Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean sea. It is situated at the crossroads between three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe, with convenient and quick access to countries in all three.
According to the latest official census of 2011, the population of Cyprus numbers just below 840,000. However, more recent estimates put it closer to 1,170,000.
Cyprus is a democratic republic with a presidential system. The head of state and of the government is elected by a process of universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power vested in the House of Representatives whilst the Judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature.
Most Greek Cypriots identify as Orthodox Christian, while Turkish Cypriots are adherents of Sunni Islam. Several other religions are also represented on the island. People are free to practice whichever religion they choose, and several places of worship are available to accommodate most practices.
The two official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, with Greek being spoken by the majority of Cypriots. English is also widely spoken. Other languages include Russian, Armenian and Arabic due to expat communities established here over the years.
Cyprus is well-known for its almost year-round temperate weather and is consequently a very popular holiday destination. Winters run December to February and are usually mild in the cities with temperatures between 10-25 degrees Centigrade. It does snow higher up in the mountains and there are skiing facilities that operate on the few weeks a year that this happens. Generally, from March through to October temperatures range from warm (20-30 degrees C) to very hot (40+ degrees C in July and August) and the climate is mostly dry.
Cyprus has very good road infrastructure that serves all cities, towns and most smaller villages. The island drives on the left, having adopted a traffic system similar to that of the UK. Public transport in the cities is mainly by bus and taxi, both of which are very reasonably priced. Wider public transport (city to city) is available by coach or taxi. Privately operated coaches offer services to the international airports in Larnaca and Paphos.
Cyprus has two international airports: Larnaca and Paphos. Both are extremely well served directly by scheduled and chartered flights from many European, African and Middle Eastern destinations. Cyprus can also be reached by sea with its main harbours being in Lemesos (Limassol) and Larnaca.
Cyprus uses the Euro.
EU nationals do not, though they will need to apply for a residence permit. Non-EU nationals do need visas but these can be obtained once the student has an acceptance letter from the institution they wish to attend. Click here for more information on visa requirements.