National Congress Theme 2017: Apokries

Information written by Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

In a nutshell, Apokries is Greece’s token Carnival which allows Greeks to indulge and celebrate before the 40 day fast (Sarakosti) leading up to Orthodox Easter. It takes place over three weeks: week one is ‘’Profoni’’ (the. Pre-announcement), week two is the ‘’Kreatini’’ (Meat Week) and week three is called ‘’Tyrofagou’’ (literally meaning, ‘’cheese-eater’’).

Apokries also follows various traditions set on certain days such as Tsiknopempti (literally ‘’smelly’’ or ‘’smokey’’ Thursday) where Greeks prepare plethoras of meat dishes and venture off to the bars dressed up in absolutely any type of attire that their hearts desire. The festival generally places emphasis on the attributes of masquerade and mystery to enable freedom of expression as well as personal amusement.

Hence, Apokries is a time in which pranks and merriment are in excess. On the last Sunday just before Kathari Deftera (Clean Monday), there are grand carnival extravaganzas with parties, concerts and parades that take place all over Greece and their finales usually involve the burning of an effigy – the Carnival King. They say that Apokries dates back to the Ancient Greek festivals celebrating Dionysos, the god of wine and fertility, and the ‘’rebirth’’ of flora at the end of winter. Either way, we’d sign up for it in a heartbeat.

Style tips:

Some attendees tend to adopt the frivolous clown/court jester style of the carnival, but since the festival prides itself on disguise and anonymity, people are encouraged transform into anyone/anything that entices them.

Have you always wanted to dress up as Jack Sparrow and run around cheering ‘’I’ve got a jar of dirt”? Now you can. Oh, you and your significant other feel like having a laugh and dressing up as ‘’bacon and eggs’’? This is the right time to do it! So you’ve just seen Gal Gadot play the role of Wonder Woman and now you’re like, totally obsessed? Yes, you can be her for a few hours until you start feeling lightheaded in that corset thing and your feet feel like they’re about to fall off from wearing those high heeled boots all night because Apokries = limitless style.


National Congress Theme 2017: Oktoberfest

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

Oktoberfest, which is held annually in Munich, Germany, is the world’s largest ‘’Volkfest’’ which includes a traveling funfair with loads of food and activities as well as the world renowned beer festival. This year, Oktoberfest is 207 years old and still going strong.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about Oktoberfest:

1. The first Oktoberfest was actually a wedding reception.

In 1810, the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig celebrated his 12th wedding to princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and invited all the people of Munich to attend. The newlyweds had so much fun that they opted to make their anniversary a yearly occurrence.

2. Bavarians call festival faders ‘’Bierleichen’’ i.e. the German word for ‘’Beer Corpses’’.

With Bavarian brews containing around 6-8% of alcohol and being stronger than the average German concoction, dehydration and passing out are prevalent.

3. War and disease got in the way of Oktoberfest 24 times.

Cholera epidemics in 1854 and 1873 and all the years of World War 1, World War 2 and the Franco-Prussian War were without celebrations.

4. If the name of the festival were a little more specific, we’d be calling it ‘’Septemberfest’’.

Yes, that’s right. Oktoberfest actually starts during mid-September and finishes right at the beginning of October.

5. Albert Einstein once worked there.

The theoretical physicist worked as an electrician at some point in his life and offered his services to set up one of the tents in 1896.

6. Paris Hilton is banned from there.

In 2006, the heiress attended the festival in a short dirndl (the traditional Oktoberfest attire for women) and wreaked havoc by promoting a brand of canned wine without any prior consultation with festival organizers whilst heavily intoxicated.

7. The lost and found boasts a variety of items.

Allegedly between 4000-5000 items are lost each year including passports, wedding rings, tickets to concerts and soccer matches, children, a Segway and a set of dentures.

8. The knot on the pinafore of a woman’s dirndl determines her status.

Beware of chatting up a woman whose knot is placed on the right; it means she’s either married or unavailable and you’re in trouble. A knot on the left means she’s single and ready to mingle.

Style tips:

Women tend to wear the traditional dirndl dress. If you don’t have one of those, a peasant blouse, a loose-fitting knee-length skirt and your grandmother’s frilly apron should maximize your authenticity. Men and women can also wear the traditional lederhosen which is a pair of brown leather shorts with suspenders that hold them up and a checkered shirt underneath. Bavarian hats, also known as Tyrolean hats, are widely worn. If all else fails, wearing any beer or German related outfit would certainly suffice at an Oktoberfest themed party.

National Congress Theme 2017: Cinco De Mayo

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

On 5 May every year, Americans drink several shots of tequila in honor of the time when 4000 very inexperienced Mexican soldiers defeated 6500 French soldiers who were well equipped and skilled in the art of war. Yes, Cinco de Mayo, which directly translates to ’’the fifth of May’’ commemorates the day (5 May 1862) of the improbable victory of the Mexican over the French at the Battle of Puebla.
Here are five facts about Cinco de Mayo that you may not know:
  • It’s not actually that ‘’important’’ in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo is only really celebrated in the city of Pueblo where the battle took place and is more widely celebrated in the US. This is mostly due to the efforts of president Franklin Roosevelt to improve relations between US and Latin American countries by enacting the ‘’Good Neighbour’’ policy.

  • Mexico didn’t win that war.
Despite the Battle of Pueblo being a David-and-Goliath-esque moment, France eventually won the war and occupied Mexican territory for five years.
  • Americans consume around 81 million avocados on Cinco De Mayo.

This statistic was released by the California Avocado Commission in 2012 (yes, California has its own Avocado Commission). That’s a lot of guac.

  • Margarita sales skyrocket on 5 May in the USA.

