“Erasmus+” Studies – a World Opening Learning Opportunity
Did you know that every student at Vilnius Business College has the opportunity to study abroad for six months under the “Erasmus+” exchange programme? You can talk a lot about the requirements or the documents you have to fill in, but what could be better than a true story? Armandas Pranaitis, a Business Management and Marketing student, shares his experience of studying in Barcelona.
If a student asked me if it’s worth it to study abroad under “Erasmus+”, I’d grab them by the scruff of the neck and say it is. I know that when they are in another country, they won’t regret their decision for a second. This programme gives students the opportunity to broaden their world view, to communicate with people from other countries, to learn to be independent, to take responsibility for themselves. When you see the wider world, everything is different”, Armandas Pranaitis said bluntly.
He went to Barcelona in the spring of 2021, when the world was still in a state of quarantine and pandemic. The challenges experienced during this period and the positive feedback from friends who had gone on this exchange programme were the reasons for his decision. “At first I wanted to go with my friends, but then I asked myself what would happen if I went alone? The thought caught me and never let go,” the student said of his inner motivation.
What do you need if you want to go abroad to study?
Preparing to go to another country to study for six months has two stages, according to A.Pranaitis: filling in the paperwork and gathering information. The college administration helped him fill in the paperwork and he advises them to contact them if they have any questions or uncertainties. After completing the application, he spent a lot of time looking for information about life in Spain so that he knew what to prepare for and what to expect. As a result, A. Pranaitis says he did not experience any unpleasant surprises when he went to the country. From the very first days in Barcelona, life in the country taught the student lessons of independence, but they were not as difficult as they might have seemed when he was still in Lithuania.
Getting used to a new place, getting to know your neighbourhood, attending your first lectures and making friends – these simple things in Lithuania have become a new experience here. “It took me a week to settle into Spanish life and set up my own home. When I started going to lectures, I quickly found it very easy to make friends and get help from other students. Students are the first to write to me and ask me how I am doing. They helped me to find out what tasks I had to do, if there was anything I might have misunderstood or missed. In this way, I developed my knowledge of both English and Spanish. These were the languages I studied in”, said the student, whose chosen field of study remained the same – business management and marketing
What does a six-month Erasmus+ study programme actually provide?
When asked what he gained from his six months of studies in Barcelona, Armandas Pranaitis emphasised several things:
- Developing self-reliance and responsibility
“I realised that I have everything and can do everything myself. I learned to change my environment completely and adapt quickly.”
- Significant improvement in English language skills
“I thought I spoke pretty good English until I talked to people with a strong, specific English accent. Understanding someone who speaks like that is a different matter. Because the university I went to, the dormitory I lived in, had people from all over the world, I spoke English every day. There was a fluency, I didn’t get stuck if I didn’t know a word, and I got a better sense of the language.”
- Sensing cultural differences and developing tolerance
“Both Spaniards and foreigners living in Spain are very open and easy people to talk to. Unlike in Lithuania, they are quick to open up and tell their own or their family’s story. To feel that people are always willing to talk and to be around was an amazing experience. At the same time, it was a great way to broaden the boundaries of tolerance: don’t judge others, don’t judge, don’t form prejudices.”
- The ability to relax more
“In Spain, I got a full sense of what relaxation really is, how it affects a person and how important it is. Not to be pressured by others and not to put too much pressure on yourself because of your career, the desire to earn money, the constant rush, to learn to leave your worries behind for a while and to just live – that’s what I learned during my studies in Spain.”
- Courage to take action and develop tolerance
“This trip has taught me to be more courageous to just take and do. I couldn’t have hoped for better from my studies in Barcelona. It was like an adventure, an venture. I’m so glad I experienced it.”
“Erasmus+” gave me a trip of a lifetime
Armandas Pranaitis encourages other students to be more determined and take the opportunity to study in another country. He thinks it would be especially useful for students who started their studies right after school without a gap year. “Studying with Erasmus+ will be a journey you will never forget for the rest of your life and will broaden your horizons immensely. The paradox is that you only realise how important it is when it all happens.”
Comment by Jurgita Mickevičiūtė, International Students and “Erasmus+” Coordinator
Every student at Vilnius Business College has the opportunity to study under the “Erasmus+” programme. The selection competition for the study programme takes place 2 times a year: in October (for spring departures) and in March (for autumn departures of the following academic year). You can study at universities with which our College cooperates. The selection criteria are very simple and achievable for most students: at least a 7 grade point average, a good command of English, and being active in academic and college activities. Students in any year can apply, except for students in the first semester of their first year, who do not have any grade point average yet.
Another way to gain experience abroad is through a traineeship. Internships abroad are popular among our students, and they look for different countries. The procedure is simple: fill in the paperwork and find a company that will take you on for the period of time you want.
Any questions about studying under “Erasmus+” or doing a traineeship abroad? Contact Marius Zalieckas firstname.lastname@example.org