Cypriot Australian youth discover Cyprus through NEPOMAK program

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The World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots or NEPOMAK recently held its flagship programs NDCP and NCCT for diaspora Cypriots in Cyprus.

The programs attract many applications from across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Greece, UK and rest of Europe.

The NEPOMAK Discover Cyprus Program (NDCP) is for 18-22-year-olds of the diaspora, and this year it was held from July 3 to July 24. There were 10 participants from Australia and New Zealand – hailing from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Wellington.

nepomak cyprus
NEPOMAK participants.

NDCP is a unique three-week experience that gives participants a crash course in Cypriot culture, history and heritage. Participants took Greek language classes at the University of Cyprus suited to their level, visited historical sites, and sampled the very best Cypriot culture, hospitality and nightlife.

Raphael Andrews from Melbourne was very thankful to have been selected as a participant for 2023 and shared: “I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who made this program possible, the Advisors who poured their heart and soul to make this trip so amazing and the participants who truly made it a trip of a life-time.”

“The friendships I made evolved into such strong connections that by the end, I couldn’t help but call them my second family. It was not just a journey; it was a life-changing adventure that has left an indelible mark on my heart and soul. As I return home, I carry with me cherished memories and a newfound knowledge and love for Cyprus,” Raphael added.

The Greek language classes were enjoyed by participants as a way to connect deeper to their heritage and improve their skills.

“The culture and language classes were taught with passion and gave me a deeper appreciation of my heritage and culture,” Kira Stephanos from Brisbane, a NDCP 2023 participant, said.

The NEPOMAK Cyprus Culture Tour (NCCT) is for 23-30-year-olds of the diaspora, and this year it was held from August 17 to 28. There were 8 attendees from Australia and New Zealand – hailing from Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland.

NCCT is an unforgettable experience in Cyprus where participants learn about their heritage and culture, and explore Cyprus through guided tours and authentic interactive experiences. Participants visited historical, archaeological and natural wonders and many cultural and culinary hot spots as they travelled around the island, staying in Paphos, Troodos, Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca.

Marie Trikkis from Wollongong was selected as a participant this year and enjoyed the various activities included in the itinerary.

“The itinerary was perfect, taking us to various places of historical and cultural significance. From archaeological sites to monasteries to beautiful villages, each stop providing us with a rich and immersive experience,” Marie said.

“I especially loved our trip to Omodos and having the opportunity to explore the village and watch lace being hand-made. But the most amazing part of the tour was having the opportunity to meet other members of the Cypriot diaspora from all around the world. Hearing their stories and being able to share new experiences with them has helped build friendships that will last a lifetime.

“So, if you’re thinking of applying for NCCT, do it. It was such an unforgettable experience filled with warmth, culture, a deep sense of connection and so much good food. You will learn so much about your culture and yourself on the journey.”

NCCT participants also attended The World Conference of Cyprus Diaspora, which included an invitation to the House of Representatives by President of the House of Representatives, Annita Demetriou, and attending the Opening Ceremony at the Presidential Palace hosted by President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, and participated in interactive sessions relating to matters of interest to the diaspora.

nepomak cyprus
NCCT participants also attended The World Conference of Cyprus Diaspora.

“Touring with the group took us to places I may not have visited on my own. Archaeological sites and historic churches and monasteries of Cyprus including sites like the Tombs of the Kings, Temple of Dionysus, as well as visiting castles and amphitheatres such as the one in Kourion. I really enjoyed our leisure time and the visits to the villages as well as our visit to Petra tou Romiou,” William Panayi from Canberra, who also enjoyed attending NCCT, said.

“Lastly, attending the World Conference of Cypriot Diaspora was an eye-opener, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities facing the country. But also rubbing shoulders with members of the Cypriot diaspora from across the globe and working with each other on those issues.”

Applications for the 2023 programs will open towards the end of the year, applicants must meet the age requirements, be NEPOMAK members and have documented proof of at least one grandparent with Cypriot heritage. To register your interest with NEPOMAK Australia and New Zealand email australia.nepomak@gmail.com or message on social media: https://www.instagram.com/nepomak.aus.nz/ or https://www.facebook.com/NEPOMAK.Aus.NZ

To register as a member of NEPOMAK and be eligible to apply for the programs, register at https://nepomak.org/.

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