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#OpenVU: new habits must be formed seeking cultural variety in the university

2020 11 17 VU baznycia380x250According to the analysis of diversity and equal opportunities, in 2018, Vilnius University (VU) had 113 employees from 30 countries (which accounted for 2.3% of all VU employees), and more than 1 000 students who chose to study at VU were citizens of 70 countries. However, according to the interlocutors, VU community members should be given even more opportunities to gain experiences of otherness and diversity, therefore, there could be more both foreign employees and students in the VU.

When asked what caused such a current situation at VU, Vice-Rector for Studies Assoc. Prof. Valdas Jaskūnas says that it is necessary to take into account the society and historical environment we come from. For many years we lived in a relatively closed society with little ethnic diversity, in a society that was not open in terms of attitudes and ideas.

“Social and cultural openness came to Lithuania with independence, we experienced many influences that did not exist before, and our cultural horizon began to expand intensively. However, for a long period during the years of independence, perhaps the most urgent issue on our cultural agenda was our identity, the preservation and reconstruction of our identity. I would even say that the dominance of (identity) preservation of Lithuanian identity was very strong. We were able to construct our Lithuanian identity in the Soviet era to a very limited extent, so naturally this impulse was very strong after regaining freedom,” notes Assoc. Prof. Valdas Jaskūnas.

According to the associate professor, VU did not aspire to be the centre of attraction for other cultures, teachers or students from other countries for a long time. This explains why there is not so much diversity in our university. “For a long time, it was in these processes that we saw more threats than opportunities. But over the last 10 years, attitudes have changed. There has been a realization that opening up to different experiences is much more beneficial and it is not a threat, as it was perceived before,” explains Assoc. Prof. Valdas Jaskūnas.

The new generation, born in the years of independence, inevitably brought change. They do not always recognize the concept of previous identity, they look at the world differently, perceive it differently; they grew up surrounded by greater diversity and it is simply natural for them. This generation, which has been coming to VU for more than a decade, must employ more effort to find out how it was before. What the older generation experienced as a transformation, for those born in the years of independence, is the environment in which they grew up.

Diversity is inseparable from the challenge

Accordant to the Vice-rector, diversity is a challenge for every generation. It is a human feeling. Any novelty brings confusion and if we do not turn that confusion into an opportunity, the reactions can be various. “Change creates a feeling of insecurity,” says the interlocutor, adding that the loss of security and comfort naturally leads to resistance.

“Science is often perceived as universal field, which is not culturally determined. However, a closer look at the development of each scientific discipline would see how the scientific approach is affected in terms of culture. That cultural determination is self-evident, so it may seem that science is identical in different cultural contexts, in different geographical locations, in different European and Asian academies, but this is not the case. In the experimental sciences, content is less sensitive to cultural forms of cognition, but representatives of the social and human sciences of different academies, although they are from the same discipline, need to put much more effort into communicating. Cultural differences and academic practices are quite significant. Imagine studying geography in Lithuania, Peru and Taiwan. It would be three different geographies. And we all call it geography,” shares his insights the Vice-Rector for Studies.

The associate professor notes that sciences require a reflective approach to ourselves, we need to raise and answer the question as to why we cognize the way we cognize, why we choose certain cognitive instruments and make the assumptions we make. This reflection on one’s cognitive system is very important and inevitable in such a global world.

The vice-rector illustrated the thoughts with his memories of a really interesting situation. A scientist from Japan came to Vilnius to give lectures. During their conversation, they found out that they were both born in the same year, and the dates of birth differ by only a few days.

“Imagine meeting a person who lived at the same time as you, only in a different place, so you have very different experiences.
When we began to share the memories of what was our life when we were seven or fifteen, we realised that our childhoods were completely different: one of us grew up in Japan, the other in Soviet Lithuania. And here we met as scientists seeking to solve the same scientific problems. Naturally, our approach to problems is very different, but it is an integral part of this challenge and it would be naive to ignore this difference. It is a completely natural difference.

These experiences are not only very enriching, but are also important for scientific cognition. If we are or we want to be a global university, we need to be able to accumulate these experiences, because without them, our cognition can quickly become deceptive and biased. That is why we need foreign students and teachers. They do not have the power to change our past, but they will definitely enrich the future,” says the associate professor.

