In the early days of the year 2020, a delegation of Vilnius University visited Tel Aviv, Israel. During the visit, members of the group participated in the International Study Fair, met with executives of partner company MD International and conducted motivational interviews with prospective students. Keep reading for more details.
The annual Medical Studies Fair, hosted by “MD International”, was held in Tel Aviv and welcomed European universities that partner with this Company to participate and present their programs. The Faculty of Medicine (MF) of Vilnius University (VU) participated in this event for the eighth time. This year the Faculty was represented by the Vice-Dean of Studies prof. dr. Vaiva Hendrixson, Head of Study Department Jekaterina Bortkevič, Head of Communication Department Lina Kocienė, International Studies Coordinators Justė Andrikonytė and Miglė Trinkunaitė. The delegation was perfectly complemented by Artūras Šaltis, Head of Student Admission Unit at VU.
Photo: Artūras Šaltis, Lina Kocienė, prof. Vaiva Hendrixson, Jekaterina Bortkevič, Justė Andrikonytė, Miglė Trinkūnaitė, 2019.
As every year, the fair's agenda consisted of two parts – a formal one, where the universities introduced themselves, and an informal one, which involved direct communication with prospective students and their relatives. Study programs were presented by universities from the Czech Republic (Charles University, Palacky University), Croatia (University of Zagreb), Italy (Humanitas University), as well as Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. The Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University was presented by Miglė Trinkunaitė, who introduced the most important facts about Lithuania, Vilnius, the University and, of course, about studies and life in the Faculty of Medicine. "Speaking in front of hundreds of people is a challenge, but when you see the interest in the eyes of those attending, you feel proud of the University you represent and you realize how meaningful your work is," Miglė Trinkunaitė shared her thoughts after the presentation.
“Students from Israel make up about 10% of students in the Faculty of Medicine, and we would like to maintain and increase that level. We strive to show exceptional attention to our partners, representatives of Medicial Doctors International Academy, and to continue close cooperation,” Vice-Dean of Studies, Prof. dr. Vaiva Hendrixson said. “Of course, one can never draw universal conclusions, but in my opinion, these students stand out from the rest with their motivation and preparation. They begin their studies after compulsory military service, so they are older, more mature, more experienced and more aware of their goals.”
Photo: Miglė Trinkūnaitė presents Vilnius University, 2019.
Most of the Universities participating in the Fair have decades of experience organizing international studies, boasting traditions and significant prior work in the field, proud to have plentiful international alumni societies, and being able to welcome hundreds of new students each year. After the official introduction, the MF booth was surrounded by future students and their parents. The youth, of course, were fluent in English, but their relatives preferred to inquire in Russian. It was unexpected to meet several Lithuanian-speaking people who confessed that many years ago they came to Israel from Lithuania. “We can only be pleased that among such strong participants, VU Medical Faculty remains competitive and attractive to Israeli youth. Of course, we are getting stronger too – we have already had two courses of foreign students graduate, so we have the first alumni who are very active in spreading positive news about Vilnius University, ” Lina Kocienė considered. "Information from the lips of students is always valued more than that of employees". Such visits, according to the Head of Communication, are a great opportunity to evaluate what we look like in a general context compared to other universities. "Then you see where you still need to catch up and work, and where we really shine."
“We didn't try “to hook” as many students as possible while attending the study fair. Our goal is to select those who really want to study at Vilnius University, have already heard about or maybe even visited Lithuania. Motivation is one of the most important criteria,” Jekaterina Bortkevič, Head of the Study Department, stated. “The most unpleasant thing is when a newly admitted student quits studying after a few weeks or month, then you realize that you could have picked another – more motivated – candidate instead. We work hard to minimize such situations. So far we have been successful.”
According to Artūras Šaltis, during the Fair there was a lot of interest in the Faculty of Medicine, we have to wait for the documents and hope that the best ones will come to us. "Those who didn’t manage to participate in the live motivational interviews will be able to do so later on Skype. The purpose of this visit was to provide knowledge about the University, allow people to google information about it on their own and, of course, make the right decision,” the Head of Student Admissions said.
Interviews take place at the Faculty of Medicine every spring and form a fairly important part of the work of International Studies Coordinators. The purpose of such interviews is to find out the motivation of future students. “Of course, it's always better to talk live. Then the human personality and character are revealed. In all cases, a direct, live conversation is priceless”, Justė Andrikonytė shared her thoughts. "But when it is not possible to meet live, technology helps a lot."
In 2020 admission to the medical and dental studies in English at VU Faculty of Medicine is planned for the 8th time. It is expected that 100 students will be accepted in the medical degree program and 20 in the dental study program.
Photo: VU representatives communicates with Israeli Youth, 2019.