Global scholars send season's greetings from Cyprus
The Kapeluck family is in Cyprus for the holidays. Rainey, the youngest daughter of Professor DuBose Kapeluck has been making Christmas decorations and streaming Christmas music at their temporary home on the Mediterranean island-nation south of Turkey. Kapeluck is the head of The Citadel Department of Political Science and when he was selected to lead the college’s first Global Scholars Program in Cyprus, his wife Anne and their four children joined him for the journey more than 6,000 miles from their Charleston, South Carolina home.
The Kapelucks arrived in Cyprus in September, joining 30 cadets who had traveled there earlier with another professor. After teaching, engaging with other academics and dignitaries in the area, and exploring the culture with the cadets and his family, Dr. Kapeluck sent the following letter describing the experiences and the value of global learning:
Hello friends and colleagues,
I thought you’d enjoy seeing the picture of our family on the harbor front of Kyrenia, which is in the northern part of Cyprus. In the background is a short range of mountains, beyond which lies Nicosia, where we are living and studying in collaboration with our partners at the University of Nicosia.
The other side of the mountains is a surprisingly short drive from the harbor, but this part of the island of Cyprus is particularly interesting because it is under the control of Turkey and Cypriots of Turkish ancestry. It was a part of Cyprus until 1974. The only country that recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (the official name that no one in Cyprus uses) is Turkey. The ability to travel relatively freely was established in 2003, so we were able to enjoy it with the cadets and other participants in the Global Scholars study abroad program.
Our cadets attend the University of Nicosia where they stay in well-appointed apartments just minutes from the university. The apartments are conveniently located near a popular commercial district with a number of cafes, restaurants, shops, and a gym where many students do physical training. There are other students from American colleges and universities, as well as students from Cyprus and around Europe.
The cadets take the course I teach on European Affairs, and enjoy a robust curriculum spanning the humanities and social sciences, biology, business, engineering, chemistry, mathematics and physics. While studying in Cyprus through our new Global Scholars program, students take up to 18 credit hours that are consistent with their academic pathways in order to stay on track for graduation. The courses are taken with the general student body, providing a unique intercultural experience with students from across Europe, the Middle East, and from other areas of the world.
Our students have enjoyed a myriad of activities across campus as well as in the city of Nicosia: some joined the university’s rugby team, others ran in local races and most have attended numerous cultural events. It’s great to see our cadets seamlessly integrating themselves into Cypriot life and culture. But it may be the multifaceted history in the area that intrigues them the most.
The intersection between eastern and western culture is an exciting part of the cadet experience in Cyprus. Students have visited mosques, including one built over the sacred tomb of Umm Haram, the burial place of Mohammed’s wet nurse. They also explored the Church of St. Lazarus where some of the bones of Lazarus from the Bible are entombed from his “second death.” The cadets traveled to Paphos, where they visited several historically significant locations including the birthplace of Aphrodite, an ancient Greco-Roman theater, and two medieval castles in Limassol and Kollosoi. Additionally, the cadets traveled to the Troodos Mountains to experience the ski slopes and visited St. Hillarion Castle in the Kyrenia mountain range, which was a monastery dating back to the tenth century.
In early December, cadets met with officials at the U.S. Embassy to learn about diplomatic life and to discuss current U.S. policy towards Cyprus. As part of its continually developing relationship with the University of Nicosia, The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences sponsored a special lecture by a distinguished Citadel Fellow who came from South Carolina to address the university’s faculty and students, our cadets, and area dignitaries. Professor Don Fowler, is the former National Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of the United States, and has been a member of the DNC since 1972. He teaches courses as part of The Citadel Department of Political Science faculty. Dr. Fowler provided an intriguing presentation examining the significance of the recent U.S. presidential election and its probable impacts on the direction of U.S. domestic and foreign policy.
The cadets and students have had a wonderful, rich experience. Getting to know the culture of Cyprus, taking courses at a university abroad, visiting ancient ruins, and meeting students from other walks of life for a full semester has been a remarkable experience for us all. They will soon head to their various hometowns in the U.S. for the winter furlough. But we are staying on a bit longer.
There is a lot going on in Nicosia near the university, including festivals and Christmas bazaars that remind us of being in Charleston. We plan to visit the Troodos Mountains which have a wintrier, holiday feel as the weather in Nicosia is a lot like southern California. We will be coming home to Charleston in the middle of the festivities as the Cypriots celebrate all 12 days of Christmas, ending with the Feast of the Epiphany, or “Ta Fota,” on Jan. 6.
My wife and children have thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to live and learn abroad. For us it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. For The Citadel’s cadets and students, Global Scholars Cyprus is one of the college's many wonderful study abroad and study away from campus in the U.S.A. programs. For a little inspiration, take a look at some of our Citadel in Cyprus Facebook page.
Best wishes to all for a wonderful 2017!
DuBose and the Kapelucks