Cyprus at a Glance
Living in CyprusiStockphoto
The culture you'll experience in Cyprus is sure to amaze you.
Living in Cyprus: Culture and Heritage
Expats living in Cyprus will get to know a culture which is as old as it is fascinating – no wonder, seeing how people have been living in Cyprus since prehistoric times. The earliest human activity on the island dates back a mind-boggling 12 millennia. The strategic importance of the island for major cultures in the Mediterranean and adjacent areas has led to the island’s occupation and colonization by a large number of ancient civilizations, all of which have left indelible marks.
While the Ottoman Turks and British have had the most recent impact in shaping life in Cyprus, the most obvious and strongest influence on the culture of the people living in Cyprus today has been that of the Greeks. At least as far as the Republic of Cyprus – the subject of this series of articles – is concerned, the Greek settlement, which began about 4000 years ago, has most profoundly left its marks which are still obvious in terms of language and culture. However, you should not expect living in Cyprus to be just like living in Greece. Not only are there definite cultural differences and peculiarities which are typically Cypriot, ranging from music to cuisine such as the world-renown Halloumi cheese; Cyprus is also a sovereign nation and not simply a part of the Greek mainland.
Living in Cyprus: Language
Although the majority of people living in Cyprus today are young, educated, and often fluent in more than two languages - commonly English and Russian, French, or German, as many Cypriots have had their third level education abroad – it would be both unwise and detrimental to the experience of living in Cyprus as an expat to have no previous knowledge of Greek. Familiarizing yourself with at least a few common phrases and the Greek alphabet will not only be a strong signal that you are ready for living in Cyprus, rather than just being a temporary ‘visitor’ of sorts, it will also definitely be very well received by those around you. Needless to say that, no matter where you might go, knowing the local language always helps when dealing with admin issues – a piece of advice that holds true for expats living in Cyprus too.
As far as the business aspect of your new life in Cyprus is concerned, you might actually be able to work with your Cypriot colleagues without any knowledge of Greek and not encounter too many obstacles. Again, this is due to the widespread bilingualism on the island. However, we strongly advise you to visit a few classes in Greek before embarking on the adventure of living in Cyprus.
Living in Cyprus: Quality of Life
If you have read our article on working in Cyprus, you will be well aware that the island boasts one of the highest per capita GDP in the European Union, which might come as somewhat of a surprise to expats interested in living in Cyprus. After all, we are talking of a small island nation on the southeastern edge of Europe. Still, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate your future home country: having been an important strategic outpost and trade center for millennia, Cypriots have made the best of their location – despite the unfortunate, ongoing territorial dispute with Turkey that has left the country divided.
The quality of life in Cyprus is of course not only determined by the figures on the paychecks of expats and locals. Living in Cyprus, you will get to enjoy a welcoming, warmhearted culture, advanced infrastructure in most respects, and a very safe environment – the nation has a very low crime rate.