Vilnius, University of Social Sciences
Erasmus Exchange Program, 2017
I was in my tenth grade at school when I decided I would enroll in CSM as I was convinced CSM had the best professors; I knew I would get the best education here.
My expectations have been met. It’s my third year now. The University has appreciated the work done by me and has been helping me in achieving my goals.
After completing my first year our dean Nino Zhizhilashvili told me I was number one in the students’ rating and the University would give 100% grant for my education; the same happened after my second year and I was told I would participate in Erasmus project.
Here my true adventure begins.
If I were writing diaries probably the most exciting would have been September 5, i.e. my first day at the new University. I found myself among new students, new professors, alien environment and a different educational system. At that point I realized I had made an important step, I had to stay and study in a foreign country for five months, I was independent, I did not have time for sentiments.
I clearly remember the first day of presentation, I saw how tense and worried the other students were, I felt more courage as I was used to making presentations as they are a part of our life at CSM. But when I saw 60 pairs of eyes staring at me I tried not to lose my courage. I managed it. At the end of the course when our instructor characterized each and every student individually, said: “Sofio, almost professional in making presentations.”
I took six courses in Vilnius. The instructors were Lituenians; however, I felt proud and happy when I found a Georgian instructor’s name when opting for courses.
Now I realize the greatest appeal of exchange programs is an opportunity of meeting people from different parts of the world. It’s a pleasant feeling to realize you have friends from Taiwan, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, France, etc. I visited four countries with them and returned full of new impressions.
Back in Tbilisi I was overprotected by my parents, in Vilnius I became more independent, I acquired knowledge and gained experience. I want to thank Caucasus University for the wonderful opportunity it has given to me. I have become independent, I can face challenges and successfully handle them.
Ajou University, South Korea, 2016
I clearly remember sending an e-mail to confirm I was ready to spend my summer semester at Ajou University, South Korea. I have always been fascinated with Asia! I am more fascinated now. I do not like to be at a loose end in summer. I find the three months of idleness too long. Summer School was a heaven for me. I liked the courses offered. I like the Korean language but I refused to learn it because two months seemed a very short period for learning a foreign language.
Only three days had passed after finishing the final examinations when my friend, Keti and I left for Korea.
The campus of Ajou University is in Suwon, a 45 minutes’ drive from the capital city. Suwon is not a large city, but green, with many Korean restaurants, fast-food places, tasty coffee, Confucian temples and many historical sightseeing.
We started our life in Campus in absolutely new atmosphere, which before long became familiar.
We had classes four days a week. One day, Wednesday, was for excursions. At a Public speaking I discovered that the instructor was going to speak about the presentation technique, which was unfamiliar for everybody except Keti and me. The classes were really very productive; I gained a good experience. Teaching was conducted in the English language only; we communicated with our new friends in English only. We picked up a few Korean words and expressions as well.
Special of all the excursions was an excursion on a volcanic island Jeju, where we stayed for three days! It was an unforgettable experience with sandy beaches and a lot of greenery. Jeju is known as Korean Hawai. I’d willingly go back to Jeju!
Before long the two months elapsed. We successfully passed our exams. At the end of one of the courses students wrote our impressions about one another. I will keep the papers for the rest of my life!
Today we communicate with our new friends via Facebook only. But we are planning to meet one another sometime. I have promised to invite them to Georgia and let them sample Georgian Khinkali.
All this pleasant experience is because of Caucasus University, which planned and funded our summer semester. I spoke about my University much there, I spoke with a positive attitude, I will always speak about MY UNIVERSITY with love.
South Korea, 2016
I had always been dreaming about going abroad to study; however, I thought I would only be able to do it only in my senior year or after graduating from Bachelor’s degree. However, it turned out I had been wrong; all I needed for making this dream come true was hard work and motivation and of course University which would help you.
Before enrolling in Caucasus University I had already discovered a lot of students travelled to a foreign country via exchange program from Caucasus University. At the end of my first year I was offered to go to South Korea, Ajou University. I would have never dreamed of having such a chance at the end of my freshmen year.
I left for Korea with a friend of mine Nana Chakvetadze to spend 6 wonderful weeks there. I met a lot of new and interesting people from different countries of the world, from the USA, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, etc. It was the first time I had met representatives of so many various cultures. It was a wonderful experience to meet them. One of the key aspects of journalism is being able to interact with people. It was in Korea when I realized I love it!
The courses taken at Caucasus University proved to be very helpful. The English language was no barrier at all, which helped us in adapting to the situation pretty easily. Once a week we had cultural workshops which introduced us to Korean culture, architecture and lifestyle.
We explored Korea, which I might have never visited if not this exchange program. I was fascinated with Korea and Asian culture in general.
Life in University campus is absolutely different. You have to follow certain rules and regulations, however, you feel absolutely free and independent. One of the biggest advantages of exchange programs is being independent. During the six weeks I gained experience, found out more about myself and became far more independent.
I had never expected I would think living independently in a foreign country difficult. My parents have been living in Spain for a long time, which means I have been independent for quite long. But to my amazement, I felt afraid at the prospect of staying in a foreign country for four months all by myself.
That’s cool when you are a student at a უniversity, which allows you to go to a foreign country as an exchange student and that is so simple. You need to have good grades during your first and second years of education, have to prove your English (or maybe other foreign languages) ის good enough and you are an exchange student. I hate cold but I still opted for Latvia, maybe because my friends advised me so. I left for Riga with a friend of mine, a student at CSM too, Anastasia Tsirekidze. Meeting with other students from 50 countries around the world was an exciting experience.
