KTU student about an exceptional study experience in France and Spain: three diplomas in three years

Important | 2024-03-28

Three countries, three universities, three diplomas and at least three languages mastered in just four years. This is the baggage of experience that Benas Balčikonis, a student at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), has gained while studying in the New Media Language programme at KTU. Two of the four study years Benas has spent in Spain, at the University of Granada, and in France, at the University of Aix-Marseilles.

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), taking part in the Applied European Languages (AEL) programme for the fourth year in a row, is offering an exclusive exchange opportunity to the students of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, who have opted for New Media Language or Translation of Technical Texts studies.

Benas Balčikonis, a student of New Media Language at KTU, who is in the last semester at a university in Spain, doesn’t hide the fact that he had to face some challenges, but his invaluable experience and the goal he set at school to study in France made up for all the difficulties.

Fell in love with the French language in high school

“While applying to the New Media Language program, I knew straight away that the AEL programme was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” recalls the student, who fell in love with the French language and culture when he was still at school, “In my case, the main goal and the main motivation was to study in France.”

Having studied in English in Kaunas for the first year, he admits that, despite having passed the B2 level French language exam, in the first months of his studies abroad he lacked the determination and skills to communicate in French in real life.

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Benas Balčikonis, KTU New Media Language student

“In France, it was very difficult at first to adapt and get used to speaking a rarely used language. It was the same with Spanish – I can say that it was only when I started studying in Spain that I started to really understand and not be afraid to speak Spanish,” says Benas.

The Fountaine de La Rotonde is the largest fountain in Aix en Provence, nicknamed a "City of Fountains".

However, when he reflects on the language barrier he overcame, Benas is pleased not only with his improved knowledge of French and Spanish, but also with his increased self-confidence.

“After a few months, I was amazed at how quickly one can get used to and adapt to an unfamiliar environment,” says KTU New Media Language student.

When it comes to language learning, Benas believes that this experience only proves that it is necessary to practice a language.

Having already tried three universities in three years, Benas has noticed that the modules on offer vary quite a lot between them. In addition to the linguistic subjects, New Media Language students are introduced to several types of technological science, the specificities of new media, and develop their language skills in a variety of environments. Benas points out that at universities abroad the range of modules offered is wider, allowing students to try out many different areas.

“France has a completely different approach – students need to have a broad education to apply their language skills properly, so the modules offered did not have one specific area and covered not only language and cultural studies, but also sociology, law, and economics. The University of Granada, for example, has a very strong focus on translation, so studying in Spain taught me more about the translation,” says Benas.

Plethora of organised activities for international students

After-class activities are an important part of student life. Benas thinks Granada is a city that would appeal more to nightlife lovers. Aix, on the other hand, seemed rather quiet.

Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to experience student life in both France and Spain. There are after-studies clubs, fitness classes, walks with friends through the city streets, and even various student organisations that organise events specifically for Erasmus students. Reflecting on his trips during his studies abroad, Benas mentions the “Emycet” organisation in Spain, which allowed him to visit Madrid with other Erasmus students.

“Travelling with such organisations is an essential part of study exchange, as it would be much harder and more expensive to travel such distances on your own,” Benas advises.

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Alhambra palace – the biggest attraction in Granada, Spain.

KTU New Media Language student highlights the language exchange meetings: “It’s another great opportunity to develop the language you want to speak with native speakers.”

At the moment, Balčikonis is passing his final exams in Spain and while still enjoying the southern sun, is already looking forward to his 4th study year in Kaunas.

“I’m looking forward to finally enjoy my home and time with my friends and remembering what it means to study in Lithuania all over again,” says Benas.

What are his plans after graduation? KTU New Media Language student says he is considering an internship at the European Parliament, and perhaps seeking further career opportunities there. However, Benas believes that there are many choices, so he will have to be patient and open to all the offers and opportunities that lie ahead.

 Want to broaden your horizons while at university? Start with the right studies. KTU admissions for the academic year 2024–25 are open. We offer 50 bachelor’s and master’s study programmes in English. Check them out, choose yours and apply by June 30.