July 23, 2024

Student from Ecuador after internship in Lithuania: my career started to take shape

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) is one of the ten Lithuanian universities participating in the UPinLT programme designed to help international students in Lithuania get paid internships and successfully integrate into the Lithuanian job market.

Among the hundreds of students who have benefited from this EU-funded programme is Daniela Espinosa Chauvin, a student of New Media Language at KTU.

The girl from Ecuador has been studying at KTU for three years and this year decided to do an additional internship at Biomapas, a pharmaceutical company. She says she learned about the UPinLT programme from the university newsletter.

“What caught my attention was that the competition was only for international students. So, I decided to apply too,” she recalls, admitting that she has been worrying that it might not be easy for her to find an internship in Lithuania as an international student.

However, just one month after submitting her first documents, she got the internship place at Biomapas. When Daniela talks about her decision to join this organisation, she points to two factors that influenced her choice: her study field and the company’s values.

“I chose Biomapas because it was one of the few companies that offered positions in the field of communication to KTU students, and the company’s vision and mission attracted me. As I got more acquainted, I realised that the company’s approach matched my own and what was relevant for my development,” recalls the student.

Felt like a real part of the team

“Now I feel confident in my position, even though at the beginning I had a lot of worries, I didn’t know how and what to do and I was afraid of making mistakes,” says Daniela. The company’s team and the attitude towards the trainees helped to dispel these doubts, she notes.

“They welcomed me into their company as if I were really a new employee and not just a trainee, which made me very happy,” says Daniela.

The company provided her with working equipment and introduced her to all the systems used at work, confidentiality agreements, fringe benefits, responsibilities and the company’s culture – she was able to participate in events and use all the office amenities, from the café to the roof terrace.

She was also impressed by the company staff’s English skills and their openness.

“One of the first impressions I had when I visited the company’s office was that all the staff spoke excellent English and were extremely friendly and attentive. From the very beginning, I was particularly impressed with the relationship with my colleagues in the sourcing team. I know that I can always talk to them not only about work or internships but also about personal issues. I appreciate this kind of working environment – I don’t feel too formal there,” says the KTU student.

Career shaping experience

When choosing this internship placement, the KTU student admits that her expectations were not focused on the internship itself, but rather on herself.

“I was hoping to get a better idea of what I wanted to do in the future. This internship has helped me achieve just that. Firstly, because I got to work in a slightly different field than what is directly related to the education I am pursuing. Tasks included screening and recruiting suitable candidates, assisting in job interviews, overseeing the company’s internal supplier systems, and creating content for Latin American countries. This experience not only enriched my CV but also gave me practical knowledge on how to handle job interviews,” says the KTU student from Ecuador.

Although she says she does not yet know exactly what she will do after graduation, Daniela has felt that her career path has become much clearer in the last two months.

“I already have an idea of which work activities I like more and which I like less. If I get an offer to work in a similar field in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept,” she says.

When choosing this internship placement, the KTU student admits that her expectations were not focused on the internship itself, but rather on herself.

“I was hoping to get a better idea of what I wanted to do in the future. This internship has helped me achieve just that. Firstly, because I got to work in a slightly different field than what is directly related to the education I am pursuing. Tasks included screening and recruiting suitable candidates, assisting in job interviews, overseeing the company’s internal supplier systems, and creating content for Latin American countries. This experience not only enriched my CV but also gave me practical knowledge on how to handle job interviews,” says the KTU student from Ecuador.

Although she says she does not yet know exactly what she will do after graduation, Daniela has felt that her career path has become much clearer in the last two months.

“I already have an idea of which work activities I like more and which I like less. If I get an offer to work in a similar field in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept,” she says.

The salary helped fund a trip home to Ecuador

As for the reasons for taking part in UPinLT, Daniela highlights three main aspects: finding a traineeship suitable for foreigners, gaining experience there, and getting a decent reward for the work done. The latter aspect is a crucial part of a fair working relationship, she says.

