Fozi’s Exchange at Kaunas TU

My name is Ali Mohamed Ali (called “Fozi”). I am from Somalia and currently studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering (third year) at Abdullah Gül University (AGU) in Kayseri (Turkey).

One of the biggest reasons I applied to AGU was because of the opportunity to go for a semester exchange in a European country through the Erasmus+ program (a European Union exchange program launched in 1987).

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In front of Trakai Peninsula Castle

I wanted to take part in the Erasmus program because it provides the chance to experience a different education system, cultures, to travel to and discover other countries while benefiting from the financial support provided by the European Union fund.

However, “Erasmus” is quite competitive because each department has the funding to send 3-4 students. To be nominated you have to sit for an English test, which makes up 50% of the total points, the other half will be your GPA. After this process, the top 3 – 4 students of each department are contacted by their Erasmus coordinator. I applied for this program in my second year but unfortunately wasn’t among the top. But fortunately when I applied in my third year, I finished first J. After this, my departmental Erasmus coordinator, Mr. Dooyoung hah, contacted me and filled me in the entire process.

After a smooth process, I ended up in Kaunas, Lithuania on August, 28th 2018 in order to spend a semester at the Kaunas Univeristy Of Technology (KTU). Even though I missed some of the orientation program, I was able to join the last few days, which consisted in traveling to two cities in Lithuania, Trakai and Vilnius.

I went to Lithuania with two of my AGU classmates, Husein Baydar and Mostafa Radwan. With the help of our dear Professor, Dr. Dooyoung Hah, we were able to find matching courses, which is the second big step after being nominated and the most crucial one in order to be able to graduate on time.

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At a Welcome Concert with Mostafa Radwan, my AGU classmate

KTU is one of the best universities in Europe and Top 2 in Lithuania if not the 1st in Engineering Especially. It has a system designed to make foreign students, especially exchange ones, adapt quickly and integrate easily. I definitely recommend AGU students to go spend a semester. I was hesitant at first because I had not heard of Lithuania before. However, I guarantee you it was the best decision I have ever made. On top of great education and social life, KTU is also flexible for Erasmus students to travel. For instance, if your booked flight collides with an exam, they will give you the option to take it when you get back. KTU is a heaven for Erasmus students.

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The Turkish Gang

The Education style at KTU was different from the AGU one, but we adapted quickly. In my opinion this was because, at AGU, we have the chance to experience different styles of learning. Even our teachers at KTU were impressed by our background because we integrated courses easily, while our peers from different universities were having a bit of a hard time. In addition, we had the chance to work with other Erasmus students on different projects. This was an amazing opportunity because we created professional connections with people from all over Europe. For example, in the networking class, our professor gave us the chance to work with a local entrepreneur and build a website for him.

Apart from the Education side, my favorite part of my exchange experience was the extracurricular activities I joined. ESN KTU organized a lot of fun events. These were helpful in order to interact with other Erasmus students and local students as well, forging friendships and having a good time.

The photos below were taken at an event, in which every country was supposed to prepare a special dish.

Even though it was a competition, it was still done in a friendly spirit and ended up being an awesome opportunity to taste a lot of delicious food.

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With the Portuguese Gang

My favorite part of my Erasmus experience was traveling. Because, as an Erasmus student, you can obtain an ESN card, which offers a lot of discounts for traveling (plane, bus, train). As a result, whenever we had a project-free weekend or holiday, we went on to travel and discover Europe :). During this semester, I had the chance to visit Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Italy, Germany, France and Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

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“Racism is a denial of the deepest identity of a human being”

 

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Somewhere in Switzerland…

My return to AGU was also joyful. My friends picked me up from the airport and prepared food for me. It took all the blue feelings I had of leaving my Erasmus friends and I felt back at home. It is an honor to have such a family at AGU.

I am generally and honestly thankful to everyone in my life from my family, my AGU professors, my friends and even to the guy, who gave me a good deal in the traveling insurance company.

But I would like to, especially, thank the people that made my Exchange experience possible:

Looking back at my whole adventure, I now realize that my Erasmus exchange helped me become more experienced and mature. I had the chance to see and experience new things; I made friends for life and developed a new perspective on life.

My Erasmus experience opened my eyes because I realized that it is not that difficult to further my education in Europe. There are a lot of financial supports available. I am currently talking with the coordinator of the Electronic department at KTU on the prospect of working on projects they were carrying out in power electronics and automation.

It would be my pleasure to answer questions of students interested in my story. I would like to help like older students did when I was in the visa process, I will forever be in their debt for this. You can reach me at alimohamed.ali@agu.edu.tr

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