Why VMU: Learn to Think Out of the Box
An intern from Hong Kong currently working at VMU interviewed a number of international full-time students and asked them to explain the reasons for choosing studies at Vytautas Magnus University. This series of articles, “Why VMU?”, presents their thoughts.
Teona Goderdzishvili is a recent master graduate from Georgia who completed her MA studies in Journalism and Media Industries at VMU. She described her decision to study at VMU as the best one she has ever made. “Have you ever had a moment when you know something will happen in your life for sure? I knew I would leave for international experience, European education and opportunities one day. I ordered the passport even though I did not have any visa to go anywhere. I wanted to practice my English, develop technical skills and enrich my knowledge. I found an open call of VMU, researched this university, its faculty, curriculum, professors, their background and experiences, descriptions of classes and sources. I watched the videos of international students speaking about VMU. I communicated with some of the students and got their views regarding the study environment. I had to make sure that this step would be one of the best decisions and turning points in my life. I did it and I got it!”, Teona explained, ensuring that she had a really pleasant time at VMU.
The master student described her experience as “interesting”. It was the best opportunity for her to explore herself, discover and develop the skills she did not have any idea she had before. More importantly, Teona could also meet with people who helped her to become a better person. She is so grateful for everything she has encountered at VMU during her master years. The Georgian graduate loved the fact that VMU gives a lot of freedom to its students. “You could make use of the freedom and shape it, setting limits and frames”, Teona said. She also claims that the studies helped her to think out of the box. VMU has never been only an academic environment: it is a space for exploring new interests, subjects, skills, and meeting people who inspire. VMU gave her an open door to enormous opportunities. She grabbed as much as she could: participated in exchanges, internships, networking events. All these activities have shaped the person she is today.
Comparing her experience at VMU with Georgian universities, Teona is complimentary of the Lithuanian higher education school. She has studied and graduated from both Tbilisi State University (TSU) and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). In Teona’s opinion, TSU has more limited technical materials than VMU. As for GIPA, she said “it was a heaven for journalism students from South Caucasus region and one of the best in Eastern Europe”. However, when she came to VMU, the student was surprised by the unlimited access to study materials, well-equipped classes, and libraries. Everything is adapted for students with disabilities. Moreover, she very much appreciates for the informal environment when communicating with professors. She feels the professors are passionate to offer help to students and give cordial, friendly advice. Teona also complimented the administration and the VMU International Office by calling their job exemplary.
There are three important things Teona has learned at VMU: appreciation, independence, and teamwork. She regards that we always have these qualities, but it is our environment which helps us develop them and make better use of them. Teona is now more active, confident, open-minded and strong. She values the personal differences more than ever. “I have met with professors who were passionate about their job, who were inspiring by their excellence. I gained working experience in international media companies. I had an opportunity to travel and study in Ireland. I have much to tell, this is just a sketch”, the Georgian noted, but it is evident from her words that the experience at VMU had definitely left her a strong positive impression.
Teona further emphasized how much she has grown as a person. “I grew up, literally! Every time I look back ‘to see how far I came’, I see a significant change that makes me hopeful. I am independent, strong and full of new ideas. I can accept criticism and stay resilient, find a mutual language, get flexible, feel the heartbeat of the country. Long story short, I came here as a fearful girl from Georgia, but I always thought ‘I can be better. I can do better’. Sitting in a big hall at VMU during my graduation, I had moments of summarizing the past two years of my life. I said ‘Wow’ to the past but I felt a huge responsibility, as now it’s my turn”, the recent graduate explained.
Teona regards studying at VMU as one big accomplishment in her life. “VMU gave me knowledge, discoveries, troubles, challenges, losses, and victories, enormous experience, colleagues from different countries. Every single person I have met – professors, classmates – is the biggest benefit from VMU.” The past two years at VMU in Kaunas, Lithuania have had an enormous effect on this student. She got acquainted with the local traditions, Lithuanian language, culture, and people. Today Teona calls Lithuania her second home.
At the moment Teona Goderdzishvili is searching for opportunities in Lithuania, so that hopefully she could stay here longer to further explore the country and develop herself as a person. After graduation, Teona started to consider her future and the path that she should take. She thinks so far she was following the kind of path that is common to everyone, but from now on she should shape her own structure. She has always admired people who are disciplined enough and have been doing this from an early age. Now, after the graduation, she is trying harder than ever to be one of those people in the future.