“I think internships should be paid because students work in companies part-time, sometimes even full-time. It is at this stage that many students start their independent lives, and they need money, work experience and time. Balancing all three can be a challenge, but paid internships help to take the first steps towards independent living and, at the same time, boost the motivation of interns and open more development opportunities,” says the KTU New Media Language student from Ecuador.

According to her, paid internships are undoubtedly a huge help for students.

“I chose this internship not only to gain experience that would help me in the future but also because I knew it would contribute to my dream of returning to Ecuador to be with my family this summer. I am confident that the opportunities provided by this programme will help me achieve both my professional and personal ambitions,” says Daniela.

July 24, 2024

Azad’s story of navigating the skies and education

It is no secret – students who are actively involved in a variety of activities during their studies are successful. One of them is a recent Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) alumnus Azad Ismayilov from Azerbaijan. Over the past six years, he not only contributed to the name of KTU with his research and studies but also enhanced the university’s reputation through his activities and volunteering. Now, Azad has a successful career in Lithuania and a few more dreams on his mind – one being PhD studies.

Azad at the graduation ceremony

Coming from Azerbaijan, a country known for its warm people, rich cuisine and culture, Azad has found a new home in a green and cosy Lithuania. The purpose of this relocation was his desire to learn, which Azad found easily achievable at KTU. Here he completed his bachelor’s in Aviation Engineering and master’s in Industrial Engineering and Management.

Scholarship enhanced motivation

Azad’s journey to KTU began with a dream of studying in Europe. He was drawn to KTU’s wide range of study programmes and found Aviation Engineering particularly appealing, as aviation has fascinated him since childhood. “I was so glad to discover that KTU offered this programme in English,” he recalls.

Winning a Lithuanian State scholarship further increased his motivation to continue learning and sealed his decision to pursue a master’s degree.

“The scholarship made it obvious that KTU and master’s studies in Lithuania were the right choices for me,” says a fresh-out-of-KTU graduate.

“I believe that all the volunteering and extracurricular activities helped me win the scholarship,” says Azad, thus confirming the well-known truth that university years are not only about studying.

Azad’s decision to choose Industrial Engineering and Management as a master’s programme was driven by his desire to enhance both his engineering and managerial skills. “Engineers with management skills are in high demand due to new industry standards,” he explains. For Azad, it was important not only to know the technical aspects but also to learn how to effectively manage processes and people.

A fresh-out-of-KTU graduate Azad Ismayilov
A fresh-out-of-KTU graduate Azad Ismayilov

Azad emphasises the fact that the University contributed a lot to his broad experience: “A warm and helpful KTU community made my transition smooth. I felt welcomed and everybody was ready to help me”.

Improvement over time

Despite living in Lithuania for six years, a young specialist still remembers how cosy and calm this country made him feel in the very beginning. “I am glad that I still feel same way here as I felt 6 years ago. I enjoy living here” says the young professional.

Over the years, Azad has witnessed significant improvements at KTU, from enhanced university premises and labs to a better quality of education. “KTU is not the same as it was six years ago, it has evolved, and I’m happy to see these positive changes,” he adds. The vibrant international community and the inclusive atmosphere at KTU have also been highlights of his experience.

Continuing Airworthiness Engineer Azad
Continuing Airworthiness Engineer Azad

Currently, Azad is working as a Continuing Airworthiness Engineer at FL Technics, an international aviation company in Lithuania. His role involves creating Aircraft Maintenance Programmes and ensuring aircraft reliability. “It is a crucial aspect of aviation operations, so it is nice to feel valued and respected in my company,” he notes.

Azad’s passion for research remains strong, and he plans to continue his research activities in industrial maintenance. His long-term goal is to become a researcher and obtain a PhD, potentially at KTU. “I am also thinking about being a lecturer and sharing my knowledge about aviation, aircraft, and industrial maintenance with future generations,” he says, emphasising his passion to both professional and academic activities.

Find your dream studies here.

July 17, 2024

How international university graduates carved out successful careers in Lithuania

They like cepelinai and šaltibarščiai but miss food from home, enjoy the four seasons, but agree that Lithuanian weather is very different from what they’re used to, they like Vilnius but prefer Kaunas. They arrived here for studies, found jobs and stayed for years after graduation.

