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Kosovo, a landlocked country, is Europe’s youngest country in Europe bordered by Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. It also has the youngest population in Europe with an average age of 30. In Pristina, the capital, the average age of the population is 28 years old. Lithuania recognized Kosovo well over a decade ago – in 2008.
Marigona Berisha
Marigona Berisha
© Organizacijos nuotr.

Students from Kosovo now are increasingly coming to Lithuania to study. Universum College student Marigona Berisha, 19 years old, came to Vilnius in January as an exchange student at Mykolas Romeris University.

She had no idea that she would end up here during the unusual quarantine period and that she would spend so much time inside. Marigona, a Catholic, also spent her first Easter away from her family this year in Vilnius.

Although she coloured Easter eggs with siblings in years past, she settled on buying chocolate Easter eggs this year instead.

- How are you faring during the quarantine period?

- It’s boring. But, we students study during the day, listen to lectures online. In the evenings, sometimes we stay up too late with friends. Sometimes we order food for delivery to the dormitory at the University and other times we cook for ourselves.

- How did you find out about the exchange programme that brought you to Vilnius?

- I was searching on the Internet for a place to study and I found Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. I am a Computer Science major. I thought it would be a great opportunity to come, study and share experiences with other students. Also, it is good to learn about other cultures and countries.

- Did you know anything about Vilnius or Lithuania before coming here?

- Not much. I did know that such a country exists and have found out more about Vilnius and Lithuania since I have been here. The first thing I noticed when I came here is the calm and peaceful atmosphere. Also, the nature in Vilnius is amazing.

- Were your parents surprised that you were going away for 6 months to Vilnius? What did they say?

- My parents were supportive. They told me to “be safe” and enjoy my travels and studies in Lithuania.

- What are your impressions of Vilnius?

- It’s a peaceful city. I like the life here and the Lithuanian people. I find them very polite. It’s a good experience. You know in general, student life and being a student is great.

- You are from the city of Gjakova, located 80-km from Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. How does Gjakova differ from Vilnius?

- Gjakova is a small city with a large number of primary, secondary schools and also universities. It’s more noisy. There are many cafes and many bars and clubs there. The nightlife is attractive. There are many young people outside. Here in Vilnius it’s so beautiful, the green nature and the trees. The air is fresh here. It makes me feel relaxed. I wish Gjakova was more like this – more green. The weather is different from Gjakova and differs from day to day. For example, in Vilnius, one day it can be sunny and then it can be raining the same day.

Marigona Berisha
Marigona Berisha
© Organizacijos nuotr.

- Is there anything that you miss while you are here in Vilnius?

- I miss my friends and my family – 2 brothers and sister. Some foods I miss too such as the round Kosovan pancake pie, flia dish – that resembles pizza. It is very good made with simple ingredients such as flour, butter, yogurt and water. There is even a Flia Day celebrated on March 20th, when families invite relatives to eat Flia together. This I miss.

- What are your plans after you graduate?

- When I go back to Kosovo this summer I will be finishing my Bachelor’s Degree studies in Computer Science. I have many plans for the future including traveling abroad. I also want to improve my English and I have the chance to do that while in Vilnius.

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