According to the interlocutor, it is very important at the university to encourage students to gain experiences of otherness and diversity for these to become the essence of their functioning and thinking. One way to achieve this goal is to create a diversity ecosystem where there are no more fears or where the student has the opportunity to overcome his/her fears with the help of the university. Students must work in mixed groups together with foreign students, perform tasks and projects together, not be afraid to make mistakes, because in the work environment there may be no conditions for making mistakes and learning from mistakes.

Mixed student groups, according to Assoc. Prof. Valdas Jaskūnas, are like social and cultural laboratories, where lack of understanding, different imaginations, different experiences, different uncertainty or lack of certainty play an important role. Skills are needed to transform this uncertainty into a definition. Therefore, the university encourages to form as many mixed groups of students as possible so that students have more international study experience. “We need to turn the experience of otherness into an educational system, strive to make it a part of teaching and learning process,” says the Vice-Rector for Studies.

It is necessary to form new habits

Equal Opportunities Coordinator Dr. Rūta Ruolytė-Verschoore says that in order to change the situation and attract more foreign students and lecturers to VU, new habits must be formed, i.e. bilingualism in communication, possibility for foreigners to receive help and self-expression services.

“One of the objectives of the Diversity and Equal Opportunities Strategy is to foster cultural diversity at the university and to strive for the equal inclusion of students and employees from abroad in the university community,” reminds Dr. Rūta Ruolytė-Verschoore and adds that in order to more actively involve foreigners in the community, it is not necessary to create new systems, but just to adapt the existing structure and infrastructure. As an example, she referred to the initiative of the Community Development Department to adapt the VU intranet to English speakers (since the autumn of this year, the VU intranet is available in English as well).

The interlocutor also draws attention to the events organized by VU: are they organised in two languages, what are the languages information about them is announced in, which languages are used to send messages after the event? It is not difficult to notice that many activities at VU are communicated only in Lithuanian. The situation is similar with services provided to foreign employees or students.

“A very similar approach once prevailed with regard to the adaptation of the environment for people with disabilities: why adapt it if we do not have 'those disabled people'? However, after creating opportunities to study, there were also those who wanted to use them. When it comes to involving foreigners, we need to change our attitudes, to form new habits. We have to constantly think about how we can encourage citizens of other countries to become members of our community, because otherwise many incoming foreigners will remain in foreign communities,” says the equal opportunities coordinator.

According to Dr. Rūta Ruolytė-Verschoore, in order to achieve changes, it is planned to publish information about events and other VU activities in Lithuanian and English in the future, and, if possible, to ensure interpretation services at the events. Non-academic units will also be encouraged to disseminate information in both languages. Before 2022, it is planned to further develop the mentoring system for foreign students from partial and all studies, to increase the availability of help and self-expression services.

The changes are already being implemented by the International Relations Division, which is improving one-stop-shop recruitment and counselling for researchers and lecturers from abroad. Foreigners coming from third countries need the most attention and help. They are assisted in handling strict migration procedures, dealing with real estate leases, and accessing public medical services. These services are constantly being developed, and sometimes help is organized for family members of incoming teachers to find work in order to establish themselves in Lithuania.

“Probably many of us have studied or worked in foreign universities under various exchange programs and we remember how good it is to discover, to be part of another university’s life, community. Therefore, we must offer such an alternative to those who work and study with us,” says the equal opportunities coordinator concluding the interview.

#OpenVU is a series of articles about the university that seeks to be open not only to scientific ideas and a variety of disciplines, but also to the diversity of its community members. The persons interviewed in the articles will share future plans, initiatives to help create a study and work environment that fosters individual, social and cultural diversity, and ensures equal opportunities for members of the university community.

You can find out about the Diversity and Equal Opportunities Strategy here.

Student from Romania about Erasmus+ traineeship: It’s a new experience

2020 10 22 library
Erasmus+ traineeship is a traineeship (work placement) abroad in an enterprise or any other relevant organization in the Erasmus+ programme country.

Robert Tudor, a student from Romania (University of Pitęsti) done Erasmus+ traineeship at Vilnius university Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics Cyber Security Lab. He told about the traineeship, the city of Vilnius and his favorite lithuanian dishes.

What have you enjoyed most about Erasmus+ traineeship?

Getting to stay in Lithuania with my friends during summer, both for the traineeship and going places. Even if the traineeship took most of our time, we still managed to travel a little and hang out with other Erasmus+ students.

What is your opinion about supervisors at VU MIF?

The traineeship during summer was the last part of my Erasmus+ experience. I was in Lithuania for a whole year of studies.

