December 2021

by Constandinos Tsindas

Sixth year MD student Alexandros-Constandinos Lykos, describes how Cyprus and the University of Nicosia set him up with three valuable assets during the most crucial, knowledge building period in his life: self-development, consistency and balance.

How is Cyprus, living and studying wise?

Cyprus is ideal for a medical student. It is both a serene and safe environment, but also a place with rich culture, where someone can interact with students throughout the country.  While living in Cyprus for the past five and a half years I was able to maintain a much needed, happy balance between social interactions and academic requirements. Socially, Cyprus provides a plethora of opportunities for social events such as restaurants, entertainment, sports and student gatherings. Fortunately, I was able to continue pursuing my passion for track in field throughout my studies, which was quite important for my development. In addition, the University offers amazing areas for group studying and promotes the concept of learning, as part of a team.

It perfectly balances the needs of a studying environment and supports student social interaction.

How was your transition to a new country?

People here are welcoming and supportive towards students in terms of both behaviour and service provision. The University of Nicosia is well equipped in supporting a diverse group of students with different academic and cultural backgrounds.

Personally, it did not take much time to adapt to the Cypriot culture as it reminded me of my own Greek one. I was very happy to feel at home for the entirety of my medical degree. It made my transition of living to a different country quite an easy one.

How did you find your hospital placement, in terms of practical experience, facilities and cooperation with medical staff? How did you find the level of services offered?

The last two and a half years of medical school have been the most exciting for me as we are allocated to clinical placements. As students, we are exposed to numerous different hospitals and private clinics, allowing us to obtain a global view of how various health systems function. The relevant staff allocated to help training students, were very supportive throughout my placements, with quite rewarding cooperation between the members. The exposure to many hospital settings gives students the opportunity to learn from many different doctors and other staff, each having something new to teach.

You were nominated by the University and you were selected to participate in the 2020 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.  This is an annual scientific conference held in Lindau, Germany where Nobel laureates and young scientists are brought together to foster scientific exchange between different generations, cultures and disciplines.  Can you share your experience with us?

I was very excited when I found out that I was nominated by the University of Nicosia to attend this meeting. During this event, students have the opportunity to interact with many different Nobel Laureates in a plethora of ways such as agora talks, panel discussions, lectures and open exchanges. A student can gain amazing knowledge for topics ranging from the discovery of HIV and Hepatitis to the most recent discoveries in gene editing and climate change. The events that thrilled me the most were when some Laureates narrated stories of their careers and gave inspirational speeches to the young attending scientists. One quote that was engraved in my mind was the following “There is no elevator to success, You have to take the stairs”.

What are the biggest strengths of your programme?

The University of Nicosia has prepared me very well academically for residency. It provided me with a solid background on basic sciences. During the middle years of the medical degree, we also received extensive support for our clinical subjects and were taught how a medical student should study and face any academic requirements.

The clinical years have prepared me very well for my future residency through lectures, clinic visits and hospital allocations. I would recommend this programme to anyone wishing to pursue a medical career in any different residency, as it provides a solid academic background and practice for students.

The biggest strength of the programme is the diversity of the students and staff of the medical school. Interacting with people from many different cultural and academic backgrounds allows students to develop both as learners but also as personalities. Each culture has different approaches to learning, patient communication and social interaction. This unique diversity allowed me to become the person I am and develop personally and professionally.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I aspire to complete an Internal Medicine residency in the United States. In five years from now, I would love to have completed my residency and continue pursuing a fellowship in my field of future interest.

I am working towards this having passed the USMLE Step 1 and awaiting my result from taking the Step 2 licensing examination. I remain optimistic and confident the knowledge I have obtained has equipped me to make this happen.

What changed for the better following your life and work in Cyprus?

This country has given me the opportunities to develop myself further. It provided me with a safe environment in which I was able to be consistent with both my studies and athletic training, a major part of my personality and growth. It balanced my social needs despite the extensive study and training hours required as a medical student.

During my stay I learnt how to become self-sufficient which is of great importance to any student who has recently finished high school. Through these six memorable years, I have developed in all aspects of my life and have gained confidence of pursuing any dream I have both career and family wise. I can safely say that pursuing my MD degree at UNIC Medical School was the right choice for me and my family pursuant of academic excellence and career growth.