KTU Student Felix Ebberg: Personal Experience Is More Important than Studies
Felix Ebberg from Dortmund University of Applied Sciences studied informatics at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) for six months. ‘I will definitely come back here. I already have experience of living in Lithuania. And once I have the education I may even be willing to start my professional career here’, says Ebberg, a KTU study exchange student from Germany.
How did you choose KTU for study exchange?
I wanted to study abroad and was considering Australia, but then I realised how expensive it was. I have studied in Finland through Erasmus exchange programme where I met students from other countries, and also from Lithuania. One of my teachers mentioned the possibility of studying at KTU as Dortmund University of Applied Sciences has just signed collaboration agreement with your university. I thought: ‘Why not? I may as well be the first student to come here’.
What were your first impressions?
It was good to see my old friends whom I met in Finland. I really enjoyed the language course which took place during the first three weeks of my arrival: I have learned to order things at a café, to top up my account, to have basic conversations. I can even compliment girls!
Good to know that it is possible to learn so much in such a short time. Our language is complicated.
It is complicated. And the language course is not enough to learn it – you have to speak to people. Now I can understand people when they talk slowly. For example, I can understand presentations if the presenter talks slowly (of course, the slides also help). I have noticed that when I try to speak Lithuanian, people act friendlier. I’ve been even told that my accent sounds a little bit like Panevėžys accent. It’s funny, because when I tried to speak Lithuanian in Panevėžys, no one could understand me.
Young Germans usually speak very good English. What is you impression on Lithuanian students with regard to English language skills?
I would say that Lithuanians speak as good English as I do and sometimes even better. During my time here I have found two new friends and both of them speak perfect English. Also, I could speak in my native language with them as they speak German as well.
What do you think about studies at KTU?
In general studying in Germany is more demanding, from my experience. However, here, at KTU, I had an opportunity to attend a really interesting Technology Entrepreneurship module where we had teachers from different countries around the world. It was a really good course. With an international students’ team we created a technological project and pitched it. The team chose my idea for pitching. It was an idea for an app that enabled to pay for services, bus fares, etc. with your smart phone. Although there are solutions like this, but they are not popular, at least, not in German market. As far as I’ve seen, the Lithuanian apps are not easy to use and to understand. So, we offered a better solution.
What do you think of KTU students? Are they different from the students at your home university?
Of course they are different – I attended lectures with international students and they all were from different countries and from various cultures. However, I have more friends among Lithuanians than among international students. Lithuanians are very friendly; you can talk about serious things and also have fun with them. I have learned many new things here.
What is the lesson you’ve learned here, in Kaunas?
In my opinion, personal experience is much more important than studies. The six months here in Kaunas gave experience which I couldn’t have gained anywhere else. The time here made me understand that I love studying abroad. Now I know that I can just move to another country and study there, that I can live anywhere. This is a huge asset to my personal development. As my university has the cooperation agreement with KTU, I think I’ll come back here, for my master studies, possibly.
What did you do here on your free time?
I travelled a lot, I even visited Sankt Petersburg and Moscow. In Lithuania I visited Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Druskininkai, Trakai, Vilnius, Palanga, Nida. As I am quite tall and I don’t like planes (I need to pay extra to have enough space), I came in a car. This gave me more opportunities. And on my way back I’ll visit Poland as well.
What was your biggest discovery? What did surprise you?
I was surprised that there were so many people downtown. For example, Kaunas Old town is bursting with life – there are so many people you can hardly pass through. I have never experienced this in Dortmund, which is almost twice as large as Kaunas, but completely different. Nature-wise I was surprised to find out the beautiful sand dunes in Nida. When I first saw them I thought: ‘Wow, that is really something!’ I didn’t expect to see anything as magnificent here.
My time in Kaunas has taught me that I should enjoy life more and not to think too much about what I’ll do in future, what my life or my job will be. I found out that I want to have a job that I will enjoy, otherwise – it’s no point doing it. Also, these six months showed me that it’s fun to travel. I think I’ll travel a lot in future.
Talking about future – what are your plans?
I am an informatics student, but I don’t enjoy sitting in front of computer screen and programming all the time. I think that eventually I’ll go to business informatics and will choose career in project management. I already have some experience and skills in this field. It is quite possible that I’ll look for job here, in Lithuania as you have IT companies here. I already have experience of living here and I will have the education, so, why not?