The newly-branded University of Limassol will see the current institution – the Cyprus International Institute of Management – become integrated into UoL as the CIIM business school.
The aim is to launch the new, bigger university, also including a tech and innovation school and an economics and finance school, with a more “international strategy”.
“There are 11 universities here in Cyprus, and with only a million people – it’s a small market,” said Theodore Panayotou, speaking to The PIE News.
“In order to continue to be competitive today, you have to be international and face that global competition. This is the only field to play,” Panayotou continued.
The University of Limassol will aim to begin its classes in autumn in subjects such as business management, economics and finance, and information technology, with at least a “quarter” of the student body being international.
Then, Panayotou said, the aim is to grow that number each year, with a third being international in the second year and half by the third year.
Later, schools of law, social sciences and health sciences will also become available.
While the ambitions are very much international, the new institution will also look to make lasting ties with the local community.
Panayotou calls Limassol, in the south of Cyprus, completely different to the rest of the country, because of its international flavour – tourists flock to the country every year, and more and more big businesses are setting up shop in the city.
“We definitely want to be grounded in the market here because there are many opportunities for internships for our students, where they can create good relationships with tech companies, financial companies and shipping companies, for example,” Panayotou said.
In terms of international recruitment, the university will start primarily in the Middle East and Southeastern Europe, and also look to the key market of China.
The Cyprus International Institute of Management has already had numerous Chinese graduates, some of which, Panayotou said, have gone on to become ambassadors and take senior positions in government ministries.
One setback that may arise despite the work opportunities available during study – after six months, non-EU international students can work up to 20 hours per week – is the lack of post-study work opportunities.
“The big draw is the knowledge, the contacts, and the relationships”
Non-EU students will not be able to get post-study work visas due to Cyprus’ current rules; however, Panayotou insisted that this will not deter them from gaining advantages.
“The big draw [for opportunities] is the knowledge, the contacts, and the relationships that they can make with companies in the area – in fintech, in shipping, in tourism – there may not be a door that is wide-open to the EU here, but there is a window to the rest of the world.”
A new, main campus is under construction – due to be completed in 2026 – on the outskirts of Limassol, and for the time being the CIIM’s current campus will be in use for classes. Up to 200 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students are expected in the first year, in addition to the 250 graduate students that will be transferred from the current CIIM programs.
A further 50 graduate students are also expected for the January intake.
“We want sustainable growth that does not harm but enhances the student experience,” Panayotou noted.