A proud UAlbany family: Eric Leontiou, center, with his father, Costas, and grandfather, Nicos.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 19, 2016) – Eric Leontiou grew up playing soccer in sunny Cyprus, but heard tales of snowy winters in upstate New York that intrigued him.
Leontiou, a sophomore who recently transferred to UAlbany from Nicosia University in Cyprus, is a third generation member of a UAlbany family. Cyprus, a small country with a population that was estimated to be 1.14 million in 2013, is “full of kind people and is the perfect place to be on a summer vacation because of the beach and the sun,” he said.
“I came to UAlbany due to the fact that I received a soccer scholarship and felt it would be great experience playing soccer and studying at the same university my grandfather and dad graduated from,” Leontiou said.
The Leontious are a UAlbany legacy family. Eric’s father, Costas, and grandfather Nicos are proud UAlbany graduates. Eric has three siblings, ages 15 through 31.
“My grandfather told me a lot of stories but one of my favorite ones was when he told me about his first time seeing snow. He couldn’t open his windows because of the cold and it was his first experience with snow,” Leontiou said. “Moreover, my dad always says to me that he enjoyed his time in Albany due to the fact that he was studying here with his friends.”
Eric recently decided on Globalization Studies as his major.
“My dream was and still is to become a pro soccer player and I’m working really hard to accomplish that,” Eric said. He is a part of the Cyprus national soccer team, last playing with the Under 19s age category. “If this path doesn’t work I will try to find the best work opportunity for me.”
Leontiou said his experience in the U.S. has been great. “It’s a different world if you compare it with Cyprus but for someone who is willing to have a life adventure, then this is the right place to be,” he said.
What does he miss about home?
“Most of all I miss my friends and girlfriend who are back home, but I’m really happy for the support I get from each of them individually,” he said.
“UAlbany is an accepting community for foreigners,” Leontiou said. “It does feel like home, even if I’ve been here for only one and a half months, due to the fact that I have already met people who have become really good friends of mine. You can understand how accepting the UAlbany community is by walking through the school and seeing so many different cultures together.”
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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.