If you studied abroad, you’ll have enjoyed a full experience. Because being a student isn’t just about the lectures, the exams, and the late-night cram sessions: it’s a defining time in one’s life, with a wealth of events, games, job fairs, and meet and greets which set you up for the future.
But for those students studying in Cyprus universities, such extra-curricular opportunities are lacking, says Yiannis Hadjiconstantouras. And since everyone – home or abroad – should have the chance to go beyond the academics and further their skills, develop their character, and build the relationships that prepare a student for the wide, wild world, he’s co-founded studentlife.com.cy.
Launched in 2015, initially with the idea of selling and renting textbooks, studentlife.com.cy is now the go-to for anything student related. It’s a portal designed to “enhance student life from the perspective of growth,” says co-founder Yiannis. “Rounding your personality, developing marketable skills, having fun – these are things that are commonplace in foreign universities while here, it’s more about lectures and coffee. We want to give students a reason to stay on campus, engage with their peers, develop connections with potential employers, and round out their job and life skills.”
In real world terms, this translates to a wealth of options for current students and graduates: options that are especially important in a country with the second highest percentage per capita of university graduates, but the fourth from lowest in the EU employment rate of tertiary education graduates aged 20-34, according to 2019 Eurostat data.
As part of studentlife.com.cy, Yiannis and co have started a Jobs platform to help their audience. “It’s a very small part of what we do, and it’s a bit different,” he reveals. “Instead of listing positions, we’re making the effort to introduce employers to the student community. So many employers here don’t know how to speak to this new generation, how to engage and entice them; what we’re doing is more about building communication, facilitating understanding.
“At 33 years of age,” he continues, “I am at the very end of the millennial group, so I know first-hand what students are looking for in terms of employment; it’s very different from the get-a-job-and-hate-it mentality of previous generations. Granted, you can’t afford to be choosy, but by working with employers, we’re helping create a more open mindset – the idea that if you inspire and care about your employees, they will not only stay with you but also work harder.”
Along with the Jobs section, studentlife.com.cy also offers an Academy – a place for training and skill-building. “The Academy bridges the gap between students and companies,” says Yiannis. “As part of that, we have students with us for a few months, working on actual projects – usually in marketing – and the guarantee of a job offer at the end with large local enterprises such as Foody, Partners, and Oglivy. We also cooperate with the Cyprus Human Resources Development Authority – a government training resource – to offer those graduates already in employment additional training, in digital marketing for example. And we frequently offer training in interview technique and the like: skills which aren’t generally taught in an academic setting, but are extremely necessary for those who’ve never sought work before.”
But perhaps the main purpose of studetnlife.com.cy, Yiannis reveals, is the events. And this is where the site really takes its online expertise out into the real world. “We have a number of events each year,” he explains. “There’s UNIFEST, which takes place every autumn. Working in cooperation with big local brands, we spend a fun-filled, music-fuelled morning at each of the local universities, handing out free student packages – all sorts of useful stuff for the start of a new academic year.
“Then there’s our free Exams Pack, which goes out twice a year before the major testing period, and contains all the products you’d need to get you through the exams – Shark, chocolate, vouchers for all sorts of food and beverages. Although,” he notes, “since the measures, we’ve changed this to an online package, and are offering digital discounts from brands such as Dominos, Food Saver, Electroline and PrimeTel.
“We also host the Student Life awards, which reward pupils who actively seek out internships and volunteering positions, those extracurriculars that boost your employability. And we run a Gaming Week, a sort of arcade which heads to various local universities for a week at a time. Because,” he laughs, “there should always be a great balance between studying and having fun!”
Keeping up engagement with a constant stream of online content – “our in-house team produces entertaining articles and videos which directly target and attract our demographic” – www.studentlife.com.cy is the ultimate go-to for island students. And also, adds Yiannis, for potential employers. “From the employers’ perspective, we’re their right-hand – the way they can reach the student community in Cyprus.
“That’s not to say,” he laughs, “we’re running a multi-million euro business! This is certainly not the most profitable venture to be in, and it’s often a challenge to attract a decent budget, but we’re doing what we love. We’re helping the new generation head out into the world well-rounded and better prepared, with a fuller network of both friends and job contacts, and the knowledge that fun and work are not mutually exclusive. Student life,” he concludes, “can offer so much more than just academics.”
For more information, visit https://studentlife.com.cy/