An interview with the Greek and Cypriot Society of Cardiff University
The Greek and Cypriot society in Cardiff is one of the most vivacious and virile communities in UK. But what’s the result of the combination of the Greek-Cypriot communities along with the fresher student’s standpoint in the Capital of Wales?
‘’We’re going to meet outside the club and don’t be late again!’’
It was a rainy late Friday afternoon and Lydia was coming back from the library when her phone rang. Her friend Nikos was on the other end of the line, asking Lydia to invite all her friends to the Greek/Cypriot party that is being held once a month in a club in the centre of Cardiff.
‘’We mostly organize Greek nights at clubs, for everyone to come and have fun with their friends. Other events include game nights, live music nights and many more’’, says Lucy Shahabian, the president of the Greek/ Cypriot society in Cardiff University.
Lucy is the head of the committee of the society which is consisted of a considerable number of active members who help and participate in the events and activities. ‘’An event in the previous semester, was one that will keep us proud for many more days to come. We organised a Charity football tournament, for a girl who suffers from a brain tumour and we have collected money on her behalf for her to have a surgery. Also, we have a large event taking place at the Student’s union every year where students from every country show off their cultures, either by traditional foods or dances. We have had the opportunity to dance to traditional music (either Cypriot or Greek) and showcase our famous halloumi and feta cheese.’’
The enthusiasm of international students for the Mediterranean culture, music, food and way of having fun is more than obvious and the capital of Wales is one of the greatest places for them to get in touch with it because of the acts that take place very often, open to public and foreigners. In fact, the interaction of different societies, cultures and traditions is the higher goal of all the communities in the UK, including the society of Greek and Cypriot students. ‘’We love seeing international people joining our events and we appreciate how much fun they have. That leaves us very proud of the work we do in order to keep up with our society’’, Lucy says with a big shining smile in her face.
The team of Lucy, Stavros Hadjicharalambous, who is the vice president / treasurer, Maria Karatzia, the secretary and the committee member Athena Zitti, meet each other quite often, especially during the last months, since the beginning of the radio program, which is on air every Friday on Repania.fm, ‘’ where we discuss different matters, mostly funny ones, regarding our society members.’’
All the members are also students, so time management and good organizational skills are the magic substances for the society to keep on being active and helpful towards other young people. ‘’In my case, I love organizing events and helping people, so I do it with all my heart, without finding it to be a burden. We have to keep up with all of the society members in order to hold meetings for matters that have to be solved or discussed, but this hasn’t stopped us from thriving in what we do. Team work is important in our society since we assign each person a task they have to do for the preparation of an event. If it was only me, I think I wouldn’t make it, so I’m really grateful for the rest of the society members, since they were my friends from before and we undeniably communicate a lot better than other people who didn’t know each other would’’, adds Lucy, which came back from the Christmas holidays spent in her hometown and now she has her exams period and her time schedule is more than overloaded.
Lucy is doing her BSc in Chemistry and this is her second year as a student but she’s been living in Cardiff for three years now.”I could say that I definitely know Cardiff as much as I know my hometown, Nicosia, and it really feels like a second home to me. Being president of the society does not necessarily mean that I have daily matters to discuss or work on, but it surely means a busy programme overall in order to achieve the proper organisation of our events and socials.”
Teamwork is not always a simple matter. A lot of effort from all the parts of the committee is what keeps the society united and willing to solve any challenges and problems along the way, either concerning the communication or the schedule of the events and the meetings of the team. ‘’ Team work is really important in our society since we assign each person a task they have to do for the preparation of an event. If it was only me, I think I wouldn’t make it, so I’m really grateful for the rest of the society members, since they were my friends from before and we undeniably communicate a lot better than other people who didn’t know each other would.’’
The Cardiff society, as Lucy explains is also a part of a big team of other Greek and Cypriot societies across the UK, helping each other, since sometimes they do share costs of DJs, for example, who come to the party nights to play music, and they have people from other cities coming to events in Cardiff, and they are going to theirs respectively. ‘’One of the upcoming events that will be announced soon includes our collaboration with another international society of Cardiff,’’ Lucy reveals, inviting all the international students to stay tuned!
‘’My goal and perspective are to certainly help students in their needs, since I was a younger student once and I for sure needed some extra guidance, especially from someone of my own heritage, who could communicate in my own language. Many freshers who come in Cardiff usually have difficulty talking to a person who speaks a different language. As much as we’ve practiced English beforehand, it’s challenging to actually be fluent when you have native British people to deal with. It is also very encouraging to know that there is a community of people who understand you and are in the same boat as you’’, summarizes Lucy. The Greek/Cypriot Society Cardiff University is a family and each new member is more than welcoming.