A. Athanasiou, A. Parmaxi

Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
Mass migration has led to contemporary societies to undergo major changes in various sectors, such as financial, political and societal. The educational systems has not remained unaffected, rather they have been forced to take an active and crucial role in forming the ‘new, moulded’ nature of the infrastructure of such developed societies. In the present paper, a case study carried out in a Cypriot context is presented, in an attempt to understand how foreign students who live and study in an intercultural context see themselves, as well as how locals perceive them and how they behave towards them. The case study focuses on four Kenyan students who came to study in a newly established Greek language medium public university in Cyprus, and who took a nine-month Greek language intensive course, before joining their department, in which they would take all subject courses in Greek.

The main objectives of the present research were:
a) to identify the difficulties that one may face in a different culture, mainly with respect to their adaptation in the new society and
b) to showcase how individuals adapt to a different culture when specific criteria are met. The study demonstrates the importance of language learning as an important factor in allowing foreign students to adapt in a new environment and draws some pedagogical implications for educators and policy makers.