The stories of international Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) graduates are inspiring – they teach a lesson of following one’s dream.

“I got here five years ago while I was looking for a change in my career. The road led me to Lithuania, where I did a master’s degree in mechatronics at KTU,” says Konstantinos Loukas from Greece.

A mechanical engineer by first education, Kostas decided to continue his studies in mechatronics after several years of professional experience. The changes in industry made him think about returning to the university, and he decided to give KTU a chance.

Five years later, he is a project manager at a Lithuanian company Machinery Assist, responsible for planning, installing, troubleshooting and maintaining woodworking equipment.

“It’s a nice place to live,” says Kostas, naming love for basketball as the quality Greeks and Lithuanians have in common.

KTU mechatronics graduate Konstantinos Loukas at his workplace, in Kaunas.

KTU alumni work as aircraft engineers and social entrepreneurs

Azad Ismayilov from Azerbaijan came to Lithuania almost six years ago to study aviation engineering bachelor’s. Today, he is a double graduate of KTU, also holding a master’s in industrial engineering and management. Azad works as a CAMO engineer at FL Technics, an international aircraft maintenance service provider, headquartered in Vilnius.

As a part of the continuing airworthiness management team, a KTU alumnus from Azerbaijan prepares the documentation with the tasks to be performed, so the aircraft is safe to fly.

“We share a big part of the history with Lithuanians; therefore, some cities and buildings here look the same,” says Azad. He admits missing his family and friends, though.

KTU graduate, aviation engineer Azad Ismayilov at his workplace in Vilnius.

His fellow citizen Narmin Aliyeva longs for a walk in the narrow streets of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. KTU informatics bachelor’s and master’s graduate, Narmin is a real busy bee: she is the founder of SPEAK Lithuania, an initiative awarded by the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, a quizmaster, organising pub quizzes everywhere she travels, and a social entrepreneur.

“SPEAK Lithuania is a language and culture platform where anyone can join and share their language with others. At the same time, they can learn any language for free,” Narmin explains the initiative, which started in Portugal.

In Kaunas, SPEAK Lithuania language groups are meeting in different places, one of them being the Kaunas Artists’ House. After living in Lithuania for almost 10 years, Narmin speaks Lithuanian and is actively involved in the local cultural life.

“Use all the opportunities that you have at the university, try everything out and see what’s best for you,” she advises the current and future KTU students.

KTU graduate, social entrepreneur SPEAK Lithuania founder Narmin Aliyeva.

Juggling researcher’s career, job and hobbies

Fallon Manhangaa KTU civil engineering graduate says that she has been living here for so long that it is hard to spot any differences between Lithuania and her native Zimbabwe – she prefers focusing on similarities instead.

“I love that this is a predominantly Christian nation, and how people here value family,” says Fallon. She successfully juggles her job as a senior operations coordinator at a software development company in Vilnius and her PhD studies at the KTU Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

“I work with self-healing concrete, it’s quite something,” admits Fallon, showing around her lab.

Fallon Manhanga, a civil engineering graduate and current PhD student at KTU.

Girinath Anandhan, a KTU mechatronics alumnus from India is also a man of many talents. During the day, he works as an accounts receivables clerk at Cencora, and after work, he creates his podcast on all things space.

“Never give up on your goals and dreams because the easiest thing in life is to give up. The hardest is to get going. Believe in yourself and go forward. It’s going to be good,” encourages Girinath, or Astro Giri on Instagram.

Emil William Thattakath, who grew up in Oman with Indian parents, has been living in Lithuania for almost 12 years. “Four seasons, beautiful nature, wonderful people,” he lists the reasons for enjoying life in Lithuania. Not, the fuel prices, which are “crazy high”, though.

Working as a commercial consultant at a software solutions company Mygom.tech, he enjoys bicycling in his free time. “Never be afraid to be unique and special,” Emil encourages those, who are just starting their professional careers.

KTU mechatronics graduate Girinath and technology management graduate Emil in their offices in Vilnius and Kaunas.

