International Students

2020-06-11 00:00:01

Azeri Student Brushed Up on Turkish Language while Living in Vilnius

thumbnailazeri1 Elsun Rzayev from Azerbaijan is spending his last month in Vilnius before he returns to Baku. The 19-year-old Azerbaijan State Economic University student spent an exchange semester at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) studying economics and accounting.

A member of the ethnic Lezgin group in Azerbaijan, he speaks not only English, Turkish, and Russian but also Lezgian. In Vilnius, he made friends with students from over 20 countries and brushed up on his Turkish conversing daily with a student from Istanbul.

- How did you find about Lithuania and studying in Vilnius?

- My friends in Baku were here last semester in Vilnius and they were talking about life and studies in Lithuania. It seemed so interesting. Then I found out more on the website about studies at Mykolas Romeris University and from my university and on the internet. I must admit I have learned so much in a short period of time here in Vilnius.

- You are here during the quarantine period. Was it difficult for you?

- It was difficult because we students were used to living a different life and suddenly everything was closed and shut. But, luckily we were in the dorm. I had many friends there so the time went quickly. Now there are less restrictions and it is possible to move around the campus and Vilnius more freely. Also, the quarantine period is set to be lifted in mid-June, so we all feel better at this time.

- What did you know about Lithuania before coming?

- I knew it was a basketball country and not a very big country. My friends told me a lot about the dormitory in Vilnius, how to adjust to life in the city and gave me many practical tips. So, I was somewhat familiar with Vilnius before arriving in January.

- What surprised you the most about life in Vilnius?

-The weather, of course, as it was much colder than in Baku. Also it’s a different culture here. We treat visitors from abroad as our special guests and welcome each and everyone in Azerbaijan. It is not uncommon for Azerbaijani people to show hospitality to foreigners, to help with luggage and heavy objects, and, sometimes, to invite visitors home for a meal. In Baku, if you are a tourist, everyone will try to help you.

- What are the differences between Baku and Vilnius that you noticed?

- We in Baku have some things in common with Vilnius – for example, the Old Town. We have an Old Town, an old city, in Baku as well. It is much warmer during the summer months in Baku and temperatures are now 30+(C), while in Vilnius in June you may still need a light coat. I also noticed that elderly people in Vilnius are not very conversant in English. The cuisine is different from my country and every day we eat meat – lamb, beef. We do not eat pork as we are Muslims. Lithuanian cuisine is rather bland and not many spices are used.

- What will you tell your fellow students, friends about Vilnius when you return to Baku?

- Just come visit and you will see for yourselves.

- You made friends with students from many countries here. Which ones?

- Yes, I have many international friends now. You want me to name them – all? Well, they are from Latvia, Lithuania of course, China, Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Spain, the Czech Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. I plan to visit many of them in the future.

- What are your plans after you graduate?

- I plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in a European country. The government of Azerbaijan provides scholarships for students to study abroad. I may take advantage of this. In the future, I may return to Europe for work. Maybe I will come back to Lithuania and get a job here.

(This interview was published June 13th, 2020 in the online news portal DELFI EN).