“I keep getting phone calls from various companies asking if I am still looking for a job. I chose my current position from three offers, and I am sure that there is no lack of jobs for students in engineering and technical fields in Lithuania”, says biomedical engineer Basant Kumar Bajpai from India. Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) graduate, and (from this autumn) a PhD student has been living in Kaunas for three years.
In his talk Basant keeps including Lithuanian words and he jokes about funny situations occurring during mixed-language interaction. However, he does not accuse “cultural differences” for any of his experiences and is convinced that Lithuanians are very friendly, and one has only to show interest and make the first step.
Asked, what he would advise international students who complain about not finding jobs or internships in Lithuania, Basant says: “They are probably not trying hard enough”.
As a student he used all the opportunities offered by the university and encourages everyone to put 100 percent effort into achieving their goals.
Employer Can Help with Work Permit
The young professional agrees that the procedure of employment in Lithuania for people from other countries is rather complicated. Although he has heard of stories when people were refused work permits, this was not the case for Basant.
“As the process of obtaining a work permit can take up to two months, it is not a very convenient for a candidate or for a company. The company I am working at now, first employed me as an intern. They were really helpful, and I am extremely grateful for it”, says Basant.
He says that now he has enough information about the bureaucratic procedures regarding employment in Lithuania, and can offer advice to anyone experiencing difficulties.
Busy Life: Working and Studying
From September Basant Kumar Bajpai is a PhD student at KTU Health Telematics Science Institute. He approached its director Professor Arminas Ragauskas at a conference and asked about doctoral research possibilities at the Institute.
“It is possible to study and work at the same time – you just have to accomplish the projects that you are responsible for. Your work schedule is not important for the company, your responsibilities are. Also, the more educated and skilled the employees of the company are, the better products they can create. There are several KTU PhD students working at my work place”, says Bajpai, working as an engineer in a medical equipment company.
During his study years at KTU, the student from India used the Erasmus programme and found an internship at Odense University Hospital Department of Radiology.
“Everything went well and I love that field of work, supervising and developing medical equipment, but I did not like working at a hospital”, says the biomedical engineer.
Cultural Variety Is an Advantage
The company where Basant works fosters international environment, and almost everyone there speaks English. He is the first international employee in the Lithuanian office.
“I don’t feel that anyone judges people from other cultures here. I have a lot of different experiences from my studies in India and from my internship in Denmark. There are things that I might just want to do differently. From my boss here I get only encouragement; he often says: that’s a good idea, I never thought about it”, says Basant.
He is also very happy he chose studying at KTU: the quality of studies was great and everyone here, especially the teachers and the Faculty staff were very helpful.
“I could ask anything I did not know and I would always get help. If international students wish to achieve their goals, they need to leave their dormitory rooms and look for the opportunities within the university. I grabbed every opportunity the university offered”, says Basant, KTU PhD student from India.
Hindi and Lithuanian Are Very Similar
“There are no cultural differences. Of course, we are born different and we are from different places, but this is not an obstacle for communication. I like to communicate with various people, my friends are from different places in the world and I value this experience as I can learn a lot from everyone”, says the young engineer and researcher.
Although he hasn’t been at home since moving to Kaunas, Basant says that he does not miss India. Coming to Kaunas from Denmark for holidays he felt like coming home. Maybe partially because of the language – Lithuanian is an ancient language related to Sanskrit.
“We have the same words for numbers. Also, we say “Ką tu?“ (Eng. howdy), we have a word “gyveni” (Eng. live) and “sapnai” (Eng. dreams). I understand Lithuanian, but I can’t always express myself”, says Basant.
Indian Cheese Tastes Different
Last year Basant and his girlfriend started a business, and he has another idea for a start-up. Although India is considered as one of the world’s growing economies and this is especially true for the expanding health technology field, the young engineer is not planning going back to India any time soon: “There are many things left for me to learn, many goals to achieve”.
Although Basant insists that he loves Lithuanian food (“cepelinai”, “bulviniai blynai” and “koldūnai su grietinė”), he admits missing Indian food.
He loves cooking at home and says that one can ship the missing ingredients from the United Kingdom or buy them in Poland. For those willing to try Indian food in Kaunas, he can also recommend a few places.
“You should try chicken tikka masala and Indian cheese paneer. I am sorry, but the Lithuanian cheese does not have any taste!”, says Basant, who has been living in Kaunas for three years now.