From personal experience, most teachers at VU MIF were great. For an Erasmus+ student/trainee, teachers usually change the language of the course to english.

Talking about the traineeship alone, we loved our mentors. Mrs. Agne Brillingaite and Mr. Linas Bukauskas were very good teachers.

Why did you apply for the Erasmus+ traineeship at VU MIF?

We had the chance to learn something new since we were not very familiar with cyber security before the traineeship.

What is it like to live in Vilnius/Lithuania? Would you recommend it? What is the city/country like?

Me and my friends stayed at the dorms in Olandu st. I would say the cost of living in Vilnius is fine, but of course it depends on your income. Compared to Bucharest, Vilnius is pretty big, but it has around one third of the population. If you are looking for a calm city (during the day), Vilnius is perfect.

Lithuania is a small country, we managed to visit some of the cities, even the seaside. If you are planning to go to Lithuania during summer, the weather is actually nice. If you are planning to go during winter.

What is the food like? What are your favorite dishes?

Coming from Romania, lithuanian food was pretty much the same thing I usually liked to eat: bread, meat, potatoes and sour cream.

The weirdest dish was saltibrasciai (pink soup/beetroot soup). I didn’t expect to like it when I found out how it was made, but I did.

My personal favorites were kibin and potato pancakes.

Would you recommend Erasmus+ traineeship in Lithuanian to your friends? Why?

I would recommend it to anyone. As I said before, it’s a new experience, you get to learn new things and see Lithuania.

The Lithuanian National HPC Competence Center is being established at Vilnius University

Vilnius University (VU) is involved into Europe international HPC (or supercomputing) Competence Center projects EuroCC and CASTIELVU researchers dr. Povilas Treigys (Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics) and dr. Mindaugas Mačernis (Faculty of Physics) are participating in these projects by running Lithuanian national HPC competence center. EuroCC works closely with the CASTIEL project, which together will ensure the consistent dissemination of high-end supercomputing experiences across Europe.

2020 10 13 HCP kompetencijos centras380x250EuroCC is an extremely wide supercomputing competence network across Europe

A total of 32 countries with available supercomputing resources and their national competence centers are participating in EuroCC project. Projects aim to facilitate the use of best practice HPC practices in high-performance computing centers in order to use excascale type supercomputers in near future. Supercomputers consist of thousands of processors that analyze billions of data in real time and supercomputer performs various calculations thousands of times faster than a normal computer. However, it is not triaval task to use them and high level HPC compentences are needed.

The EuroCC and CASTIEL projects will help address existing HPC skills issues and promote collaboration and sharing of experiences between different countries, both within the country and across Europe. The project will create a pan-European HPC competency map that reflects the resources available and the level of knowledge in all EuroCC national competence centers. This will encourage cooperation, exchange of good practices, sharing of knowledge between different organizations and countries. In Lithuanian case, the HPC competence could acquire Lithuanian citizens, institutions and companies in order to use supercomputing infrastructures which are located inside and outside Lithuania.

“Through these EuroCC and CASTIEL projects, the HPC Competence Centers will bridge the gap between competencies and provide opportunities for academia, medium and small businesses to acquire broader supercomputer competencies. In many cases, only very large industries have enough knowledge on how to be superior in the market by using supercomputers,” says dr. M. Mačernis.

Digital competences are an integral part of everyday life

Each of the 32 national centers of excellence that will be part of the EuroCC network operate as national HPC digital centers of excellence in individual countries. This will allow researchers, public administrations, as well as various industries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by supercomputers. On the other hand, CATIEL as umbrella EuroCC project coordinates activities between national centers.

"Digital competencies - one of the most important things not only for the development and implementation of new technologies - they help to orientate in the modern world and perform many important tasks from the purchase of goods and payment of bills to professional work," says dr. P. Treigys.

According to the researcher, digital literacy and competences still overtake a significant part of society, which is why digital skills are not used as widely in everyday life as is often required by the changing living environment and especially new technologies. The project will aim to make supercomputers available to as many stakeholders as possible.

“The projects will collaborate with all interested, potential and existing supercomputer users. In addition, there are opportunities in other activities - possible joint European master's studies or access to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, ” says dr. M. Mačernis.

The possibilities provided by supercomputers are also taken at VU

VU two faculties Physics, Mathematics and Informatics in the field of productive computing will soon be able to offer the scientific community petaflop computing power resources for solving problems.

