiences at SU, it’s rude to arrive to class late and most people are in their seats ready to begin before the scheduled class time.
I have found a new appreciation for the education I have received in the US so far. In Cyprus, their coursework is definitely challenging and capable of producing excellent minds, but some of the students in my classes just demonstrate an overall lack of cognitive thinking. They are unable to follow the lecture and my classes are often halted for students to ask less than intelligent questions. I’m definitely learning a lot of patience and am starting to understand that they’re just not as far in their education as I am. I’m very appreciative of all of the work I’ve had to do in my US education that has taught be cognitive thinking skills and also just general information within my Neuroscience major and liberal arts education.
However, my professors are all very unique and I think I will take away a lot from my semester here. For example, my Cellular Neuroscience professor is a retired doctor from the UK so he has a lot of experience in the field and has a lot of unique facts and information to share with my class. My Introduction to Pathology professor is a thoracic surgeon and we spend most of class looking at CT scans and MRIs! It’s such a unique environment.
Overall, attending the University of Nicosia has provided me a really unique experience so far and it has put into perspective the rigor of my coursework at home. From now on, I will have a whole new appreciation for my education at SU!
With the Global Semesters program in Cyprus, they build in weekend excursions for us that take us to the most popular locations on the island! We will visit all of the major coastal cities, take a trip to the mountains, and visit all of the castles, churches, mosques, and the mosaics of Paphos, too. This trip has given me the opportunity to do a lot of traveling to get out of my comfort zone and see plenty of things I probably wouldn’t on my own.
What type of classes are you working on in relation to your major?
This semester, I’m taking a Cellular Neuroscience class that fulfills my biology elective credits. This particular class is challenging and I am learning a lot of new material like anatomy and biochemistry that I haven’t had before in my education to date. Plus, my professor is from the UK, so he has a unique way of teaching the material and explaining our coursework.
Other than that, I am not taking any classes for my major in any way. I was able to have a pretty liberal semester, so I wanted to take full advantage of that so I could do more traveling and exploring during my time abroad. However, if SU students from science majors across the board are interested in Cyprus, the University of Nicosia has plenty of options to pick from. They offer a wide range of courses from biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and even an anatomy and physiology course! It would be very easy for anyone in the Neuroscience major to study abroad here!
What is the difficulty? Do you feel challenged?
Classes in Cyprus are a lot different than that of the US. At Susquehanna, our professors understand what we are capable of and hold us to high standards, which I have appreciated thus far. In Cyprus, however, it has become apparent that their cognitive thinking processes and expectations are not nearly as rigorous. This is the case for all of my classes except Cellular Neuroscience. I have found this class to be challenging, as it is a lot of new information, but it’s nothing I can’t manage. Every day, I come home and go over my notes for just a little bit to reinforce what we learned in class. I believe this class will be very beneficial
Knowing that each student is on a case by case basis, are any of your science classes being transferred back to SU? If so, how many? What was the process and how difficult was it to get these classes approved?
My Cellular Neuroscience class is transferring back as a 300-level biology elective. To get this approved, it was not difficult. I was able to talk to Dr. Peeler in the biology department about the transfer by showing her a course outline. When she found the class to be sufficient for this credit, she approved the equivalency and I was able to transfer back the credits.