Bloomberg has calculated that roughly 2.9 Billion dollars is spent by Americans to celebrate Mexico’s small victory and this equates to around 14% of annual cocktail sales.

  • Chihuahuas feature substantially in the festivities.

The city of Chandler in Arizona, hosts chihuahua races. There is even a chihuahua beauty contest at the Longmont festival in Colorado.

Style tips:

Cinco de Mayo is about fun and festivity and your attire should reflect that accordingly. If you’re looking to go all out, throw on a sombrero, a poncho or an ostentatious flower headdress. If you want to be more subtle, incorporate color, flamboyance, Mexican embroidery and off-the-shoulder styles to your outfit.

Study Medicine in Cyprus at the University of Nicosia Medical School

The University of Nicosia Medical School is the first & largest Medical School in Cyprus with more than 600 students coming from all around the world.

Located in the heart of Nicosia, our state-of-the-art facilities make the University of Nicosia Medical School a fantastic place to learn.  From head-turning Anatomy to Clinical skills and Biology laboratories, we provide a learning environment which enables you to embrace your interests and career aspirations.   Our faculty includes academics and clinicians trained in medical education, who have teaching experience in Cyprus and abroad. Our excellent student support services will make you feel at home from day one.

Degrees offered:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD): 6-year degree for High School Graduates
  • Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor in Surgery (MBBS): 4-year degree for candidates holding a Bachelor’s Degree from any discipline – awarded by St George’s, University of London
  • Post Graduate Diploma (PgDip) and Master of Science (MSc) in Family Medicine: For Doctors  in practice, delivered online


Cyprus, an ideal place to study

Cyprus was ranked the safest country in the world for people aged 15 to 29 by the World Health Organization.  That makes our medical school an excellent choice if you are concerned about safety when picking a location to study.

See below on what our current students have to say about their experiences:

Athena Michaelides (MD), Class of 2020, South Africa


“Having the opportunity to study medicine abroad, specifically in Cyprus, was an opportunity that I could not turn down.

The small scale classes ensure maximum individual attention allowing each one of us to flourish and reach our full potential. This is done under the wings of highly educated, easily approachable faculty, who are always willing to go the extra mile. In addition to this, we get to use state of the art facilities in a friendly and safe environment. This international program broadens horizons as one gets the opportunity to experience a variety of cultures in one classroom. The beautiful surroundings of Cyprus as well as the buzzing student life are bonuses that add to the overall student experience.”



Jacomien Nel (MD) Class of 2021, South Africa

“Warm weather, buzzing cafes and beautiful sunsets, Nicosia welcomed me home on the first day of my arrival in Cyprus.

The international atmosphere that both the city and the University of Nicosia provided me with was one of excitement to learn about new cultures, an integral part of becoming a doctor. With a small cohort of students, within a week everyone had become friends, and the experienced faculty quickly got us settled into our semester subjects. With innovative labs and lively campuses, I can’t wait to see what new experiences the University of Nicosia will bring into my life as a medical student!”



Ioannis Balanos (MBBS),Class of 2019, USA


“I am enjoying the integration of core class teaching and clinical training. While clinical exposure begins from our first year, in the second we are immersed in it – learning alongside skilled doctors in hospitals and interacting with patients. Much is demanded from the medical student and the doctors are there to help us meet a high standard as future doctors.

Making the most of medical school for me also means getting involved in the community outside classes. I have gone to many Mobile Clinic expeditions around Cyprus, offering check-ups and performing medical tests. I have had the privilege to deliver health-related presentations to various local schools, and being a Greek speaker, giving back to the community has been even more efficacious. As president of the Wellness Club, my team and I are planning on different activities and excursions throughout the year for the medical school. These extra-curricular aspects greatly enrich student life, and the staff have been extremely helpful in planning and making events possible.”



Dr Maria Avraamidou (MSc in FM) Class of 2016, Cyprus



“The MSc in FM programme has provided me with knowledge and skills to practice medicine using an evidenced based patient centred approach.

Professional development is an important part of being a doctor. This programme has given me inspiration to reach higher goals as a Family Physician and instilled in me the desire to be a life-long learner.”







Tel: + 357 22 471 999








National Congress Theme 2017: Coachella

Article written by our wonderful, Eugenia Pappathanassiu. Images taken from Google Images. 

What is it?

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (i.e. Coachella) takes place over two April weekends every year in the sunny Colorado desert where world famous musicians, bands and sculptors convene to exhibit their kooky crafts to fans and fellow fun-havers.

How did it start?

The festival’s commencement is accredited to the 1993 dispute between Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster over Ticketmaster’s excessive service fees which led to the band seeking out a new venue. The most viable option for the concert’s location was the Empire Polo Grounds in the Colorado desert region which reeled in thousands of attendees, surprising the band and many music producers. The willingness of concert-goers to travel far out into the desert thus confirmed the capability of the venue to host large-scale events.

Fast-forward to today and you’ll see that Coachella has earned its rap as one of the biggest music festivals in the world as well as a massive celebrity hotspot, housing an eclectic atmosphere in which indie, rock, hip hop and electronica tones circulate.

Style Tips: 

The actual location and desert-themed names of some of the music stages (i.e. Mojave Tent, Sahara Tent and Gobi Tent) inspire concert-goers to adorn flowing earth-toned attire with chunky tribal jewelry, paying homage to La Boheme. Hats, crochet, feathers and fringe seem to be in excess. Other attendees, however, are stimulated by their favorite music genres and prefer to cover themselves with leather and studs or gaudy neon garments.

At the end of the day, Coachella is a festival of the arts and the arts promote self-expression so you should wear anything you would like to wear, to be honest.


Greek Name Days – November

Make sure to wish your loved ones this month!

Infographic design & information compiled by Eugenia Pappathanassiu.