July 9, 2024

A chemical engineer from Syria is happy with her competence portfolio after studies

“While studying at KTU, I became more and more interested in innovations that are being developed under the topic of climate action,” says Elessar Mhana, a fresh-out-of-KTU graduate of Chemical Technology and Engineering from Syria.

Today, holding the diploma in her hands, with an offered internship at Jülich Research Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy in Germany, she plans to pursue a master’s at Kaunas University of Technology, an Erasmus+ study exchange semester and a hydrogen systems career-focused final thesis internship abroad.

“I want to develop a career in the chemical systems’ design and simulations while pursuing an area of my interest – hydrogen systems,” says Elessar.

Affordable studies in English – at KTU

Originally from Syria, Elessar graduated from a high school in Côte d’Ivoire. For her bachelor’s degree, she chose KTU as “it has some of the most modern and largest laboratories in the EU while being among the most affordable English studies options.”

She has always been fond of chemistry and interested in learning the different parameters and methods that are used to control and design chemical reactions. Although, initially, the young chemical engineer wanted to research fuels used in spaceships and dreamed of joining the space industry, the knowledge gained during the studies, made her change her plans.

“I found it fascinating how broad the areas of chemical engineering are, and through the sustainable development module at KTU, I gathered more interest in sustainable technologies,” explains Elessar.

During her two-year semester project in fuel cells and an internship in flow chemistry, her dream career started to take shape – now she is most interested in working with the development of hydrogen systems.

Lithuanian cities never cease to surprise you

She mostly valued the varied learning opportunities at the university – combining the main studies with extra interdisciplinary classes, internships, semester projects, part-time tutoring, extracurriculars, volunteering and conferences.

“There are multiple opportunities for building academic and soft skills, which was very beneficial and allowed me to put together a strong CV by the time I graduated,” says KTU chemical engineering graduate.

One thing she would have changed in her studies is having larger classes, as “knowing more people in your field allows more space for creativity, discovering opportunities, and connections.”

Elessar is one of those students who started university during the pandemic, in 2020. The beginning of her academic journey was not easy, she admits – the country was in lockdown until spring with limited activities available after classes. However, by the summertime, she was already loving the greenery and nature of Lithuania.

“Living here year after year, I understood that you will always end up discovering something new and exciting around the corner if you look closer. Kaunas and Vilnius never cease to surprise you – the lakes, forests, hidden gems of the city, the cosy events, the easy-going atmosphere is something I grew to love,” says Elessar.

She hasn’t decided yet, where her next endeavour will take her, but a young professional plans to go wherever she can best fulfil her career ambitions – in Lithuania or abroad.

Find your study program in Lithuania here.

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.

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.

June 27, 2024

KTU student from Ukraine enjoyed the opportunities of Erasmus+ studies – this was a real adventure

“You must say bonjour to everyone you meet and smile as you say it because otherwise, people might not talk to you,” says KTU student Alex Korzh from Ukraine, who has just got back from his exchange semester in Nancy, France.

Alex’s Erasmus+ journey started at the Go Abroad Fair, organised by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) annually.

“I dreamt about France for a long time, and I had been studying French for seven years before I applied to the exchange programme,” says Alex. However, Alex admits having doubts about making the final decision: “I thought about it a lot. I was worried about all the paperwork and the fact that I had just started to settle in Lithuania,” says a second-year KTU New Media Language student from Ukraine.

Half a year ago, Alex flew to France with the Erasmus+ exchange programme. However, after being encouraged by the University’s Coordinator for International Relations, Alex embarked on a journey and chose Nancy for his half-year stay in France.

“It’s a very nice city with a lot of art nouveau architecture – this style creates a sense of majesty. For me, the golden gates at the entrance to Nancy’s main square of Stanislas, is a perfect embodiment of a grandeur image that comes to mind when thinking of France,” remembers Alex.

He says that although France is quite an expensive country to live in and there are also a few cultural differences that one must get used to; the Erasmus+ exchange programme is an exceptional opportunity for those who want to know a foreign country better and to grow as personalities. Alex says that he now has a lot of pleasant memories, warm feelings, a dream come true, and is way more confident in himself, as well as in his French.

