Cyprus field trip
Pratap Sinha and Ruth Ramos Robles, Management and Implementation of Development Projects (MSc)
As part of our Master’s degree programme, we had the opportunity to experience Cyprus; our field course aimed to link our academic learning to some projects taking place in this country.
The visit started in Larnaca where we spent one night and, after walking around next to the beach looking for a place to have dinner, we found a local restaurant that became an oasis offering mezze, a selection of different seafood dishes that fed our watering mouths – this was just the beginning of one of the best educational tours we have experienced.
Days became short once we started our visits to different project sites, including a water treatment plant, a desalinisation plant, a wind power park and Paphos airport; Cyprus is in a development phase, increasing and improving services, infrastructure and jobs through some private and public initiatives investing in several projects.
One of the most inspirational visits was in the west, in Kritou Terra, a rural area that hosts an eco-project. We spent three days in the Environmental Studies Centre, which is located in an amazing town with stone houses and stone roads, next to an oak tree forest. We spent a magic moment as a group remembering what nature smells and sounds like, which is something you can easily forget when spending some time in the city.
After this wonderful time in the village, we headed back to the city, but on the way we visited an interesting land rehabilitation project on a mine site through reforestation with local trees. Once in Nicosia, we had officially returned to a city, but not just any city. Nicosia is divided, so in one city you can visit two countries as you walk from the Greek Cypriot side to the Turkish Cypriot side or vice versa. Each side has its own government, culture, custom, food and language.
Our visit to the UNDP facilities and the buffer zone expanded our knowledge about the reality of Cyprus, we learnt the complexity of working in the re-unification of the country and have projects on both sides.
After visiting a museum, some medieval sites and finally going to the beautiful beach, we had our farewell dinner in a Syrian restaurant; it was an unforgettable evening.
Now that we are all about to finish our degree programmes at Manchester, many of us will go to different countries, some of us still don’t where yet – but we will always have Cyprus as one of the best trips of our life.