Yes, International Horizons is everywhere. We tested it in 2017, and we approve: our experience in Cyprus! You should know that we visit each of the countries we offer, and each of the host families. We make it a point of honour to know the towns and countries you can go to through us, so that we can guide you easily if you have any problems. When we work with secondary schools, we even visit each of the companies: we don’t place minors just anywhere, and we make sure that we can ensure seamless coordination. Here, for your work placement in Cyprus, we visited the country, and here are our impressions of this first trip to the other side of the European Union, which will be far from the last!

Day 1: Arrival in Cyprus

The flight went well, so we headed straight to the car hire place; first surprise: we’d forgotten that in Cyprus you drive on the left. But the guy who hires the cars had obviously thought of the trick: a little candy-pink box, so nobody can miss you. So, from the airport, we start off on the Limassol side of the road: we almost get hit head-on by a lorry. Thanks to the person who honked like a madman, he saved our lives. And then, like really, I saw my life flash before my eyes, it was very impressive, especially when you see 36 tonnes hurtling towards you. A word of advice: be very careful, especially on bends, you quickly tend to take the right, and that can be dramatic.

The car woes didn’t stop there; we decided to take the fast lanes and there was a surprise: the car hardly accelerated at all; enchanting. There was a problem with the accelerator, which was quite annoying, but we managed to understand and adapt to this little problem. An arrival in a new country as it should be: a few problems, but that’s what leaves the best memories!

Day 2 : Limassol

We took advantage of this second day to start the appointments, which went rather well. Nothing very extravagant; we enjoy the beach in the evening, the water is warm, the sun is beating down: it’s royal. Limassol is a very European town, so you really know you’re in the EU, and in a southern country: very few shops accept credit cards. It’s a nice town, a bit like Sliema in Malta, but that’s the subject of another blog entry!

Day 3: Mount Olympus

On the third day, we had just one very early – and perfectly pointless – appointment, so we decided to climb to the top of Mount Olympus. You lose nearly 15 degrees by the time you reach the top, and we end up in a particularly disgusting and expensive tourist restaurant. In the afternoon, we headed for Paphos: it’s magnificent, certainly the most beautiful town we’ve ever been to. Paphos really is a postcard setting: it’s white and blue, very clear, with superb beaches; we found a huge terrace where we could sunbathe at the end of the day, which was really great! Even though it’s not very big, the tourists make it particularly dynamic, and the setting is truly idyllic. Make a note to visit it when you go on your work placement in Cyprus!

Day 4: Nicosia

It’s really stifling, and even the locals are holed up at home, so it’s very difficult to get around outside! The city is very nice, especially the old town. We’ve rented just behind the mosque, and the sound of the muezzin lulls us to sleep. In the evening, Marie is exhausted, so I take the opportunity to wander the streets and crash a party with some Cypriots: I finish at around 4am, after a big barbecue and a few too many drinks. The atmosphere was great and the people very welcoming! Cyprus is really welcoming, and so are the people: I think the country is a bit far from France, so there’s not much of a French-speaking community yet, so we’re more than welcome!

Day 5: Nicosia again

We continued to meet in shorts and t-shirts because we were on the verge of losing 20kg of water with each step. It’s 42 degrees in the shade: it’s complicated. Nevertheless, in the evening we arrived in a small village to work in peace and quiet, and there, surprise: it was Georges who greeted us at the village bar. It’s all men, except for the barmaid: the atmosphere is a bit uncomfortable for Marie, but in the end they’re really nice. We get washed down all evening, and are invited to visit a vineyard the next day. By the way, the bar is the centre of the village and is open 24 hours a day, with or without a barmaid: when she’s finished her shift, you help yourself and leave the money on the counter. I found that incredible!

On the loc side: no keys. “It’s a village no worries”. Hmmm ok! To give you an idea of what a typical house looks like: one block with the living room/bedroom (and a huge butcher’s hook above one of the beds), a second block for the bathroom/toilet and a final block for the kitchen where two cockroaches WITH WINGS are dead: my courage prevents me from going back into this room until the end. Incidentally, as in all the countries of Southern Europe, cockroaches are legion… we also came across a few in Bari – the feedback is here! – but at least they had the decency not to steal, which is already more comfortable ah ah

Day 6: The last village

On Georges’ advice, we set off in the morning for ‘Paradise Beach’, a beach known only to the locals from what he tells us. Or not: we arrive, big flags of all the European nationalities, electro bar from the morning, cocktail. It’s not so bad after all! We take advantage of the mildness of the water. In the afternoon, we head off to the vineyard, where we taste the 12 different varieties of wine that are available, and confront a snake and spiders. By the way, our host shows us his videos of nocturnal animals thanks to a camera he’s installed: there are quite a few things I’m glad I didn’t come across, little coward that I am.

In the evening we go to a small roadside restaurant to eat local food, which we manage to do for €10 between the two of us and it’s a great meal. On the other hand, a few cockroaches THAT FLY *I wanted to puke* are there, it’s very very annoying. In the end, you get used to it, they’re not going to go away anyway. Then, a few years later, when we went to visit secondary schools in La Réunion, we saw something much worse … spiders jumping from wall to wall: eurk.

Day 7: the last village, 2nd step

There wasn’t much going on apart from the beach and a meeting with a youth association. In the evening, however, it’s still very hot and I’m barefoot as usual. We get back to the rental, and the first cockroach is wandering around outside … ok … a second one next to the bed. I tell Marie, “If I see another one, I’ll sleep in the crate”. In less than two minutes, I feel one climbing on my foot. I YELL *with dignity of course, and a maximum of masculinity* and take refuge in the car while Marie has to move all the stuff on her own and we head back to Larnaca where we sleep in the airport car park, which is hell. I swear I’d sleep there again, it disgusts me so much.

Day 8: Return to France

The return to France is going well! Cyprus is royal, but you have to be OK with cockroaches. After that, it’s in the hot countries, but it doesn’t matter, you’ll have to deal with them: Malta, Spain, Portugal (and that’s the subject of another blog), and so on. It’s a bit of a cross between Italian, Maltese and Turkish culture: everything is slower because of the sweltering heat, but people like each other and live together without any problems despite two very large Christian and Muslim populations: just goes to show that living together is possible! (And it’s a right-wing guy who’s telling you this!)

So, if you’d like to have a good time in Cyprus during your work placement abroad, let’s go and get in touch!

For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.