He is the perfect representative of his country as 60% of Pakistan’s population is under 25 years of age. He agreed to answer a few questions.

- You came to Vilnius for studies. Why did you choose to study here?

- Because I want to get a degree from a university in Europe in the area of Social Work. After studies I plan to return to Pakistan and apply what I learned in practice. While in Pakistan – in Peshawar, I was a volunteer and also worked as a social worker. I became interested in studies in Vilnius because I found a Master’s Degree programme in Social Work with Children offered by Mykolas Romeris University. I plan to write my Master’s thesis comparing social services offered to youth and children in Lithuania and in Pakistan.

- How did you find out about studies in Lithuania?

- One of my friends recommended this programme. I searched the Internet and found this Master’s Degree programme. I am happy and excited that I got admitted to study in Vilnius. In Pakistan, many young people want to get a degree from a European university. I will be the first in my family to graduate with a degree from a university in Europe. I promised my mother that I would not return to Pakistan, until I completed my Master’s Degree.

- What did you know about Lithuania before arriving here?

- That the population is three millions and that Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union. It is amazing to me that 95% of the people are educated here. Many have degrees from institutions of higher education. Also, you have one of the fastest internet services in Europe. But, I am here to gain knowledge in my field and also to find out more about Lithuania. I want to learn about Lithuanian culture and more about holidays in your country – especially about Independence Day Bank holiday.

Muhammad Saleem
Foto: Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

- How are you faring here? Anything that you especially like?

- I am happy with the bus transport system. For 6 Euros – per month you can go anywhere. Even when I travel to another Lithuanian city, I can get a student discount. I have also noticed that Lithuanian people are very helpful to strangers. Once, when I got lost in the city and did not have Internet and forgot my hostel address, a local resident of Vilnius rushed to help me. He allowed me to use his phone. He helped me so much.

- What challenges do you face living in Lithuania?

- Language problems. There is a barrier. It’s a big issue for me because I don’t speak the Lithuanian language. Also, there is the issue with food. As Muslims, we don’t eat pork. We are limited in what we can eat here in Lithuania, so often I find myself eating chicken with rice. I have found one supermarket in Vilnius that sells Pakistani basmati rice.

- It must be difficult for you as a student living in Lithuania during the quarantine?

- Yes and no. It is a good opportunity to meet other students from the dorm from different countries and learn about their culture and traditions. I have already met students from Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Nigeria. Living in the dormitory here at Mykolas Romeris University is like living in a “home environment.” The atmosphere is very international. There is no time to be bored. Also, I have to study and read much. Time will pass quickly during the quarantine.