Many students from different countries chose to study in Northern Cyprus, it has become a choice location, especially students from Nigeria.join me with an interview with Olatunji Richmond via face-time as he takes us on his journey and life in Cyprus.
What was your initial aim of going to Cyprus and what was your focus;
According to him, he said his aim was to come to get his masters and hustle, and he said there were things he didn’t plan, he felt he was coming to Europe and when you go to school you are going to get a job and work in a school that was my plan.
He said when he got to Cyprus the whole game changed it was hard for him,he said he liked the place so much though people talked about racism that he hasn’t really faced such, in terms of the environment they are welcoming, they are welcoming and friendly especially when you speak a little bit of Turkish like Merhaba which means (Hello) and nasılsın which means (how are you).In his words, he said many choose Northern Cyprus because of its great universities, the Mediterranean sea and of course the living expenses.
My major reason of coming to Cyprus was to come and have my masters degree that was my plan, but a year before I was serving the government the Nigerian youth service corps and I also served as a teacher in Lagos state, I taught economics, basic science etc and I was also running my personal internet cafe,so I was shuttling between running the cafe and teaching,it was quite hard though trying to balance the two together,that was literally what I was doing a year before I came to Cyprus, being able to adapt to a new environment was quite tasking, but for me it was experiences that I would live to tell the story.
I got to Cyprus with three of my friends it wasn’t easy for me to get a place of my own,so they got a three bedroom apartment and I didn’t have money at that time to pay so i asked them if they could pay for everything and that I would pay back when I get the money to pay up,so they agreed to me paying by instalments .i was sleeping in the sitting room on the couch while they took the room.
He said that the guy who rented the place out for them told him that for him to make money here he has to show his potentials in class to his professors and prove to them that he knows what he’s doing which I did though it wasn’t easy, I kept talking to people that I need a job even though I was turned down on different occasions I was so disappointed knowing fully well the money I have left amounts to nothing.
Meanwhile, before I left Nigeria I told my mum that she was only going to pay my tuition fee for just the first semester and that I am going to get a scholarship and work with the school, I didn’t know how but I was going to work with my department.
in class I followed the advice of the agent, in class I’m always answering questions and reading ahead of the class, they liked me because I make intellectual contributions, I work as a cook during my hardship days. I met a lot of people, of course, the good bad and ugly.
Cyprus really changed my life positively, I know why I said that, before I left my country, of course, I had this conviction that I was going there but I didn’t know what to expect. because I didn’t want to call home I worked in the kitchen that kept me in a humble place, my whole experiences gave me a different outlook to life.
To cut my long story short;I put a whole lot of work into my department my professors knew me when I stepped up to him that I want to be an assistant he said I’m quoting him in his words ”yes you are the right person for the job” I was amazed the next summer I was interviewed when I got interviewed they liked what I said and what I put into it,they took me first almost immediately and I was given a full scholarship and paid as a full assistant and then I called my mum and said the promise I made to her is already fulfilled,you are not paying my school fees anymore.
the idea of people saying that they don’t respond to people if you are not Cypriot or Turkish changed my whole idea, the way I got my job changed the whole story, there is no racism, if you have a good potential no one is going to throw that away.
what I am going to say to prospective students is that they should stay focused and be determined and with that, you can achieve anything they want to be in future.