"In order to optimally use the possibilities provided by supercomputers, it is not enough to have only technical resources. It is necessary to cultivate and improve one’s competencies, for example by sharing good practices. This is exactly the opportunity to participate in the EuroCC and CASTIEL projects. In addition, Lithuania became a member of EuroHPC, which opened the possibility for VU to become the Lithuanian national HPC competence center and to be a partner in these projects, ” says dr. P. Treigys.

The EuroCC and CASTIEL projects are running from 2020 September 1 until 2022 31 August, the total budgets of the projects are 59 million EUR.

EuroCC project has received funding from the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 951732. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Republic of North Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro.

2020 10 13 EuroHCP 2020 10 13 Euro

 

 

The President of France Emmanuel Macron Encourages Strengthening Cooperation Between European Universities During his Visit at VU

2020 09 30 Macronas642x410Today, President of France Emmanuel Macron visited Vilnius University (VU), where he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of VU at a solemn ceremony. During the visit, the French leader also took part in a discussion in which he discussed in detail the current issues of the European economy, relations with the world’s major powers and shared insights on the future of global Europe.

The goal is European integration

In an exclusive discussion with VU students, moderated by Assoc Prof Margarita Šešelgytė, Director at VU Institute of International Relations and Political Science, President of France discussed Europe, its identity and future, the situation in Belarus and emphasized the importance of European cooperation. While responding to students’ questions, Mr Macron stressed the importance of unification at the international and national levels, especially at such important moments as the coronavirus crisis.

“Young people are going through a very difficult period right now, we are asking for their help in protecting others, especially the elderly. I do not want us to forget in the future what we are asking of young people today. Some places, cafes, where young people often gather, are being closed, studies are continued remotely, which also causes some inconveniences, creates a completely different study atmosphere. Young people also have difficulty entering the stagnant labour market due to the pandemic. Of course, these solutions are necessary and important to protect the majority, but because of that we must feel the responsibility for everyone around us and we cannot leave future generations in unstable Europe, debts or with the problems of global warming,” in a discussion with VU students Emmanuel Macron said.

The French leader, in his support of united Europe and European university networks, emphasized the need for integration processes and investment in knowledge and education to achieve good results in the social and economic fields and to help solve problematic issues in all European states.

Emmanuel Macron’s initiatives in the field of education and higher education have been praised not only by leaders of European universities but also by the European Commission (EC), which has provided funding for such a project. The French President was the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at VU for the idea of creating joint European university networks and expanding the Erasmus + exchange initiative, as well as for the constant promotion of innovations in the field of education.

“New opportunities for cooperation and integration between European higher education institutions have been made possible by your visionary initiative as President of France. For the first time since long, the idea of university received new development at the political level.
It is a solid basis and honour for Vilnius University to award you the title of Doctor Honoris Causa for the contribution to the integration of European universities and the development of the idea of a modern university, while expressing your commitment to the idea of European universities’ cooperation and alliances,” VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petrauskas said.

The European universities initiative is a breakthrough in the field of higher education

The initiative of the French President to create networks of European universities was first raised in September 2017, in Emmanuel Macron’s famous Sorbonne speech. This speech formed the basis for the vision in the field of education and culture formulated at the European Union summit in Gothenburg. These proposals are now included in various European Union initiatives and programmes.

Emmanuel Macron proposes to set up networks of European universities, which should become centres of educational innovation and top competences and achieve a higher level of student exchanges by 2024, with half of European university students having to spend at least half a year in another European state. The French leader is also aiming for European students to be able to speak at least two foreign languages by 2024.

After the EC’s first call for the creation and funding of European university networks was announced in 2018, 17 networks were selected already in 2019. Among them was VU, which together with 6 other European universities (Bergen, Granada, Graz, Leipzig, Lyon, Padua) joined the university alliance Arqus.

“The seven universities together are building the strong foundations of a new type of cooperation that will impact not only the students, but also staff development, the quality of the research and the integration with socio-economic fabric of our regions. We are committed to achieving a systemic impact that will help us to reach our long-term vision and also to bring on board the rest of the national higher education systems to improve the quality of our education, research and innovation provision”, says Dorothy Kelly, Arqus Coordinator.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of achievements has been reached on the Arqus path towards the construction of a truly European University Alliance. Good examples are the Arqus Open Mobility Agreement, that allows students to freely move between the seven institutions, the development of common institutional policies, joint degrees, or the successful application for Horizon 2020 funding to strengthen their joint research and innovation capacity.

