Philippine student Jeffrey Razonabe will spend his first winter in Europe – in Vilnius and can’t wait to see snow. It will be a year of many firsts for him– 1st time in Europe, 1st snow, building the first snowman and getting accustomed to colder weather.
Jeffrey Razonabe
Jeffrey Razonabe
© Asm. albumas

“I am ignorant about winter and I want to prepare,” said the 25-year-old Master’s Degree student at Mykolas Romeris University.

- What brings you to Vilnius, and to Lithuania?

- I had the opportunity to study in an international joint Master Social Work programme and decided to apply. Our professors and academics in the Philippines know about the Erasmus+ studies opportunity and inform students about possibilities to study in Europe. Now I am privileged to study in a programme that allows students to spend time not only studying at MRU in Vilnius but also in Portugal, in Latvia and in Slovakia. When I was accepted at Mykolas Romeris University for the fall semester, I had to pack my bags and leave Cebu, Philippines. It is a 20-hour flight from Manila to Istanbul and then about 3 hours more until you reach Vilnius.

- This is the first time that you are in Europe?

- Yes, it is my first time in Europe. Lithuania is a very memorable country for me because it’s the first European country I’ve visited. My whole life I had dreamed to come to Europe and studying here, so it is my dream that I am now living. I plan to visit other countries in the region while I am here. I have plans to go to Denmark soon.

- What did you know about Lithuania before coming here?

- Honestly, I didn’t know anything about Lithuania. But, when I was awarded the scholarship, I had to check the map to see where exactly Lithuania is located.

- How do you like Vilnius now that you have spent your first month here?

- People are very warm and friendly here. I was afraid of the weather. It is a very different climate here. Recently I went to the shopping mall and had to ask a Lithuanian sales lady to help me find a pair of warm shoes. She did and now I am ready for the cold winter that I am told is not far off.

- Anything that surprises you here?

- I am surprised by how well organized and how inexpensive public transport is in Vilnius. It is a great way to get around at an affordable price. Also, the Vilnius airport surprised me because it is located in a green, forested area. You have many forests. Vilnius and especially the airport are very clean. Already I have gotten so accustomed to Vilnius and the rhythm of life here that I can say that I feel at home here. Vilnius has become my second home.

- So Lithuania has surpassed your expectations?

- Yes, it has exceeded my expectations. I am a person that wants to see Lithuania and how people have preserved their identity over the last several decades. When I go to the Vilnius Old Town, I feel like history, like the past, comes alive. In the Philippines, you can’t see such old, well-preserved buildings, cobblestone streets. We don’t have any old buildings. It is all new buildings with a style of Japanese, American architecture.

-Y ou have accumulated vast knowledge in the Social Work area and teach the subject in the Philippines. Why did you decide to become a student again?

- We have a saying in the Philippines that in order to escape poverty, one must work hard and you have to get an education. When I began studies, my family could not afford to send me to university. I did odd jobs including washing clothes and helping students write term papers in order to get money for studies. Now I have an Erasmus+ scholarship and this allows me to devote all my time to studies here in Vilnius. I’m ambitious and crave to learn as much as I can about the area of Social Work. I can then pass on my knowledge to students in the Philippines.

- What are your plans after completing your Master’s Degree?

- I would like to study in a doctoral programme relating to Social Work that is offered in Lisbon, Portugal. That would be my plan. I will also continue teaching at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, where I am lecturing in the field of Social Work.

It is forbidden to copy the text of this publication without a written permission from DELFI.

Student from Tashkent: St. Casimir's Fair reminds me of Venice Canival

Exchange student Sergey An from Uzbekistan arrived in Vilnius in February, but already found time to...

Ukrainian student in Vilnius: my childhood's dream became true here

Ukrainian junior researcher Yuliana Shuhani arrived in Vilnius in 2019 - well before the War started...

Student from Malta saw snow for the first time in Vilnius

Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) Erasmus exchange student Samuel Camilleri Brancaleone from Malta did...

Congolese student from Kinshasa surprised by number of elderly citizens in Vilnius

Democratic Republic of Congo citizen Gedeon Kenga Kabongo (21) from Kinshasa recently arrived in...

Turkish student: when I hear the bus driver's announcement, I get excited that I am finally home

Psychology student Fahri Selim Akkiz holds a Turkish passport, speaks Turkish, but has spent very...

Top news

SocDem leader: conservatives suffered defeat in municipal elections

Leader of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), MEP Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, says the...

Mayor-elect of Vilnius to negotiate with SocDems and Freedom Party over coalition

Valdas Benkunskas, mayor-elect of Vilnius, has revealed that the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian...

Estonian minister: Russian destabilisation of Moldova impacts Europe ‘considerably’

Estonia’s outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has recapitulated Estonia's support...

LLRA leader outraged by party’s loss in mayoral elections in Vilnius district

MEP Waldemar Tomaszewski, leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania-Christian Families...

SocDem Duchnevič elected Vilnius district mayor

Robert Duchnevič, mayoral candidate of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), sensationally...