July 4, 2024

From Kazakhstan to Lithuania through Malaysia – the story of a young architect, KTU alumna

“I think the best thing I remember about KTU is the community and the number of amazing people I met who became a great part of my life,” says Amina Dautova from Kazakhstan, a graduate of architecture master’s programme at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). After achieving a bachelor’s degree in Malaysia, Amina decided to continue architecture studies in Europe to gain new perspectives.

Even though Amina is from Kazakhstan, she acquired her bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia. After graduation, and gaining some professional experience, she decided to pursue her further studies in Europe, at KTU.

“The European approach to study is completely different compared to Asian schools. After some research, I found a few universities that provided studies in English (that was one of the main criteria for me at the time). KTU, apart from providing education in English had a pretty interesting programme for a master’s in architecture. It caught my attention,” says Amina.

Amina graduated from KTU in June 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though her graduation, due to the pandemic, lacked the usual grandeur, she remembers her studies with fondness.

To the University, she is grateful not only for its friendly community – the people she met here are still Amina’s friends – but also for the up-to-date study curriculum. 

“The studies at KTU helped to get a new perspective on the architectural field, to see different aspects of building construction and different possibilities of involvement in the projects,” says a young professional from Kazakhstan.

Learning different software during studies proved very useful

Amina is currently working as a Building Information Modelling (BIM)/ Revit modeller at CSD Engineers, an environmental engineering company providing solutions for the built environment. The key services of her department are to create VR models of projects, 3D models of existing buildings or future projects, and creating 3D printed models. Amina’s job is to provide digital services to her team.

“The best part of my job is the variety of tasks and responsibilities I have. Every day I learn something new,” says the young architect, KTU graduate.

Amina admits that at work she is operating the same software that she has been learning to use during her classes at KTU. The young architect believes working with different software programmes during her studies proved extremely useful in her current work.

“We had a lot of classes about new technologies and how we can integrate them into the current construction situation, as well as how to properly preserve old historical architecture,” says Amina, describing her experience studying architecture at KTU.

Graduating during the first wave of COVID-19 made finding a job challenging for Amina.

“For some time, I was working as a freelancer but then I found an engineering company who was interested in my set of skills and wanted to try to integrate an architect into their workflow,” says the KTU graduate.

One of the biggest challenges for Amina in Lithuania was acquiring her work visa, as many companies are uncertain about visa-providing processes. However, Amina assures that it is not impossible, and larger companies have more experience employing international staff.

“A lot of people think that language will be a big challenge. But most of the large companies require English. So that wasn’t an issue for me,” says a KTU alumna from Kazakhstan about her journey of acquiring a job in Lithuania.

Misses family, friends, food and mountains

After graduation, Amina was motivated to stay in Lithuania, stating “I wanted to explore Lithuania and all the possibilities it can offer.”

The young professional confesses that her two favourite things about Lithuania are the people and the summertime. Despite the common stereotypes of Lithuanians being cold and reserved, Amina believes that “under that “Baltic thick skin” they are very friendly, kind, and fun people.”

“Summertime is a whole different story here. The amount of greenery, lakes, festivals, and other different activities is very amusing and exciting,” says Amina.

Both countries, Lithuania and Kazakhstan, were occupied by the Soviet Union. Amina admits that the similarities left from the occupation years are still there.

“The food in groceries, cartoons people watched growing up, markets, and some of the architecture, especially residential neighbourhoods, is very similar,” says Amina.

Unlike in Lithuania, in Kazakhstan, one does not need to wait for summer to get good weather – in Amina’s hometown, the sun shines even in winter. Weather is not the only aspect she misses from home, though.

“Family, friends, Kazakh cuisine, and, of course, mountains. My hometown, Almaty, has a Swiss-like mountain landscape, which is the best part of it,” says a KTU architecture graduate.

Amina is happy with her life in Lithuania – she has a lot of friends, and is enjoying her routines and relationships.

“My plan for now is to stay here for as long as I can,” says KTU alumna from Kazakhstan.

For people from other countries looking for a job in Lithuania, she has one piece of advice – not be discouraged by negative answers, and to keep trying.

“Don’t be afraid of moving to a different country. In the beginning, it will be difficult, but the new experience and adventures are totally worth it,” encourages Amina Dautova, KTU architecture graduate from Kazakhstan.