Discovering Lithuania for Sofiia, KTU’s New Media Language Ukrainian student
“I like it here in Lithuania, it is really calm and peaceful,” states Sofiia Boichenko, a final year student at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) from Ukraine, studying New Media Language and aiming to work as a marketing specialist in the future.
After high school, Sofiia had multiple options to choose from when it came to pursuing her higher education. However, from all of the other possible choices in Europe, Lithuania stood out the most for her.
The New Media Language program offered at KTU was especially eye-catching for Sofiia as it offered a broad range of subjects to study, such as linguistics, media, design and foreign languages. Including Swedish language, which Sofiia was always keen on exploring. The wideness of this program gave Sofiia the possibility of expanding her knowledge and skills in various fields.
Another key factor, which influenced Sofiia choosing Lithuania, was the affordability of studying in Lithuania compared to other European countries. Lithuania was the most attractive proposition if compared the cost-effectiveness to other European countries.
Embracing the Unexpected: Surprises and Challenges
Before arriving to study in Lithuania, Sofiia had previously travelled to Vilnius and admits to holding certain expectations based on that visit. She anticipated a more diverse and western-like European mentality.
“I had an idealized picture after visiting Vilnius before. I guess I was expecting people to be more different and European,” says Sofiia.
As well, Sofiia encountered a fair share of challenges as an international student. The most difficult challenge having limited access to take specific classes due to them being available only in Lithuanian language. Although she did not expect such issues before arriving to study in Lithuania, she recognized that similar challenges are common for a foreign student in many European universities and that it is important to take up these challenges and turn them into a possibility to develop resilience rather than dwell over it.
However, one of the most unexpected aspects for Sofiia, during her university time, was her own fascination with Lithuania. The peacefulness and tranquility of the country stuck out to Sofiia more than she had expected and made her appreciate Lithuania even more.
“I was always unsatisfied and tried finding something better in other countries. I went to Erasmus in Sweden and Greece, but I still came back to Lithuania, because, after all, I figured out that I prefer Lithuania to both of those countries,” states Sofiia.
Lithuania – A Peaceful Haven with a Strong Cultural Identity
One of the aspects Sofiia adores the most about Lithuania is its calmness, the country’s peaceful atmosphere, with its relatively low population density, which provides an ideal environment for her to focus on her studies and personal growth.
Also, Sofiia deeply appreciates the strong cultural identity that Lithuanians possess, the sense of national pride and commitment for preserving the traditions and heritage of Lithuania. She finds herself inspired by this strong connection to the roots of Lithuanian background and admires the effort Lithuanian people put into cherishing their country’s unique cultural tapestry.
“I like that it is calm, not too many people and that Lithuanians have a strong identity, as well as love for their country,” says Sofiia.
For Sofiia, the cultural richness is most evident in the celebrations of folk festivals, traditional crafts and its cuisine, especially her two favorite dishes: Lithuanian potato sausage and zeppelins.
Lithuania Compared to Other Studying Abroad Options
Sofiia is a Ukrainian student, who does not receive the same financial support as those who began their studies after February 22 of 2023. Looking back on her journey, she admits that she might consider other options, if given the chance to travel back in time, as the opportunity to study in any European university free of charge is extremely exciting.
However, Sofiia also acknowledges that if the invasion would not have happened, and without the possibility of studying anywhere free of charge, Lithuania would still be her preferred choice, as it has the best ratio of affordability, opportunity and a sense of belonging.