For several decades nicknamed a student capital, Kaunas is much more than just a second largest Lithuanian city. Lush parks, lively squares, cozy cafes and buzzing cultural life are making Kaunas more and more attractive not only as a travel destination, but also as a place to live.
“Kaunas is my first love – the most beautiful and friendliest city in Lithuania”, says Mantas Bertulis, journalist, author of several communications projects, among them – an immensely popular talk show and a travel blog.
The 24-year-old came to Kaunas to study communications and stayed. Mantas says that for a young person Kaunas is a city of possibilities: its moderate size and intelligent crowds makes networking much easier than in larger cities.
These are only a few arguments for choosing Kaunas as a study destination. There are so much more reasons to stay here for a semester, or for several years, and even for a lifetime.
1 Student City
According to official statistics, more than 37 thousand of students studied in Kaunas in 2016, more than 17 thousand of them were international students. It means that students comprise around 12% of Kaunas population; together with academics and researchers working in Kaunas universities they contribute to extremely intelligent, open-minded and creative community.
“Being a student city doesn’t necessarily mean impressive student numbers, it is a label defining the liveliness of public spaces, the city’s friendliness towards young people, diversity and possibilities”, says Donatas Vecerskis, a Kaunas City Council member.
Forget rush-hour traffic jams, long journeys through the city to reach different campuses, expensive taxi rides from the city centre to a dormitory. Covering the area of 157 square kilometres Kaunas is extremely compact – the city centre is within walking distance from most places in the city. If you like walking, that is. If you are not into long journeys on foot, you are welcome to cycle – Kaunas is one of the friendliest cities for cyclists – to travel by accessible and cheap public transport, or to use a car-sharing service CityBee.
“Will it be convenient to travel from the city centre to my dormitory? How will I come back from the centre in the night? Will there be enough activities after classes? These are the questions students ask themselves before coming to a new city to study. When coming to Kaunas one can be rest assured that these doubts will be solved: very convenient bicycle roads and cheap public transport, together with increasing choice of leisure activities and reasonable prices make this city super student-friendly”, says Lukas Kijauskas, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) graduate, the President of KTU Student Union.
“The quality of life and studies in Kaunas is equal to those in many European cities. Kaunas has a lot to offer for a young person, and for a reasonable price”, says Gediminas Dapkus, Head of Marketing Department at KTU.
It is no secret that cost-efficiency is one of the reasons for choosing one or another service, place of residence or a commodity. This is very important when one is a student on a tight budget, especially during the first months, while still looking for a job.
Stats reveal that comparing to Vilnius, living in Kaunas is much more economical: here you would pay almost 57% less for a rent and 9% less for a meal in a restaurant (which means that you could even afford it, occasionally).
Kaunas becoming European Capital of Culture in 2022 is only one of the reasons of the special vibe in Kaunas public spaces. The number of cultural events, ranging from gallery nights, photo and design festivals, graphic art exhibitions to open-air cinema and street-food weekends is constantly increasing.
Modernism architecture, labelled unique by European heritage, unique buildings of industrial heritage, rich galleries and Zalgiris arena boasting best in Europe acoustics are only a few of Kaunas culture landmarks.
Kaunas cultural life diary is easily accessible on facebook, and you can order a bi-weekly newsletter of events. However, to get the real experience of the Contemporary Capital (allusion to Kaunas being a temporary capital of Lithuania in between-wars period) you must come here.
Kaunas is living in its Renaissance period – renovation of the historical buildings and sites and construction of the new ones, improving infrastructure for all participants of the traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists, opening of new shopping and leisure centres, and business hubs are just a few most evident developments of the city infrastructure.
“More and more foreign investors choose to open or to expand their businesses in Kaunas. It means that the city’s economic power is growing”, says City Council member Vecerskis.
With KTU as the main provider of qualified engineers, Kaunas is becoming more and more attractive location for aviation, medical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering services providers and producers. Among them are such companies as Festo, Intermedix, TGW, Dematic, Hollister Inc. and others.
Kaunas is situated in the confluence of two longest Lithuanian rivers – the Nemunas and the Neris. The Santaka (Eng. confluence) park is a perfect spot for a romantic date or an evening jog, the oak grove Azuolynas covering 84 hectares and situated next to the main campus of KTU is the largest in Europe urban forest of mature oaks.
Panemune forest park, Kaunas Botanical Garden and the Zoo, Zaliakalnis and Aleksotas hills, which can be accessed by historical funicular rides, Lampedis beach and Kadagiu slenis (Eng. juniper valley) walks – all can serve as excellent recreational areas for relaxation after classes and weekend activities.
All in all, Kaunas is a city of many possibilities – and the best part of it is, that everyone is welcome to take part in the making of this great city.
“I am happy to see how many of my friends, colleagues and young Kaunas people are contributing to the changes in the city by joining the youth organisations, corporations and various projects. I think Kaunas is extremely open for young people”, says Bertulis.
Come and see for yourself.