Vytautas Magnus University devotes special attention to international activities. Their beginnings are traced back to the time when the members of the Lithuanian Diaspora, nurturing thoughts of intellectual and cultural rebirth, started coming to give lectures in the university. Today VMU is collaborating with many universities and scientists around the world, carrying out projects, student and worker exchange, constantly improving the system of studying and research.
Also functioning in the university is the International Cooperation Department, which aims to establish, coordinate and manage relations with various Lithuanian and foreign institutions. Its other responsibilities include presenting study programmes, spreading information about the university and advertising it abroad. The International Office gives out information to the university students and workers about studies, scholarships, internships, international science programmes and projects. The office also provides help and consultations to the incoming foreign students and lecturers, regarding the questions of studies, life in Lithuania (migration) and integration into the academic community of the university.
The university uses many ways to strengthen its international relations. Collaborations are determined by bilateral agreements, ties with other countries are established by joining and participating in international organizations and networks. Various international projects and programmes, such as Erasmus+ and Campus Europae, allow VMU to expand its scope internationally. Yet another highly significant factor influencing the internationality of VMU are scientific activities carried out at the university and participation in international conferences.
Development of Internationality at VMU In Brief
- Vytautas Magnus University’s Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2014-2020
- Vytautas Magnus University’s Erasmus Policy Statement
- VMU is a member of 5 international associations (EUA, EAIE, EDEN, AABS, GreenLight)
- The university is currently collaborating with 370 universities around the world
- 260 Erasmus+ partners in 32 countries
- Over 120 bilateral collaborative agreements with universities in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, South and North America
- VMU is the first university to have joined the exchange network Campus Europae, which currently unites 19 universities
- 25 degree study programmes in English (9 BA, 16 MA) and over 500 courses delivered in English
- 30 intensive foreign language courses. Their number varies by semester
- VMU implements 2 double degree and 2 joint-degree study programmes with foreign partner universities
- Every year about about 250 VMU students and 150 employees participate in the Erasmus+ exchange programme, while about 70 university students take part in VMU bilateral exchange
- The university welcomes over 500 incoming students from abroad annually
- The university has 17 buildings in Kaunas and three representative offices in Vilnius (Lithuania), Kharkov (Ukraine) and Washington D.C. (USA).
Membership in International Networks and Organizations
Vytautas Magnus University is a member of diverse international networks and organizations. It is a full member of European University Association (EUA), which grants the rights to use services provided by the association and vote in the General Assembly.
In 2002, VMU became a member of European Association for International Education (EAIE), which made it possible for the university to raise professional qualification in seminars, workgroups and conferences, as well as create international networks.
The university joined the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN), largest of its kind, in 2008. This network unites 430 institutions from 55 countries. Airina Volungevičienė, Director of the VMU Innovative Studies Institute, has been a member of the EDEN Executive Committee since 2010.
Since 2006, the university is also a member of the Baltic Sea Region University Network (BSRUN), which devotes most of its attention to Baltic studies and Baltic Sea Region studies, European integration, regional development and information technologies.
VMU is participating in The European GreenLight Programme as its partner since 2008. The programme strives to reduce the energy consumption from indoor and outdoor lighting throughout Europe, thus reducing pollution emissions and limiting the global warming.
The university is collaborating with the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) and, in this way, successfully strengthening relations between scientific institutions and scientists.
Individual faculties of VMU have established close ties with international organizations as well. The Faculty of Informatics boasts a membership of several international associations, including Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), American Mathematical Society (AMS) and International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
The Faculty of Politics and Diplomacy has expanded its horizons by becoming a member of the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee) and the European Consorcium for Political Science (ECPR).
The Institute of Social Welfare has joined quite a few international associations, including International Association of School of Social Work (IASSW), European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW) and Eastern European Sub-Regional Association of Schools of Social Work (EESRASSW).
Institute of Foreign Languages is a member of ELC/CEL (European Language Council/ Conseil Européen pour les Langues).
The University Unites All Lithuanians in the World
Vytautas Magnus University, re-established under the joint effort of Lithuanian and the Diaspora scientists two decades ago, is striving to become the academic nucleus of all Lithuanians in the world. The university project Lithuanian Diaspora Academy unites the Lithuanian Diaspora, fosters cooperation among Lithuanian emigrants and local Lithuanian scientists and students in academic projects, attracts everyone who is interested in Lithuania and its culture. Lithuanian Diaspora Academy promotes the international acknowledgement of the projects initiated and implemented by Lithuanian and the Diaspora scientists, reinforces communication and social contacts.
Lithuanian Diaspora Academy embraces many activities: courses that are organized all through the year (“Refresh in Lithuania”, Lithuanian Language and Culture summer courses), opportunities for distance learning, exchange programmes, internships. Thus, it enables young people of Lithuanian origin to have practical training in the majoring field, acquire professional experience in various state institutions, hospitals, artistic groups and non-governmental institutions.
International Summer Schools
Every year, Vytautas Magnus University also provides everyone with an excellent opportunity to take part in various international summer schools. Most of them follow in the footsteps of the “Lithuanian Language and Culture Summer Courses” at VMU, which foster the oldest traditions of all summer courses at the university and are the most valued by foreign students and Lithuanians living abroad. In four weeks, the participants improve Lithuanian language skills, get to know Lithuanian lifestyle, visit historical landmarks, have fun on spare time. In the summer of 2008 and 2009, VMU organized the European Summer Academy for journalists “Reporting Europe from Home”, which was intended to help journalism students and practicing journalists gain knowledge about the political schedule of the European Union, the specificities of political communication and the journalism culture of Brussels.
Keeping Internationality Strong with Language Learning
The development of internationality at VMU is inseparable from language teaching, improvement of multilingual competence and the university community’s linguistic preparation to participate in international study, science, business, culture or personal projects. In the VMU strategic plan for 2012–2020, linguistic preparation of the students is declared to be one of the one of the most important values of the university, along with academic freedom, autonomy, liberal study system, university culture, wide-ranging humanitarian and social education of the students and balance between studies, science and administration. In light of this fact, the university is undertaking the task to create an optimal system of foreign language learning by matching the students’ expectations and potential, requirements of professional practice and international communication.
Institute of Foreign Languages is an integral part of open, modern university that is the front-runner in the area of language teaching. Its purposeful, determined, intense activities contribute to the development of international dimension with the realization of multilingual politics and interculturalism.