Jessica from Germany about her studies in Lithuania: “Now I’m not sure if I want to go back to my hometown.”
Jessica Krosny, a fourth-year medical student at Vilnius University, didn’t hesitate what study programme to choose. After the tragic car accident she witnessed being a ten-year-old child, Jessica promised herself to become a doctor and to be able to help people in need in the future.
First insights about medicine Jessica received while being at school during several internships she had in emergency services. That experience raised the prospective doctor’s confidence in choosing the profession.
Although Lithuania was not the first country that came to Jessica’s mind when she was choosing where to study medicine, now she is happy with her choice. Lithuania turned to be nothing she imagined or heard based on stereotypes. Before applying to the university, Jessica and her parents visited Vilnius. “We saw a lot of beautiful places here, tasted local food, visited Vilnius University, and I decided to choose the medical school here”, Jessica shares her first impressions. “I had a stereotype in my head that it is super cold in Lithuania, and everyone wears long fur coats and big jackets. And it turned out not to be a truth, as when I came here in summer it was very hot – about 35 degrees”.
The application process was not difficult at all and went smoothly. All Jessica needed to do was to fill contact information, upload the documents proving her previous education, along with a recommendation letter from the teacher and a motivation letter, in which she narrated the reasons why she wanted to become a doctor and her future plans.
When Jessica came to Vilnius for studies, she realised that there is a big community of students from Germany studying medicine. It made her feel comfortable from the very beginning. However, she faces the fact that most of them have social bubbles where they communicate with each other, and it may become an issue that needs to be changed. “I had studied for almost two years in Lithuania”, Jessica says, “and I realised that one thing. I live in this foreign country, I have my life here, but I basically do not have any friend that is Lithuanian. So, I took action and connected through Instagram with some Lithuanians. We met, and it turned into the start of something big. After that, I met friends of my Lithuanian friends who were also Lithuanians, then – their friends, and so on. This cluster of connections with locals appeared and started growing bigger”.
One of the most bugging things about moving to another country is the language barrier. However, Jessica says she does not feel it, as in big cities a lot of people speak English. “In Vilnius, almost everyone speaks English, especially young Lithuanians. All of my Lithuanian friends have been abroad somewhere for a long time, so that is really interesting to see that they all speak perfect English. But I understand that because I want to become a doctor, I need to learn Lithuanian, as, I think, in local hospitals, patients might only speak it or Russian”.
Jessica’s communicability not only reflects her aspiration to meet new local friends. She also mentors first-year students and helps them to adapt to the new country. Moreover, Jessica has an Instagram account and YouTube vlog, where she shares her experiences of being an international medical student in Lithuania. “It is amusing to do that, to be socially active on my Instagram. I also chat with a lot of aspiring students who want to apply to VU or to other universities, or just want to study abroad in general. I really enjoy that, and for some reason, it calms me down. It is like some form of meditation for me”, says Jessica.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the studies at Vilnius University were moved online. According to Jessica, first, it was quite challenging to adapt to a new way of studying. Still, the university managed to make this process more comfortable and less stressful. However, some practical courses were moved to other semesters, as it is impossible to teach them online. “I think our university is doing a really great job. I really love how they care about the students even though we have the pandemic going on. They talk to the government they talk to their students. The first-year students got emails saying that the university has prepared everything for their arrival, and we really want students to come. I really appreciate this, especially because I work with the first-year students and it is very nice to see that the university cares”.
Speaking of the future plans, Jessica admits that recently they have changed. “Earlier, I was absolutely sure that after I finish my studies, I will go back to Germany – as most German students do – and will be working as a doctor there. Now I do not feel that certain about my plans. I imagine myself staying in Lithuania. So, I am thinking about a research career or maybe becoming a professor and start teaching international students at Vilnius University”, Jessica shares her plans. “I think being a professor at the university would fulfil me, and it would become a perfect connection between my profession in medicine and my passion for interacting with people. That kind of career is my big dream”.