The principal ambition of the Arqus Alliance is to act jointly as a laboratory for institutional learning from which to move forward in the design, testing and implementation of an innovative model for deep inter-university cooperation. The Alliance aims to consolidate a joint governance structure to facilitate the development of consensual joint policies and action plans, to consolidate participative structures to facilitate cross-cutting integration at all levels of the partner institutions, and to share its experience with other groupings in order to communicate the added value to be found in its model of integration.

Erasmus+ traineeship: Madalina tells about practice at VU MIF Cyber Security Lab

2020 09 24 Cyber Security LabMadalina, Robert, doc. dr. Agne Brilingaite

Erasmus+ traineeship is a traineeship (work placement) abroad in an enterprise or any other relevant organization in the Erasmus+ programme country.

Madalina Mariana, a student from Romania (University of Pitęsti) done Erasmus+ traineeship at Vilnius university Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics Cyber Security Lab. She told about the traineeship, Vilnius university and the city of Vilnius.

Traineeship experience and supervisors at VU MIF

Madalina said that Erasmus+ experience was full of challenges. “First three weeks or so felt like being thrown in the sea without knowing how to swim. The people would tell you what to do and you would struggle to make it work, but this is all it is in the beginning. This is generally true when you try to learn something new. And that is the best part of it. Even with the struggle and the self-doubt, you know that at the end of it, something amazing awaits you.

The team work was great. The teachers’ guidance was great. But the things I enjoyed the most were the things I learned about and the world I discovered through them,”– Madalina shares her experience.

Madalina M. says that teachers at VU MIF also not just guided through each step of the project, but they were really interested in sharing with students more and more of their knowledge and wisdom. “Teachers tried to know who we are and what we are capable of, so they can get the best of our abilities”.

Impressions about Lithuania, Vilnius and national cuisine

“I think the perception of the city depends on the place you are coming from. For me, the city used to release an amazing amount of energy with each new place I would discover. But at the same time, it made me feel at ease. And I think this is coming from its people, beyond the cold that seems specific for them. It’s been a once in a life time experience to live in Vilnius, so I can’t wait to go back even just as a tourist,”– said Madalina M.

Madalina’s favourite dishes – pink cold beetroot soup (“Šaltibarščiai”) and sweet mushroom biscuits “Grybukai”. “Being in Vilnius meant facing the international cuisine as much as the national one. There are a bunch of restaurants and food festivals that made the experience truly educational.

From the traditional dishes, I really enjoyed the Šaltibarsčiai soup and those Grybukai biscuits, but, honestly, from time to time, the thing I miss the most is Hesburger,” – said student.

Erasmus+ traineeship in Vilnius university – every students should try it

„I would definitely recommend it and, in fact, I did it. After I returned home, my Erasmus+ coordinator asked me to talk with potential Erasmus students about my experience in Vilnius. I think this kind of experience is something any student should try at least once in their life, even for a short period”.

More information about Erasmus+ traineeship can be found here

Applications for the spring semester exchange are open

Hello! Hello! Ciao! Ola! Zdravo!

Would you like ...

  • … improve and / or learn a new foreign language?
  • ... broaden your horizons, get to know a new culture and develop tolerance?
  • ... make new friends and develop independence?
  • ... gain invaluable academic and life self?

If you answered YES to at least two questions, we invite you to apply and participate in exchange program!

Registration takes place from 1 to 24 September.

Address of the list of universities for the spring semester: https://www.erasmus.tprs.vu.lt/partneriai/

We are also waiting for you at the informational meeting on September 17th at 3 p.m. via MS Teams for students of the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics.

Registration form

More information about ERASMUS+:

On the website of the International Relations Department of Vilnius University

On the VU MIF page

Master's Students Start their Academic Year at Vilnius University

2020 09 02 RektoriusEN380x250Due to the situation in the country and the world caused by the coronavirus, the 1st of September at Vilnius University (VU) is also different - the traditional opening procession of the VU academic year which brings together thousands of students is cancelled and this year Master‘s students will be the first to start their studies at VU. However, VU Rector Prof Rimvydas Petrauskas gladly notes that there is no shortage of talented students at VU who, even during this tense period, have decided to continue to challenge themselves and deepen their knowledge and competencies.

