International Students Are Creating New Traditions of Vilnius University

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For the first time in the history of the Faculty of Medicine, about 15 foreign students established an International Students’ Representative (ISR) Group. It became a part of the important organization of Vilnius University – The Students’ Representative at Vilnius University, and its group of the Faculty of Medicine (VU SA MF).

3rd year medical student Roman David Udler (Germany, Munich) and the 2nd year student of medicine Rani Dey (United states of America, Boston) who lead this group are sure, that becoming a student of one of the most famous and oldest universities in Europe – Vilnius University is a challenge, but becoming an international student is an even more serious one. They are going to find new ways to involve more international students in campus life and make the voice of the international students more powerful and influential by satisfying all their needs. They will concentrate on arranging and sharing international events and affairs in order to give international students the opportunity to enhance communication with Lithuanian students and to form one strong community.

“We initiated and established the first ISR. We became like a subgroup of Students’ Representatives organization at Vilnius University, of its Faculty of Medicine group and it is a unique fact in the history of VU. So it is a huge responsibility for us and we are very proud of it,” Roman David Udler said. In his opinion (which is shared by other different-year international students of Medicine), past experience shows that during their studies, students from foreign countries really felt a lack of communication with Lithuanian students and this made them think that something was needed to be done at the Faculty.

Members of this group are international students of all study years except the first one. As Rani Dey explained: “International students which have just started their programmes this year, don’t really know the real situation, don’t have much spare time and are very busy with the studies. But we can help them to integrate easily and to give them advice in all critical situations,” he said.

The first job of this group of international students is an event that will be organized together with the Red Line Organization. The aim of this event is to collect presents for children who do not have families or live in problematic conditions: “We invited the entire community of VU to join us in a “Heart to Heart Christmas Event” and help us brighten this holiday season for the foster children of Vilnius by donating! In the nearest weekend we will meet with those children from 3 to 13 years old and give them goods donated by students, such as toys, school supplies, clothes, etc.,” Roman explained.

The leaders of the ISR group are planning to start regular activities after the Holiday season. First, they want to find out the needs of Lithuanian and foreign students with regard to communication, joint events, cooperation in the future, figure out their expectations and then prepare a detailed programme together: “All students of the Faculty of Medicine from Lithuania and from abroad have to understand that we all will only benefit from each other. It is always nice to know different doctors from all over the world, to make a network, to ask for advice or simply – to make friends,” Roman considered. Rani also stressed: “For the next semester the most important thing for us is to make this real and warm connection, to know Lithuanians and Lithuania much better, to enjoy being friends, not only “colleagues” from the same Faculty, studying the same subjects and living in the same very beautiful Vilnius and not enjoying our students’ life together.”

Roman and Rani feel very happy and proud of studying at “their beloved great Vilnius University”. They acknowledged that it is very difficult to get medical education in America or Germany, because of very high competition, difficult programmes and very long time of studies. So each year more and more foreign students are choosing Baltic countries’ universities, among which Vilnius University is the unquestionable leader. The combination of excellent studies, high competence of professors and a real beauty of the country motivates everyone, who wants to become a doctor. Roman has a dream to become a plastic reconstructive or orthopaedic surgeon and Rani aspires to be a “doctor without borders” or emergency doctor.

Undoubtedly, all students admit that sports and music are the best ways to strengthen relationships between people of different nationalities. Roman likes to play basketball once a week with his friends from the University. He is a well-known DJ and with the help of his colleagues, he is organizing events for his fellow international as well as Lithuanian students. His roots are originally from Russia, he speaks Russian fluently and hopes one day to learn to speak Lithuanian too. Rani devotes almost all of her time to challenging studies and is intensively learning Lithuanian language.

All foreign students on behalf of the ISR send the warmest wishes to their Lithuanian friends, the entire University community, academic staff and personnel for the upcoming Christmas and New Year. Roman and Rani both share their exclusive recipe for being happy and for giving joy to other people during the Holidays: “Viskas bus gerai! Everything is gonna be all right! I wish happy holidays to all of you and happy Chanukah (which this year will be at the same time as Christmas) to Jewish students and staff. Enjoy your vacation, get a little bit rest from studies, be positive and spend a lot of time with your beloved people and family,” Roman wished. To this greeting, Rani added the advice, which she thinks all medical students will appreciate: “Work harder and you will get better results! Right now! If not now, then when? But during the Holidays, don’t worry too much about your studies, everything will be great, just relax and be happy!”