December 18, 2018

“Being in Europe gives you so many possibilities” say veterinary medicine students from Lebanon

Sometimes we receive stories about students quite unexpectedly and this case was just that. This story was sent to us by Hicham Sabir, one of our Facebook followers, and we are thankful for his contribution.

Hicham Sabir is a Moroccan European millennial writer, jotting down his travel journal as he is traveling across Europe. In his post “Mushroom Picking in Blockchain Lithuania” Hicham describes his adventures and experiences in several Lithuanian cities – Kaunas, Prienai, Birštonas and Vilnius – as well as some rural areas and secluded national parks.

One of the episodes describes Hicham’s run-in with four exchange students studying veterinary medicine on a five-year program at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas.

It is a long read, but worth it, if you are interested in Lithuania. Or at least check out the excerpt about the students below.

 

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I eventually decided to check out one of the bars on the list Emilija gave me and ended up in Republic. An hour into my beer, I overheard three people in their twenties speaking Arabic with a middle eastern accent. “We are from Lebanon,” Andy smiled.

Ending up in Kaunas from Valladolid on Erasmus already seemed unlikely, but Lebanon sounded like a world away. They reminded me of the Three Musketeers. Or rather, of a peculiar union between the three musketeers and Lara Croft. Jose, the only woman of the group radiated a conquering energy and a genuine smile that wrinkled the corner of her eyes. Andy, Mike and Patrick seemed to be on an endless teasing contest, throwing at each other the kinds of jokes you wouldn’t want to be taken out of context. They looked like they had known each other since forever.

“We are exchange students”, Andy continued. “We’re on a five-year program at the at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas to become veterinarians. Lithuania is a good trade off because the university here is very good and looking for exchange programs from Lebanon is tricky: living is expensive, tuition fees are high, and degrees are not always recognized.”

We chatted for a while about the difficulties they had had studying veterinary medicine. “The world is going mad, and no one cares about the wildlife in Lebanon. I’m not sure where I want to live or study later,” Mike added, “But being in Europe gives you so many possibilities it’s hard to project yourself into the future.”

There was one thing however that they all agreed on: they weren’t going to settle in Lithuania after their studies.

“It’s great to study here but Lithuanians are very different, and I need a place that feels like home.” Mike added. “We’ve only lived here for two months, but it’s been hard to connect with locals. People are nice — I don’t feel any racism — but they’re different.”

“But still, there are little things that are surprisingly difficult for us to do.” Andy interrupted. “Like, it’s very hard to get into nightclubs”

“Yes, but it’s not really racism, it’s a problem for all foreigners. It doesn’t even matter if you’re with a girl or not, the bouncer won’t let you in.”

They talked about their first trips, destinations decided by the price of tickets or the secret lovers they had met. Destinations like Barcelona and Italy sounded exotic, but for now, Copenhagen was at the top of their list.

I asked Jose how it felt to live in Lithuania as a woman, in a group of men, coming from Lebanon. She barely understood the meaning of my question and was interrupted by Patrick: “She’s special, she’s not really a woman, she is more like a guy!” I choked at the mansplaining, but Jose laughed. “Yeah, I’m not your typical girl” she nodded. “I always felt free in Lebanon, and I still do here. I don’t care what people think, I just do what I want”. And right now, that was taking on Kaunas, Lithuania and Europe and saving the wildlife.

 

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Source – “Mushroom Picking in Blockchain Lithuania“.