José Geraldo de Andrade Neto from Brazil is the first-year student of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. He has already started his 2nd semester in a very optimistic mood because his course-mates are always ready to help with not very easy, but as he puts it – absolutely interesting, studies. He feels happy being a part of a large academic community: “I chose Vilnius University because of its significant reputation abroad and because it is open to students from all over the world.”
José came to Lithuania in the summer of 2019 and was enchanted by the beauty of Vilnius: “I have lived in Brazil for the most of my life. When I was growing up, my entire family was always involved with medicine. My father is a forensic doctor and my mother is a nurse. But even though my family had an influence on me, I was actually more interested in making a meaningful contribution to the society around me, so I felt that becoming a doctor was the best way to accomplish that.”
The future doctor spent most of his high school life at Centro Educational Sigma in his hometown Brasilia, participated in exchange programme in Germany for more than a year before coming to Vilnius University. While studying in Germany, José realised that Europe was where he could really experience new things and a great place to continue his medical studies.
“I am really happy with the Faculty of Medicine. We have great professors and very good infrastructure. Students also have many tools at their disposal to assist them with their studies. The study coordinators at the faculty, Jekaterina Soldatova and Justė Andrikonytė, are also always very helpful,” José said.
He strongly believes that even though studying medicine can be a great challenge, the University offers many tools to help students succeed on their journey to the mysterious world of medical theory and practice. José will never forget how excited he was about starting his studies, meeting fellow students for the first time, getting to know his professors and making the first of many visits to the Faculty of Medicine.
In José’s opinion, medicine in Lithuania in general is advanced, modern and well equipped to deal with the challenges lying ahead. Doctors very qualified, especially in Vilnius, where they are working in a variety of specialties, from surgery to psychiatry and internal diseases, which attests to the high standards of the medical training in Lithuania.
“In the medical world, Doctor Randy Schekman, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2013, is a great inspiration to me. Having met him personally, I wish that one day I can also make such an important contribution to the field of medicine as he has and also inspire others as he has inspired me,” Jose said. For him, a great doctor must be curious, brave, and persistent.
In the future, José hopes to continue his studies in Europe; his is interested in otorhinolaryngology or following a research-oriented career: “But nobody knows what the future holds, so I try to keep an open mind to all opportunities. I love living in Vilnius, the architecture is very attractive and the city is very pedestrian friendly, so you can walk almost any place on foot. The Campus of Vilnius University is also very modern, especially the Central Library, where I spend most of my time studying.”
Brazilian medical student is also fascinated by the cuisine of Lithuania: “Even though Brazil and Lithuania are very different countries, I could see the similarity between Lithuanian and Brazilian cuisine. One example of that would be the Lithuanian kibinai and the Brazilian pasteis, both being a sort of pastry, usually filled with meat or cheese,” José said.
The freshman really enjoys learning the Lithuanian language. Even though it is not easy, especially the grammar, he finds its history and heritage very captivating. José makes his best efforts to speak it every day, because the motto of his life is “fill the silence”. He is sociable, friendly and enjoys spending time with Lithuanian friends: “I am very lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, especially the ones in my group. Living away from family can be very difficult at times, but the support of those in my group is invaluable. They make me feel at home here in Lithuania, so I am very grateful to see them every day.”
José is also thankful to his professors at Vilnius University for all the hard work they have been doing and for providing not only a lot of valuable knowledge and practical skills, but leaving a lot of warmth in the hearts of students: “For international students it is very important, because we are far from our homes. But waking up every day to learn new, interesting topics with our dedicated professors makes it all worthwhile.”