July 3, 2024

Fresh out of KTU. Johannes’s journey from Cape Town to Kaunas for study and adventure

While for some, the choice to study at home seems natural, for Johannes Coetsee, it felt too safe and lacked adventure. “I saw generations before me just study, get a job and never move even one town away. Today, we’re very blessed with how connected the world is, so I wanted to take advantage and study internationally,” says Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) graduate.

Originally from Cape Town in South Africa, Johannes not only completed his studies in mechatronics at KTU but has also found a job as a junior software engineer at Cognizant. He plans to stay in Lithuania for at least a couple more years.

“I am very fulfilled with my life and work in Lithuania. As for now, I plan to stay here, build up some work experience, and pursue a master’s degree in computer science. I have applied to KTU, so hopefully, I get to continue my studies here,” says Johannes, a recent bachelor of Mechatronics.

Loved the practicality of classes

Johannes’s professional journey began with an Arduino microcontroller given to him by his father, which sparked his interest in programming and automation. In high school, he participated in competitions, including the national science exhibition, where he won a silver medal for a water-saving irrigation system. “Then I realised how much I loved the process of implementing new ideas from design to manufacturing, programming, and finally presenting,” explains a KTU graduate.

This experience enhanced his passion and led him to pursue a degree in mechatronics – a field that combines mechanics and electronics, where, as Johannes says, ideas are developed from scratch.

One of Johannes's works during his studies
One of Johannes’s works during his studies

While looking for universities in Europe, Johannes chose KTU for its streamlined application process and positive feedback on its mechatronics programme. “I wasted no time and applied,” he says.

Now a KTU graduate, Johannes is glad he made the right choice. “Through my study years, I had various opportunities to use my theoretical knowledge immediately. It seems I made almost everything: a robot hand, an automatic parachute deployment system, and even an auto-guided shopping cart system for visually impaired individuals,” highlights the young professional.

Johannes found KTU to be a perfect fit, with its small class sizes offering guidance from professors and close interaction with classmates.

“I was relieved that there was no need to compete for professors’ help,” says he.

Improved his programming skills at KTU GIFTed Academy

One thing that would have made his experience even better is more programming modules. “But that’s just my personal preference. I did find a solution by being part of the GIFTed Academy. In this talent development programme, you can choose an additional module each semester. I frequently chose modules related to computer science like object-orientated programming or a Java course,” says a fresh-out-of-KTU graduate.

Reflecting on his first impressions of Kaunas, Johannes notes it’s a beautiful city. “It’s just the right size in the sense that everything is a bus or walking distance away. It’s next to two rivers and there are plenty of parks and outdoor activities across the city,” he says.

For him, Kaunas has become not only a great place to study but also a location full of sentiments – he met his best friend and girlfriend here. “I met my long-term girlfriend Maria here three years ago, and we’ve been inseparable since then. As she’s Spanish and I am South African, we’ve been using it as an excuse to travel, visit families, and get to know each other’s culture,” says Johannes.

Want to find out more, what is studying in Lithuania like? Johannes is a Study@KTU AmbassadorChat with him or his pals about anything, related to studies and university life.