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Published: 23 september 2019 15:25

International students from the UAE, Egypt, Ecuador and Kazakhstan name why they chose Lithuania as study destination

VGTU foreign students
Vaiva Norkevičiūtė / VGTU foreign students

The numbers of educated and highly skilled internationals who choose to work and live in Lithuania is increasing. An interest of international students in studies in Lithuania is also growing and feedback about the quality of studies is very good. This year Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) welcomed new full-time degree seeking international students from Egypt, Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan. VGTU’s community of international students is expanding; thus, we decided to ask why they have chosen Lithuania, what cultural differences do they notice, and what has surprised them so far.

Good conditions make Lithuania an attractive study destination

Malika Aimasheva from Kazakhstan is studying Creative Industries at VGTU. She mentions several reasons why she has chosen Lithuania for her studies. “First of all, I always wanted to study abroad, to be part of an international community, learn what an international environment is, meet people from all around the globe and share experience, ideas and learn the peculiarities of various cultural identities. Another reason is the education system in Lithuania. I learned about it from my aunt who visited Lithuania earlier. Also I am fascinated that Lithuanians teach their children to have self-confidence, by telling them that they do not have to be like everyone else, they are wonderful just the way they are. And, finally, Lithuania is a European country, and it is relatively close to my homeland,” Malika shares the reasons why she chose studies in Lithuania.

Mohamed Samy Mohamed Abdelrasoul Elwekel came from Egypt to VGTU to study Engineering in Mechatronics and Robotics. He is quite generous with positive feedback when describing Lithuania, but he admits that financial aspects have also been important to him. “Living costs in Lithuania are relatively low, especially if compared with other European countries. And a high VGTU’s place in global rankings contributed to my choice of this particular university,” says the student.

“Lithuania is a very good choice if one wants to gain international study experience,” says Mohaned Ayman Elmohamady Ahmed another full-time student from Egypt who started his studies in Computer Engineering at the Faculty of Electronics at VGTU. He is convinced that Lithuania offers very high quality higher education, and there are several higher education institutions that have high positions in international rankings.

According to the student, graduates from Lithuanian higher education institutions are valued all over the world because of their skills. “In addition, the universities in Lithuania offer a wide range of academic programmes and qualifications. I think it is a perfect place for studies, and to make one’s professional dreams come true. The programmes are recognised internationally and provide excellent employment opportunities. Also, Lithuania is a cost efficient option. Here, living and study costs are lower than in Western countries. Students and researchers have favourable environment to study and carry out research, lectures are given by lecturers with very good qualifications,” Mohaned names reasons for his choice.

Wide-ranging career opportunities

Finance Engineering student Baba Mohamed Abhisheikh Lye, who came from the United Arab Emirates, mentions two reasons why he chose to study in Lithuania: convenience and opportunities. “I live in Dubai, and, in terms of connecting flights and travelling, Lithuania is much more convenient than the USA, Canada or Australia. It is much easier for my friends and family to visit me. Also I see a lot of opportunities here. Lithuania is a member of the European Union. It is possible to travel to other European countries, discover new cultures,” says Baba Mohamed Abhisheikh Lye.

Julian Matias Suarez Guayasamin from Ecuador chose a distant country for his studies in Architecture at VGTU. He has dreamed about studies in architecture since his childhood, later he had doubts about his choice, and took a year off after the school. “I wanted to take a break before I started my studies at a university. After some time, I returned to my school to meet career counsellor, and he advised me to take a look at engineering and architecture study programmes in Lithuania. He mentioned that they are recognised world-wide. I decided that architecture is the best choice for me, and I will gain knowledge and skills how to create pleasant and functional spaces,” says the student.

Fascinated with Lithuanian nature and well balanced architecture

International students also notice differences – cultural and social – between their home countries and Lithuania. Malika from Kazakhstan is surprised that Vilnius is the city of contrasts, where new modern buildings are in harmony with old town. “The most unexpected thing was that you can drink tap water almost everywhere in Lithuania. It seems very soft at taste. Also Vilnius airport is unbelievable close to the city centre. Takeoff and landing of aircraft is a view worth seeing,” Malika is convinced.

Mohaned Ayman Elmohamady Ahmed notes that Lithuania has unique and preserved nature with large forests, clear lakes and rivers, golden beaches by the Baltic sea, medieval castles and cultural heritage of one thousand years.

Baba Mohamed Abhisheikh Lye, who came to Vilnius from Dubai, is also fascinated by the beauty of Lithuanian nature, and modern architecture that is in harmony with buildings in the old town. However, he misses the variety of food, spices and leisure in Lithuania.

Technologically advanced country

Mohamed Samy Mohamed Abdelrasoul Elwekel says that Lithuania is very technologically advanced country. Also he is surprised that he could reach another side of the city in a very short time, and drive through the whole Lithuania in couple of hours. He believes that Lithuania’s achievements are really something to be proud of, especially, having in mind that this advancement has been reached only in thirty years, since the day when Lithuania restored its independence.

Ecuadorian Julian Matias Suarez Guayasamin found public transport system shocking. “You have precise timetables and descriptions of transport routes. Buses are clean and wide, bus drivers are careful and do not hurry. In Ecuador, most buses are not that modern, and bus drivers are racing each other to pick up more passengers in less time. Sometimes buses do not stop at designated stops until a passenger presses the stop button,” describes the student.

International students, both degree seeking and exchange students, make 10% of total student body at VGTU. Degree seeking international students is one of the key indicators of the university’s internationalization.

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