Studies in French-style

Before taking off to France, Alex studied in Kaunas for one year. When comparing New Media Language studies at KTU and studies in France, Alex mentions that they were different – both in the study curricula and methods applied. At KTU, students learn more about media theories, develop their IT skills, and gain BA+ competencies from their third year of study onwards.

“Here, in Kaunas, students are free to create and show off their knowledge. There are a lot of group works, communicating and technologies play a key role,” says Alex.

In France, however, studies are more theory- and academia-driven, so there is less room for creativity. Alex was amazed by psycholinguistic classes: “It was very interesting to learn how the brain and memory work”. Alex was impressed by how his professor of psycholinguistics was able to engage students in their studies:

“We would often see examples of the famous actor Ryan Gosling. I found this method of learning effective as it made the lectures more memorable. Once, this professor organised a tour of the university and the archives of linguistics, where we got to see some of the oldest dictionaries in Europe.”

Moreover, the class on language learning was beneficial for Alex personally. He has been tutoring people in languages for several years and is now glad to apply the skills and knowledge gained to his work. “The more speaking – the better. This is the attitude that I have taken away from the lectures. I try not to speak in other languages than the one I am teaching if it is not needed. It is also linked to psycholinguistics closely. Sometimes, I even explain some of the language learning peculiarities to my students that they apply without even realising it,” says Alex.

The goal of mastering the language finally accomplished

It is not a secret that speaking French is a must in France. So, even if it was difficult at first to start speaking, the environment was one of the factors that helped Alex to master his French skills.

“Although I had been learning French for seven years before I went for exchange and I could understand the spoken language in lectures or when talking with the locals, speaking was still quite a challenge for me,” says Alex.

However, as time passed, he stopped worrying about what others might think of him.

“I have spoken to many strangers in French and I finally realised that I am fluent in this language. Probably one of the best moments in France was when a waitress couldn’t tell where I was from based on my accent. She also added that my pronunciation was excellent,” says Alex with a smile.

However, the KTU New Media Language student from Ukraine emphasises that his studies have also contributed significantly to perfecting his French: “I had been learning French morphology, grammar, phonetics, and phonology. I had an opportunity to study French, as native speakers do, and it gave me a deeper insight into the language.”

“In France, you must say bonjour to everyone you meet and smile as you say it because otherwise, people might not talk to you,” says Alex with a smile.

He learnt this on his very first days while trying to buy a bus ticket. “Even after recognising scammers on the street, French people still say bonjour to them. This is a tradition deeply rooted in their culture that must be followed,” says Alex.

Enjoying French joie de vivre

Speaking about the peculiarities of living in France, Alex points out the time of eating, as one of the specific aspects of French culture. “Restaurants, cafés, canteens – all open at 11:30 am and serve food until 1 pm. If you haven’t eaten by this time, you will likely be hungry for the rest of the day because until 7 pm you can only order drinks,” says Alex.

However, the quality of food is a different story altogether: you can find several types of cheese even at the University’s canteen; traditional dishes of Lorraine, such as Lorraine’s quiche or the famous madeleines that originated from France are delicious. Of course, one must not forget the pastries: “There is nothing that compares to French pastry. My friend used to wake up at 6 am every day to buy fresh baguettes. Wherever you go in France, you will find a traditional bakery, named after its founder.”

Alex admits that he didn’t have a lot of free time as he used the weekends and bank holidays, of which the French have quite a few, for travelling. Several trips to Paris, Versailles, towns surrounding Lorraine, Luxembourg, and even London – these are just a few places that Alex has visited.

From them all, Alex pinpoints Strasbourg, called the capital of Christmas: “It truly seems like a fairytale or a movie. When I think about Christmas – Strasbourg is what I imagine.”

He says that people come to this Christmas capital from all around Europe; so, for those wanting a cosier and slower experience, Alex recommends visiting the city of Colmar. It is also often called the Little Venice just with German-like architecture.

