If you’ve just moved to Cyprus – or, indeed, anywhere outside your home country – or are considering doing so, you probably have dozens of concerns and questions. What kind of education is best for English-speaking children? What is that ornate building? Where are the best doctors? What is this plant? Why is there a major festival happening? Is it possible to take part in sea sports?….
Perhaps you have colleagues or friends who have given advice or helped you to settle in. But you feel you’ve asked them enough questions already. Possibly they have lived abroad for long enough that they’ve forgotten what it feels like to be new and unsettled. Or maybe you would just like some further opinions. One of the problems about living abroad is that it can be difficult to find people in the same situation as you. You want folk who will take your questions seriously. You also probably want them to respond without feeling that you are attacking their choices.
The Internet provides a good solution with the plethora of ex-pat forums. These are message boards where you can post questions, and read other people’s discussions. Thus you can find some honest opinions about living abroad. You will have to register in order to post on any of these forums, but they treat privacy seriously. They will not reveal your email address unless you authorise it. You can choose a username which can be as anonymous as you wish. You can also choose exactly how much information to make available.
Each forum has its own guidelines, which you should read before joining in. Some might not allow ‘bad’ language, for instance, while others don’t mind. Some prefer no debates, others have debates in particular places, others allow them freely. Different people enjoy different styles of conversation, so it’s worth perusing several forums. Eventually you should find one where you feel comfortable. You can usually read the discussions without registering.
Below are just a small selection of the many ex-pat forums available online that may be of help to people moving to Cyprus. You can probably find many more. However these are the ones I have found to be easiest to understand. Most have an uncluttered layout, helpful members, and some useful discussion.
Cyprus-forum.com – this is a basic forum about living in Cyprus. There’s a general section, where you can ask any questions you like, talk about sports, tell jokes, or simply introduce yourself. There’s also a section about politics for those who wish to discuss the ‘Cyprus problem’ or the European Union.
Anglo-info Cyprus is a large site which specialises in classified spots so you can buy or sell locally, but also has other discussions and many other useful features.
Expatforum.com is a fairly active forum, with useful FAQ threads, and helpful people to answer just about any question you might have related to life in Cyprus.
British Expats.com is a web-based community for Brits living anywhere outside the UK, with discussions being only one facet. There are articles on several aspects of moving abroad as well as a lively forum with a broad range of topics.There is a photo gallery, a place for blogging, and even some arcade games.
Expat Blog is a site which particularly focuses on blogging – online journals – written by ex-pats describing their experiences in other countries. There is also a fairly lively discussion forum. Members come from all over the world.
Expat Women is an Internet community specifically for women. Even in these days of equality, many women move abroad because of their husband’s job, yet take on primary responsibility for sorting out their children’s education, shopping, and generally adjusting to a new culture. As well as discussion forums, this site has articles, book reviews, useful links, and even a mentoring service.