“We will start the autumn semester in the face of a continuing pandemic, therefore, we have to be particularly mobilised, supporting each other, helping to arm ourselves with patience, maintaining motivation, while at the same time addressing emerging issues and misunderstandings. The crisis will eventually pass and we will return to a fully-fledged university life - auditoriums, laboratories, internship places, attend again academic and non-academic events, communicate live, discuss and exchange ideas and news, and, finally, see each other’s faces. I dare say that we have learned the lessons of the crisis. We are ready to respond faster, to share the available data, to ensure openness of information, to demonstrate leadership when the leadership is needed by our state", Prof R. Petrauskas says.

This year, 1,540 first-year students of master's degree and professional pedagogical studies were admitted to study at the country's largest higher education institution, while a total of 1,470 students were admitted last year. From 1540 of those admitted, the state-funded study places amount to 1,200.

According to the number of the programmes ranked as the first choice during the main admittance, the top ten of the most popular state-funded Master's studies include International Relations and Diplomacy, School Pedagogy, Clinical Psychology, Marketing and Integrated Communication, Human Resource Management, Medical Biology, International Project Management (in English), Finance and Banking, Advanced Practice in Nursing and Health Psychology study programs.

A number of students in Arts Therapy (Drama Therapy), Politics and Media, Informatics, Business Development, Global Business and Economics (in English), Chemistry has increased. Artūras Šaltis, the head of the VU Admission Department, notes that these tendencies are not surprising because the Master's degree studies are important for successful integration into the labour market and wider career opportunities.

This year, VU also introduced a new Master's degree program - Molecular Biotechnology (in English), which has also attracted a great deal of interest as it meets the labour market expectations and educates the highest level specialists.

For Bachelor’s students, the study year will begin on 14 September. All members of the VU community are invited to the discussion festival on 12 September, organized by the VU Student Representation Office, where university professors will outline a wide range of interesting issues from politics to life sciences to the participants.

Although, taking into account the recommendations of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, safety of the VU community and the public in general, the planned traditional opening procession of the VU academic year in the city streets starting from the Independence Square to VU Grand Courtyard has been cancelled, a traditional flag-raising ceremony will take place in the VU Library Courtyard on 14 September at 9.30 am, which will be live broadcasted online.

MIF alumni Marija: IT is one of the most interesting and promising fields of studies

Marija Kairytė Brencienė is a former student of Information Technology study program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (VU MIF). Currently she is working as a Computer Network Engineer at „Danske Bank“. We talked about her studies and the challenges that are being faced at work.

2020 08 17 Marija Brenciene380x250Why did you choose Information Technology study program?

I chose this program because IT is one of the most promising fields of studies now as it was ten years ago, when I had to decide which way to go after school. If I had to choose again, without doubts I would choose  IT studies again.

These studies were especially important and useful for me because during my  studies I not only had the opportunity to get acquainted with various IT sectors, but also to participate in projects and apply theoretical knowledge into practice.

I also got acquainted with a wide range of topics - programming, databases, web development, computer networks, etc. It helped me to choose an area I enjoyed where I started working before graduating from university and where I still work until now.

You are currently working as a Computer Network Engineer at „Danske Bank“ - what challenges do you face in this job?

My job is very dynamic, every days brings me new challenges and to be able to solve them I need to deepen my knowledge constantly.

Quite often I need to learn and adapt to new technologies, because they are being updated constantly. So the main challenge is how to absorb all the new knowledge and use it properly.

How does your typical day at work look like?

My main goal is to solve and manage various incidents. The problems range from the simplest "customers cannot connect to Danske Bank's WIFI network" to "Danske Bank customers in Denmark cannot connect to e-banking".

In your oppinion, what are your career prospects after graduating the IT program?

I think that the possibilities are endless, as having a wide range of IT knowledge makes it easy to enter the labour market. Knowledge in one area can serve and complement knowledge in another area, thus expanding job opportunities and giving advantage over competitors.

What did the University teach you? Does it benefit you in the activities you are doing today?

The university has taught me not to be afraid to take risks, to set goals, to pursue them and never to give up, no matter how difficult it may seem at first. All this is useful not only at work but also in personal life. At the university, I also learned to study properly, search for information, process and use that information - these are very important skills that I use at work every day.

What advice would you give to future VU MIF students?

I would advise not to be afraid of IT studies - this is one of the most interesting and promising specialty, which opens up a very wide range of career opportunities.

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