The 21-year-old Transport Logistics major at Kazakh-German University (KGU) is spending a year abroad at Mykolas Romeris University. He also likes to travel and visit different parts of Europe. At the University, he has learned to love cooking for the many international friends he has made in the dorm. Recently a friend from Spain taught him how to make a Spanish omlette, tortilla de patatas, which he says is delicious.

- Why did you come to Vilnius?

- I received a scholarship from the Lithuanian government to study at Mykolas Romeris University for a year. I am a 4th year student at Kazakh German University studying Logistics. There were 2 of us Kazakhs that applied for the scholarship, but I was the only student from my University awarded a scholarship to study here.

- What did you know about Lithuania before coming?

- Well, 30 years ago we were part of one country, the Soviet Union. I know Lithuania is a basketball country. Also, your country is now part of the European Union. I also know that there are a lot of different goods coming from the U.S., through the port of Klaipėda, and then heading for Kazakhstan by train.

- You are a polyglot with friends from all over Europe. How many languages do you speak?

- Kazakh, English, Russian, some Turkish. I have started studying Spanish because many of my fellow students come from Spain. I wanted to study something new.

- What do you think of Vilnius?

- It’s a beautiful city, especially Old Town. It’s also very green. I am amazed by the interiors of restaurants and cafes here. I often take photos of the interiors or even menus and send them back home to my relative, who is very interested in this area.

- You were recently voted Mr. Erasmus Traveler because of your travels. How many countries have you visited since living in Vilnius?

- A total of 14 and soon after I visit Berlin and Luxembourg, the total will be 16 countries. I’ve been to all three Baltic countries and Belarus. I’ve also visited Austria, Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Russia-Kaliningrad, Netherlands, Slovakia and Belgium.

- What are your favourite cities?

- The top 3 are Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna. But, I also liked Bratislava and I especially like Vilnius.

- You mentioned you have changed during your time in Vilnius. How?

- Yes, I did change in some ways. I was discussing this with my friends recently. I’m feeling that I am freer now. Because of the many experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met, I’ve become more self-confident. This may have something to do with the 14 countries I have visited. My thinking has changed. I am much more positive now than in the past. I am not complaining about anything.

- You honed your cooking skills in Vilnius and like to cook. Does that include making dishes with horse meat?

- Horse meat is popular in my country. We cook and prepare horse meat to eat on special occasions in Kazakhstan. Our 5-finger horse dish, beshbarmak is made on festive occasions. Yes, during my time in Vilnius my cooking skills have improved. I recently made rice pilaf plov and students from France and Spain tasted it and kept complimenting me on how good it was. That made me feel great.

- Once you depart this summer, you will have spent a year in Vilnius. You have gotten a special tattoo recently?

Yes, I had a tattoo on my left foot done with the letters “VNO” for Vilnius. I have spent a year of my life here and I will never forget it.

- What are your plans for the future? What will you do once you graduate?

- I want to pursue Master’s Degree studies abroad. After I finish my studies, I want to return to Kazakhstan and perhaps open a restaurant or a cafe. You know, I dream of opening my own bar. In my country, there are not many bars just for young people. This is one of my little dreams. My aim is to always learn something new and not just sit in one place. Sometimes, I get so restless that I even change the furniture in my room so there is something different. It’s hard for me to stand still or just sit in one place.

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