Alex is delighted to have used the opportunity to spend half a year abroad and encourages everyone to take part in study exchange: “Don’t be afraid and be adventurous. Don’t worry about what others might think of you and be full of joy for life (or, as the French say, joie de vivre). Enjoy the croissants and be ready to make a ton of new friends!”

Dreaming of studies that would allow you to discover the world and yourself? Lithuania is your gateway to Europe. Choose your study program here.

June 27, 2024

Fresh out of KTU: Ivan from Colombia moved halfway across the world to chase his dream

“It fascinates me how we, civil engineers, can transform seemingly impossible ideas of architects into reality,” says Ivan Ramirez Triana, a fresh-out-of-KTU graduate from Colombia. Being only 16, he travelled more than 10 thousand kilometres from Bogota to Kaunas to pursue studies at Kaunas University of Technology.

Today, Ivan is a proud young professional who holds a diploma from KTU and works as a junior civil engineer in a local company.

“It was a transformative journey, both academically and personally. The studies helped me to excel in my field of civil engineering, and on a personal level, living independently in Lithuania, and navigating daily life in a new language and environment has taught me life skills and strengthened my confidence,” says Ivan, a recent Bachelor of Civil Engineering.

Is exploring career opportunities internationally

He says that at the beginning, he was drawn to architecture, captivated by the creativity and design aspects of the field. However, gradually, he grew more interested in the scientific and technical aspects behind these designs.

“The blend of creativity and science in civil engineering is truly inspiring,” says a KTU graduate from Colombia.

Ivan is already using the knowledge and skills gained during his studies in practice, working as a junior structural engineer. He is happy to learn from his colleagues and supervisors and plans to gain more experience in the field before embarking on the next academic journey.

“I plan to pursue a master’s in civil engineering, and if life allows me to stay in Lithuania, I will choose KTU, given my positive experiences here. However, the direction of my studies –whether focusing on the structural aspects or the more technological elements – will be influenced by the experiences I gain in the workplace,” says the young professional.

Although he now works for a Lithuanian company, Ivan does not rule out relocating elsewhere:

“I am open to possibilities. I have opportunities in the USA and Lithuania, and I am also considering returning to Slovakia, where I had an exceptional internship experience and fell in love with the country.”

A pleasant surprise – a scholarship to cover tuition

How did a boy from Bogota end up thousands of kilometres away from home, in Kaunas? It was a bit of a surprise for Ivan too, he says. His journey started with a university fair in Bogota, where Ivan went with a classmate and his father.

“Little did I know that this decision would change my life,” says Ivan with a smile.

During the fair, his classmate’s father urged him to look into KTU’s programmes, as he was impressed by the university’s presentation.

“Until then, Lithuania wasn’t even on my radar,” admits Ivan. However, after checking out the KTU booth at the fair, he was impressed – both by the study programmes and opportunities offered, and by the people he met.

“I was particularly impressed by how welcoming and supportive the university staff was, making the idea of moving halfway across the world seem less daunting. After the event I called my mother and said that I already know what I’d be studying,” remembers Ivan.

Although he entered the university during the pandemic, which was stressful for everyone, Ivan remembers the university’s ability to cope with the challenges with awe: “The transition to online learning was very smooth; this not only improved accessibility but also significantly enhanced my learning experience.”

The best news waited for Ivan after his first semester at KTU – he was awarded the scholarship for excellent study results: “This unexpected recognition not only helped me financially but also motivated me to study harder. It became a personal goal to me to excel in the academic requirements.”

Prepared well for a civil engineering career

What was the biggest shock upon arrival? Climate and people, as in Lithuania both are somewhat cooler.

“The weather was notably colder, which was a new experience, but surprisingly, I enjoyed the change – the distinct seasons offered a different kind of beauty,” says Ivan, who has been living here for almost five years.

While Lithuanians are not as outwardly warm as Colombians, they are friendly and hospitable, once you get to know them: “I always felt welcomed and respected, making adapting and learning from them easier.”

On the other hand, Ivan does not spare praise for the University staff – from administration to teachers – who are always willing to go the extra mile to help students. Although the studies are well organised, with great integration of technologies, which make assignment submissions and other processes smoother, language accessibility to the international students could be improved, Ivan thinks.

