Nafsika Chloi Marouli is a fourth-year YUFE student and is currently studying at the department of English studies at the University of Cyprus. Nafsika-Chloi shares her experience: “It is a unique experience that I would highly recommend to my fellow students who are curious, passionate to discover the world and are in constant pursuit of their educational development through formal and non-formal learning programmes.”.
Interview by Marina Frangeskidou,
University Officer at the Rector’s Office, member of the UCY YUFE communication team
Nafsika-Chloi, you have chosen to study at the University of Cyprus. What was your choice criterion?
My first choice was to study the same subject at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Although my admission there was unsuccessful, for me Cyprus, and especially the University of Cyprus, was “another” Athens. My sister attended courses here, and I had heard the best reviews, compared to Greek universities, regarding the organisation of the curricula. I was also familiar with the country and Nicosia. I have friends and family here, in Cyprus I feel safe and, most importantly, I am confident regarding the quality of studies at the University of Cyprus.
The subject area of your studies is translation. Is your love for languages and “unlocking their secrets” connected with your “love” for the mobility programmes the University of Cyprus offers?
Of course! I have always found communication with people from other countries interesting! For me, language and the development of oral speaking is a mystery that I am triggered to observe and decode. I get excited listening to foreign languages, even if I do not understand them. It is the reason I pursued English Studies and sought to grab the mobility opportunities available. It is the reason I like travelling and exploring the world. My first “contact” with Erasmus was through the “eyes” of my siblings, who took advantage of such a programme during their studies. It was something I wanted to experience as well. As a high-school student, I remember saying “I want to study at a university and go abroad with Erasmus. This is how YUFE came along the way, following my participation in an Erasmus programme in Granada, Spain.”
Mobility (for you) is…
• A means to interact with people from other countries, but also to share knowledge and experiences, to understand their way of thinking
• An opportunity to widen our perspective on how other people see and understand the world. Through sharing housing, and studying in another European country we open to new, different viewpoints that help us to better understand our surroundings.
• A way to better realise our common European identity, our common aspirations and dreams for the future.
You have chosen to follow the YUFE student journey because…
It represents a non-discriminatory community that does not distinguish people based on nationality or ethnicity. The courses I had chosen were not directly linked to my field of studies. I wanted to learn more and expand my horizons! It was also a great alternative during the pandemic. I could study at my university and at the same time communicate with the rest of the world, which was something I really wanted. During YUFE classes, my co-students happened to speak their mother tongue. This kind of interaction fascinated me because I love listening to the sound of languages that I might not be familiar with. I also wanted to learn about the teaching methods at universities in other countries and YUFE gave me this opportunity.
You have attended classes related to music and technology, European identity, and open lectures on philosophy and bioethics. How are the above related to your degree and your future goals?
Indeed, I attended Spanish language lessons at the University of Bremen (Germany), a course on European Identity at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), a course on music and technology at Carlos III University of Madrid and a course on Existential Wellbeing in Plural Societies about achieving happiness at the University of Eastern Finland. I attended the music and technology class because of my love for music and past experiences, since I studied at a music school. It was an opportunity to get back in touch with the art I so much love.
Also, I had never had the opportunity to participate in a course on European identity, not even at school. During the specific course, I learned how European citizens “see” Europe and, most importantly, how people with an immigrant background, refugees, and people from other countries perceive the institution of the European Union. I learned a lot about the EU contradictions and I realised that there is room for improvement towards building a truly inclusive society. The course on the pursuit and achievement of happiness was a life lesson for me and I would highly recommend it to all (my fellow students).
All of my YUFE experiences have helped me to further expand my knowledge, question my perceptions and limitations, open my horizons, see things holistically, ask more questions, and think more, as well as to further understand the world and become a better version of myself. Each course was a unique experience.
You have attended a course on existential well-being. I am triggered to ask you, is achieving happiness your goal (and your generation’s goal)?
Yes, I believe so. We have to search for what makes us truly, genuinely happy, in spite of the difficulties. Even when there is darkness all around us, we should aim for the light that will keep us calm and give us the strength to carry on. My goal is to find what excites me, gain more experiences, dare, take risks, and test my limitations. After all, now is the time.
YUFE mobility during a pandemic. Describe your experience.
I attended classes online. At the University of Antwerp, the classes were offered in a hybrid mode, with some of my co-students attending them physically and others online. It was a well-organised course, and we felt like a team even in distance. We did not, at any time, feel excluded, and we actively participated. Hybrid collaboration was a challenge, but also a valuable lesson. We completed a teamwork task, and we even presented online and produced our own music piece!
Name three experiences/ competencies gained through the YUFE student journey.
1. Teamwork collaboration. I learned to be more patient. Through dialogue and through the synthesis of ideas, I improved my teamwork skills!
2. Critical thinking. I improved my way of thinking. I reconsidered my approach to many subjects. I realised how important it is to approach a subject holistically, through objective consideration of different points of view.
3. Adaptability to different teaching methods, like asynchronous learning.
You have chosen to extend your period of studies to gain more experience through the YUFE student journey.
I wanted to fully experience this unique opportunity. It was a risk I would gladly take again. The benefits gained through the courses and experiences outweighed the extra time required to complete my studies. My teachers were right to advise me to pursue the YUFE journey experience. I learned, as a student, that it is important to seize any opportunity and experience provided by our universities through such programmes which, after all, help us improve as individuals.
A campus in 10 European cities. How does this sound?
It is a visionary and promising plan. I have always been drawn to the idea of one Europe, a single community. What intrigued me is the effort to achieve the above through education. After all, it all starts through education. Meaningful and effective collaboration is essential for better understanding our world.
Would you recommend the YUFE Student journey to other students?
100%! I would recommend my co-students to attend classes either online or, even better, in-person. I would urge them to grab every mobility opportunity their university offers, as it is a way to evolve. Many times, I find myself wishing I was still in my second year of studies so as to be able to attend more YUFE courses. I would definitely enrol in a YUFE graduate programme if it was offered, and I would even attend courses as an alumna. Although relatively young in age, the YUFE student journey has impressed me. It is well organised, with great communication with the university, the staff and the academics, and the admission procedure is really smooth and easy.
Nafsika – Chloi, could you tell us your future plans?
In December, following my graduation, I would like to pursue an Erasmus Placement in Spain and afterwards enroll in a postgraduate programme specialising in translation, interpretation and subtitling, or even in creative writing and marketing. In the meantime, I am also searching for employment opportunities, as I wish to be financially independent. My dream is to work in Spain as well!