It‘s not crowded like in her native Dhaka and safe to travel, she says. Studying abroad and traveling is an adventure. Before going to a new place, you can expect something new and learn more about the country and its culture, she added.
Lithuania is the first European country she has visited. Nusrat said her mother was instrumental in making sure she got a good education, so she would not just be another housewife. Her mother didn‘t allow her to do any chores at home – no washing or cleaning rooms. Nusrat had to study. However, now she must clean her own room and bathroom in the dorm for the first time in her life.
- How did you decide to come to Lithuania?
- I am a Bachelor‘s Degree student in computer science at the American International University of Bangladesh. There was an opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Vilnius at Mykolas Romeris University. I have good grades, so I got the chance to come here through the Erasmus+ programme.
- You enjoy studying languages. Does that include Lithuanian?
- Actually, I had to learn some Lithuanian before coming so I could communicate using basic words. I knew ačiū and how to say, „laba diena.“ However, I put more effort in learning Russian because Lithuanian is used only in Lithuania.
So, I‘ve learned the Russian alphabet and plan to continue to study Russian in Dhaka, when this semester in Vilnius ends. I also know Bengali, which is my mother tongue, and I can speak Hindi. I tried to learn some Spanish. I taught myself. Also, I can understand some Korean because I watch some Korean dramas on my computer.
- Where did you learn Hindi?
- By watching television in Bangladesh. But, after graduating from my school, I have stopped watching TV – at age 16. The computer is better than watching television.
- What did you find that was surprising here in Lithuania?
- The cold weather, here in Lithuania, is not that big of a deal. The food is different. The architecture is different. I enjoyed seeing the old houses in Trakai, which I liked very much. I take pictures and send the photos of buildings, architecture to my friends.
Also, I find the people in Vilnius are more quiet than in Bangladesh. The banking system is different. In my country you need to go to a bank to get things done. Here you have Internet banking, which is convenient. We don‘t have it yet in Bangladesh.
Also, public buses are not that crowded in Vilnius like back home. Women have to be careful when traveling by bus in Bangladesh. Often, thieves try to steal mobil phones on crowded buses.
- You mentioned that the educational system differs from your country? How?
- In my country, it is more formal. You can not be so friendly with the university teachers like students are here. It is all so formal in my country. But, I like the small classroom sizes here, so the lecturers can pay more attention to students. Also, I like how the teachers find ways to teach us being innovative.
- Do you celebrate New Year‘s Day in your country?
- No, because the Bengali New Year‘s is on April 14th and then we celebrate. People wake up early on that day, dress up in traditional dress and sing in Bengali. We have no celebrations on December 31st or January 1st. Some people like to set off fireworks on that day, but due to the large population of Dhaka (20-million), fireworks are banned.
- What did you do during the traditional Christmas holiday when everyone was celebrating in Lithuania?
- I went to Spain for Christmas break and then to Berlin.
- What will you do after you complete your Bachelor’s Degree?
- I plan to study for my Master‘s Degree in Europe. I would like to apply in Germany at the universities there. I also plan to work towards my PhD, also in Europe. One day I hope to be a professor in computer science and lecture at a University.
- You are returning to Bangladesh soon. Anything you will miss?
- Yes, I will miss all the international friends I have made here here in Vilnius. My dorm roomate is from Turkey. I have friends from China, Japan, Armenia, Egypt, Nigeria. However, I have invited one of my friends to visit Bangladesh, so we will stay in touch.