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European University of Lefke

When the Ottoman Empire spread to Cyprus in 1571 they chose to settle in Lefke for its natural beauty. One can still see the remnants of the Ottoman Empire at the architecture of Lefke town. In the 1970’s Lefke  was dominated by the copper industry, but in 1974 when fighting erupted, the American company that owned copper mine were worried about their investment and withdrew from northern Cyprus. In its lack of heavy industry North Cyprus  has chosen to invest in higher education. It can be seen in the form of the nine universities situated on the north side of the island, in addition 3 new universities are planned so we can definitely talk about an education boom in Northern Cyprus.
In 1989 the government decided to improve Lefke University, as it was called then, and in 1990 the European University of Lefke was inaugurated by the Cyprus Science Foundation. The university has approximately 4000 students from 38 countries. About 70% of them come from Turkey. The resident students account for the smallest proportion and many come here on EU grants. EUL offers seven associate programs, 35 undergraduate and 12 postgraduate programs.
We met Kezban Zurnaci (pictured below), head of the international department at the university. When the copper mine was closed in Lefke it became a ghost town,” she says. Many chose to emigrate, mainly to the USA, Canada, UK or Australia.” Kezbans parents chose Canada, where she was born in 1971 when Kezban was 22 years, she went back to Lefke on vacation. She met a man, fell in love and have stayed ever since. “I have my history here, many relatives still live there., I feel that I belong here.” she says, looking out from her office window facing the sea. She says that higher education is the leading factor for development here in Northern Cyprus.
Naskhanym Chauseva, 23, (pictured below) is studying health management, fourth year. She will then study another year, in order to do her masters degree, somewhere in Europe, preferably Spain.
in the future she wants to work with UNICEF or any other international organization. What she likes best with the university is the friendly atmosphere, and that management is helpful and accessible. “I love Northern Cyprus,” she said. Here you can be human, and everyone is helpful and people feel no rivalry. Everyone is so relaxed.” she added.
She works part-time at the International Department, live on campus and pay 200 TL a month for a dorm room, and that includes food stamps for 8 TL per day.
If you have questions for Naskhanym you can contact her at: naskhanym@gmail.com or +90548 873 99 51

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From left: Seda (ELT) och Selin (psychology)
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About Petter Koubek 206 Articles
Has worked as a photographer since 1997. After his apprenticeship he commenced employment at the Metro newspaper in Prague as picture editor and photographer. Since 1998, he has worked freelance mainly for newspapers, weeklies and magazines in Sweden, but also assignments in advertising, weddings and Hus photography. Since March 2014 Petter has been living in Northern Cyprus. His approach is characterized by photojournalism and Petter has a penchant for storytelling with imagery.