Ahmet Kavruk is a journalism and history student. Last year, he went to Vilnius, Lithuania for Erasmus. He explained his Erasmus experiences

Many students try to do Erasmus in recent years. Owing to the Erasmus and Erasmus+ projects, young people can go to another country and see other cultures. Ahmet Kavruk is one of these students. 

Ahmet who is 25-years-old is living in Vilnius, Lithuania for the Erasmus right now. In October, he went to Vilnius to do Erasmus and started to study at Mykolas Romeris University. Kavruk, who will return to Turkey in July, is studying  journalism at Marmara University for a second bachelor’s degree and doing a master’s in the department of History at the Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. I talked with him about his Erasmus journey.

How did you decide to do Erasmus?

I decided to do Erasmus in the Pandemic. When we cannot go outside, I applied the Erasmus hopelessly. Because there was uncertainty due to the pandemic. I attended the online Erasmus exam. In addition, the fact that everything is done remotely due to the pandemic has slowed down the official procedure process, at least in Turkey. By the time I took the exam, the acceptance date of most universities abroad had expired. The university that I am studying in Lithuania right now was one of these universities. However, despite all the negativities, with the help of my luck, I first got the right to Erasmus and then I was able to do Erasmus with the help of my school in Lithuania.

What did you gain during Erasmus? What opportunities did Erasmus bring?

First of all, it was a great opportunity for me to improve my foreign language. I met a lot of new people during Erasmus, I went to countries I have never been to before, and I ate food I have never eaten before. I think it’s an incredible experience in terms of all these things. In short, I can say that “Erasmus was a process in which I developed myself”.

What do you like to do in your free time in Lithuania? What do you do?

I love travelling. With the advantage of being abroad, I try to go to different countries in every gap. As much as I can, I follow artistic events and festivals in the places I’m in. I go to museums. One or two days a week I spend time outside with my friends. I can say that this is how I spend my free time.

Do you like living in Vilnius? Why? 

Yes, I like it. Being in Vilnius at the moment is very beneficial for me in terms of education and personal development. But I wouldn’t want to live here for long. Because of the effect of living in Istanbul for a long time, I sometimes call Vilnius a small city. I wish the transportation was more advanced. I can say that public transportation ends earlier than in Istanbul. This is probably one of the biggest problems I’ve had here.

What is your favourite activity that you like doing in Vilnius? 

There is a bookstore that I love on Gediminos Gatve Street in the city center. I go there and get my coffee and work on my computer. Quiet, nice and cheap place. It’s a very student friendly place. There is also another place that I love. Every week at least one day I take my beer and watch a basketball game there.

Do you think that the activities and opportunities in the city where you live are sufficient for young people?

Although I think it is largely sufficient, I do not think it is easily accessible. I think this is due to both the lack of announcement and the transportation problem. Undoubtedly, the financial dimension harms many students. But I still think that every student who researches well can find many social activities suitable for them. Of course, it does not mean that I ignore the problems such as accessibility, transportation and materiality that I just said.

Do you want to live in another city or country instead of Istanbul / Turkey? Why?

Yes, I think I am happy to be in Vilnius right now because of Turkey’s intense political atmosphere, but ultimately I will go back to complete my education. The thought of returning worries me. In the long run, I would like to live in a more developed European country. I think this will relieve me economically and accordingly, I will develop myself better. 

What would you recommend to someone who wants to be an Erasmus student?

First of all, I think that every university student should have this experience. The Erasmus process is long. After getting accepted to Erasmus, you have to deal with bureaucratic work while registering to the school you will go to and then in the process of obtaining a visa. In this process, I think the most important thing is to stay calm and prepare the necessary documents step by step correctly. It is necessary to be patient and a good researcher in order not to have problems and to handle official affairs quickly. Of course, apart from this, I think the cities and schools to visit should be well researched. It is very important to look at the possibilities of cities and schools. I think if there are more opportunities in a city, it will be better.

Author: Evin Arslan

Photos by Ahmet Kavruk and Buse Yüksek

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