30 Years of International Studies at LSMU
Annually growing interest of foreign youth, globally competitive alumni and constantly growing internationality – this is how the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) celebrates its 30th anniversary of international studies. On October 10, to commemorate the special anniversary of the University, first foreign graduates, as well as current and former LSMU leaders reviewed the work accomplished, as a result of which today, LSMU is one of the most international universities not only in Lithuania, but also in the entire region.
Rector of LSMU Prof. Remigijus Žaliūnas pointed out that these three decades of international studies at the University were rather different. “30 years ago, I was a young associate professor of cardiology, so the thought of starting international studies sounded like preparing for a flight to the Moon," the Rector shared his memories. “It was difficult to create an attractive study environment for talented young people who would like to study here."
The second decade was much easier; European projects and funding emerged, which helped the University to rapidly develop. The ambitions have not faded in the third decade of international studies either; new projects were initiated; the infrastructure of LSMU developed, and the level of studies, research and clinical activities grew. “Today, almost 20 percent of all students are foreigners. Only about 8 thousand students study at the University, so it is a really great achievement. In the next decade, we should commit to attracting more foreign researchers and academic staff. It will be a great investment in the future,” Rector of LSMU said at the celebration.
Former Rector of the University, Chairman of the LSMU Council Prof. Vilius Jonas Grabauskas was the one to take first steps towards the internationality of the University. Professor returned to the University after completing work at the World Health Organization, quite quickly became Rector, and undertook important changes. According to Prof. Grabauskas, throughout these decades, the University has provided a quality education to foreign nationals, and has also advanced due to the diversity of cultures studying here. “By coming to our University, you have made a significant contribution to expanding the understanding of people’s relationship on an international scale. In today’s global world, without international cooperation, there is no other way to achieve high-quality higher education," emphasized Prof. Vilius Jonas Grabauskas.
Former Chairman of the LSMU Senate Prof. Rimantas Benetis recalled that after Lithuania regained its independence, the initiation of international studies during the transition period was a really difficult task. “During the Soviet era, Kaunas was a closed city. We need be able to imagine this epoch; thus, only those who faced it understand what I mean. Nonetheless, starting international studies and cooperation with foreign colleagues was a particularly ambitious step at the time,” said Prof. Rimantas Benetis.
Professor emphasized that today, LSMU offers many study programs in English at various study levels, and that Kaunas, like the whole of Lithuania, is a great place to study, work and live.
This year, 342 young people from abroad chose to study at LSMU. This number is growing every year; mostly citizens of Israel, Sweden and Germany come to study here. The newcomers choose Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy studies; growing numbers of applicants also wish to study in other study programs offered by LSMU in English. LSMU offers a total of 17 study programs in English to foreign citizens.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the teaching and learning process, international studies at the University remain successful, with many processes being transferred to the digital environment. The University implements various student integration programs on a regular basis, if needed with the help of a psychologist.According to Dean of the International Relations and Study Center (IRSC) Prof. Ingrida Janulevičienė, those who choose to study at LSMU should know that the development of technology and artificial intelligence does not pose a threat to University graduates to lose their jobs in the future. “In the future, LSMU students will be global citizens, members of the knowledge-based community. Future LSMU students should be guided by values that are important for the health system and health sciences,” said the Dean of the IRSC.
Streamed live on Oct 9, 2020