“However, my overall experience at KTU has been very enriching. The supportive environment and the university’s commitment to innovation prepared me well for my future career as a civil engineer,” says a fresh-out-of-KTU graduate from Colombia.

Looking back, he sees his journey at KTU and Kaunas as a great adventure, which broadened his academic horizons and deepened his understanding of different cultures and perspectives. The experience has been a testament to the transformative power of stepping outside one’s comfort zone and embracing new challenges.

Looking for studies to fulfil your dreams? Choose your study program in Lithuania here.

June 11, 2024

Emanuel Galati: Academic Journey From Studies in Milan to Vilnius University

Emanuel Galati, an Italian student, started his academic education by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Banking, Finance and Insurance Sciences at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. He then was offered ‘Erasmus+’ scholarships to pursue his master studies either in Lithuania or Brazil and, finally, was admitted to partial studies at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Vilnius University (VU).

Before the ‘Erasmus+’ Programme, Emanuel knew very little of Lithuania. However, during his studies in Milan, he had already heard and read about Vilnius University and was eager to learn more about student life in Vilnius and the historic Alma Mater. The first impression turned out to be very positive.

‘Vilnius is a beautiful city, and I was particularly enchanted by the weather. Coming from southern Italy, Apulia, where it’s much hotter, the 15–20-degree temperatures in August suited me perfectly. I found the city beautiful and bustling with life,’ says Emanuel.

He also enjoyed the University, especially the practice-oriented studies in finance and insurance mathematics. After six months in Lithuania, Emanuel eventually decided to extend his stay. Now, he plans to finish his master studies here and exchange the Italian degree for a degree from VU.

‘I was impressed by the practical nature of studies in Lithuania. In Italy, we focused more on theory rather than practice. The dynamic teaching methods employed by the VU lecturers and the entire study programme, conducted in English, provide a richer and more engaging learning experience compared to my previous studies in the homeland,’ notes the Italian.

According to Emanuel, VU and the city itself now have a special place in his heart, as this is where he made lasting friendships, became a part of the community, and immersed himself in vibrant academic and city life.

‘In my spare time, I practised three main hobbies: travelling, techno music parties (which are just as fantastic in Vilnius as they are in Berlin), and various sports activities. Through all of them, I met a lot of interesting people who I still keep in touch with’, says the student.

When asked about his post-graduation plans, Emanuel says he hasn’t quite made up his mind yet. ‘I’m still pondering my next steps. Vilnius might become my permanent home or, maybe, I will embark on a new international adventure. The future is open to possibilities’, concludes Emanuel.

May 23, 2024

KTU student from Spain: Lithuania – among the best countries in Europe

“From a very young age, I was interested in understanding how things work and ‘the why’ was very important to me,” says Nieves Ganghe Pedros Chamorro, a KTU chemical technology and engineering student. Coming from Seville in the South of Spain, she enjoys the cooler Lithuanian climate, four seasons and greenery of Kaunas in summer.

Nieves Ganghe from Spain at KTU studies chemical technology and engineering

Nieves Ganghe, who has been living in Kaunas for three years now, says that the changes in the city are noticeable – the streets and the bus stops are renovated, and there are more and more places to spend time after classes.

“Kaunas is a very comfortable city, small enough to move freely around with public transportation, but sufficiently big to have all types of places that students need or enjoy, such as malls, restaurants, museums and party places,” says a Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) student from Spain.

She believes that soon, Lithuania will become one of the most attractive countries in Europe.

Loves the practicality of her studies

Before coming to KTU, Nieves Ganghe was studying chemical engineering at the University of Seville. However, she did not appreciate the study environment there – classes were too crowded and the curricula too theory-based.

Now, after studying at KTU for three years, she says that the move to another country for studies was 100 per cent worth it. Nieves Ganghe enjoys not only the grading system – where all the class work contributes to the final grade – but also the practicality of her studies.

“Everything, that is explained in theory is practiced, not only on paper but in the laboratory, so the information is not only explained but also proved. Theoretical and practical lectures along with laboratory works make up a system that allows the student to retain the information much better and for much longer,” believes a KTU 3rd year chemical technology and engineering student.

Nieves Ganghe from Spain at KTU studies chemical technology and engineering

Chemistry, she says, is not only about chemical reactions. Her current studies provide her with knowledge of other scientific fields such as physics or electricity, as well as more “social” fields, for example, healthy lifestyle.

The academically-minded student says that from a very young age, she was interested not only in “how” but also in the “why” things work.

“I believe, science in general is based on proving how nature works and chemistry is one of the bases of life itself. When I’m studying, for me it is very important to understand the reasons and the conclusions of the topic discussed,” explains the curious student.

She is happy that at KTU teachers always provide information when questions are asked.

Studies at KTU tuition-free

The third-year KTU student from Spain says that she wanted to experience studying in English and found KTU on study.eu, a website providing information on studies in Europe. Among many other opportunities in different countries, she chose Lithuania.

“I like the cold weather, and the life expenses are manageable. Also, the references of KTU were quite good compared to other universities,” says Nieves Ganghe.

Nieves Ganghe from Spain at KTU studies chemical technology and engineering

At KTU, she likes the passionate teachers, who are willing to help in any way they can, and is impressed by the facilities, provided by the university – laboratories, classrooms, and library, according to the student from Spain, are “top-notch”. Nieves Ganghe also appreciates student services for personal and professional development.

“At KTU one can also find psychological help, which, I believe, is quite important when you are living far away from home,” says a KTU student from Seville, Spain.

She attends KTU gym daily (it is free for the students and staff), and says that she prefers having a walk to watching TV or music shows any time.

“I love physical exercise, the amount of green areas around Kaunas is amazing and I use them as a way to disconnect and relax. I also quite enjoy cooking and baking, which I do in the cold winters,” says Nieves Ganghe.

Surprised by the cleanliness and nature in the city

Lithuania took her by surprise – the four different seasons, each with its beauty, the amount of greenery in urban areas.

“In 10 minutes, you can find yourself in the middle of nature. This, I believe, improves the happiness of people and makes the city way more beautiful,” says Nieves Ganghe.

Although she comes from the South of Spain, where the summers are very hot and winters – almost non-existent, the girl was not scared by the Lithuanian winter, which may have a lot of snow and very cold weather.

“On the other hand, summers are beautiful, long days with plenty of time to do many activities,” she says with a smile.

Her favourite spot in nature is Kauno Marios (aka Kaunas Reservoir) – which is a short ride by bus and offers amazing views of the lake. KTU student from Spain also likes to visit other cities in Lithuania, as the “train system works quite well and there are discounts on ticket prices for students.”

Another thing that impressed her here is the cleanliness of the streets – the Kaunas residents to Nieves Ganghe seem very civil, they collect after their dogs and tend to put the rubbish in the dust bins.

Coming from a culture with a very social lifestyle involving lots of gatherings with family and friends outside of the home, with food, she misses these activities. In Lithuania, mostly because of the weather, she thinks, people tend to spend time indoors, and the streets become crowded only in summer.

“Sometimes, I miss busy streets with lots of noise. However, the thing that I miss the most is food, not all specific ingredients for certain dishes can be found here. I believe that maybe in Lithuania they are simply not used,” says a future chemical engineer, studying at KTU.

Recommendations for future students

All in all, Nieves Ganghe from Seville, Spain recommends KTU to everyone – even if it is only for a short time, say as an Erasmus student: “The university is top notch and the country offers many different activities for all types of students.”

Below, you will find specific aspects that she wanted to mention to the future students:

  • The university provides dormitories, which are fully equipped with everything in terms of furniture. Depending on the dormitory, rooms are shared or private. Kitchens and bathrooms are usually shared.
  • Public transportation for students is very economical and it works very well.
  • Many different activities and services are provided by KTU, making possible a faster introduction and adaptation to the country.

Are you from Europe? Study at Kaunas University of Technology tuition-free. Choose your study programme and apply by June 30, 2024.

Source – Kaunas University of Technology (KTU)