It’s a wonderful experience when you find yourself in a dorm in a foreign country, where you have to put up with a lot of new things, including noise and cleaning a kitchen left in a mess by somebody else. I miss even our bunk bed which I initially thought I would never be able to sleep in. As regards the courses, my favorite one was my course in Producing delivered by a producer of one of the most prominent programs of Latvian Public TV. Meeting him and visiting the Latvian Radio and TV station was an amazing experience.
I think CU students will not find studying anywhere difficult as we are used to hard work, when you have to read four books in a day and at the same time prepare a presentation too. I had passed the IELTS test and got a high score in it but initially I found communicating in English all the time very difficult. Lecturers and students liked our presentations very much. After I had made my first presentation the audience stood up and enthusiastically applauded me. I am happy to be a student of such a university. I keep saying that the most important of all the decisions I have made in my life was enrolling at Caucasus University. I am sure I will never regret it. CSM is not only a house of new knowledge but also of unforgettable experiences.
Now as we have almost reached the finishing line, I often ask myself why the Caucasus School of Media? The answer is pretty simple: deepening your knowledge in multitude of issues, interesting environment and people who are inseparable part of modern Georgian Journalism. CSM gives us an opportunity to participate in such projects which are wonderful source of our career prospects and establishing personal contacts.
I want to share my experience with you – a few years ago Radio CSM team: Dato Chumburidze, Magda Sarsevanidze, Vato Kipiani and I were attending a conference in Yerevan. Young people from six different countries (Germany, Poland, Armenia, Macedonia, Serbia and Georgia) had gathered in the ancient city to share our experiences with one another. We discussed a number of issues, including: relations between Armenia and Georgia, Conflict in Karabagh and Armenian genocide. We spoke about the challenges of Democracy the participating countries were facing.
The conference was organized by a German NGO Youth 4 Media of which CSM is a member. It was thanks to this membership we found ourselves among the Conference participants.
In addition to the trainings and the Conference, we held debates, an intercultural event, sampled traditional dishes and drinks and saw sights in Armenia. However, one of the most interesting parts was “meeting on the balcony”, maybe it was the most amazing of all the rest. Gathered on the balcony we spoke about music, books, career and future plans. I won’t exaggerate by saying that since then Dato, Magda, Vato and I have friends in these countries, who will be by us at any time and help us in everything beginning from sightseeing to getting a job. Perhaps this is the strongest part of such projects!
Being a CSM student I did not find it difficult to adapt to Latvian educational system. I study in Turiba at Communications Faculty.
Working with successful students from different Asian countries gave me a different perspective of my profession.
I participated in a few important conferences dealing with refinement of media system in Eastern Europe. I have had a chance to have discussions and debates with many interesting people, which in its turn facilitated to my professional growth and allowed me to put my theoretical knowledge in practice. Living in a foreign country allowed me to develop new skills, boosted my confidence and motivation to pursue my goals.
Riga made a great influence on me despite its severe climate. I met new people, explored new culture and acquired many memories. I will never forget the freezing cold and warm, punctual and self-disciplined people here.
I will visit Latvia at least one more time in my life. But I am sure the way from a student’s Latvia to tourist’s Latvia lies through a successful career and professional growth.
Our University has many European and not only European partners. In May, 2015 I left for Germany, Muenster University. A partner organization of Caucasus School of Media – Youth4media turned 10 years old. CSM sent me to attend the great event, which was a great honor for me.
The trip was challenging and worthwhile experience for me. It was my first independent trip. To tell the truth, living by myself in a strange country seemed very tough. However, on the next day everything changed. I found myself in a family, cozy atmosphere. I learned a lot, which will enable me to make new contacts in the future. I had business talks, participated in discussions and became more confident.
Muenster is a little town in Germany with low, old-fashioned buildings and green streets. You will meet people of all types and ages in the streets. I will definitely visit Muenster one more time with my husband and look at it from the tourist’s perspective.
Upon entering CSM, I realized it was the right time to start building my career. I was not mistaken.
In the fall semester of 2014 I was the top one student at CSM. The University sent me to New York University in Prague.
I would dare say that it was the happiest six months of my life. I got to know the American educational system and met professors who are professionals in their fields. I found out many interesting things in Marketing, Advertising, PR technologies. I found myself in a new environment and made new friends.
I got used to living independently. In addition, I acquired such knowledge which puts me ahead of the others. Journalism is nothing else but competition.
The exchange program made me more confident. Now I am back to my University and am given a chance to take internship with one of the major players in Georgian electronic publications.
2015 offered me a few challenges, which can otherwise be called gaining first-hand life experience. Caucasus University gave me a wonderful chance to pursue my education in Riga at Turiba University, for one semester. I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to all the people who assisted me in deepening my knowledge and gaining first-hand life experience as well as making many new friends; I got to know Latvian as well as with European culture.
It’s not an easy job to be a successful student at CU; however, I can see that our hard work has already paid off – my friends and I are already professional journalists.
Currently I am participating in the exchange program and I am sure that the knowledge and experience gained here will enable me to make success in my future career.
I lived and studied in one of the prettiest European cities for four months. In Prague I took five courses, which enabled me to better understand my future profession. I also familiarized with students’ life in Europe and western culture.
I had no problems while studying there as their system is very close to ours. I found more difficult to live in a city which is always gloomy and the climate is so different from ours; however, this problem was also settled before long. The four months spend in Prague were the most amazing in my life. I gained a deep knowledge and experience at our partner University; in addition, I learned to deal with people of other nationalities, familiarized with their cultures and histories of their countries. I will never forget the experience.
Our dean, Nino Zhizhilashvili gave me a wonderful opportunity to have a live reporting from Prague to Maestro. I was excited, even nervous but the experience was worth it as I learned to work with the camera.
Thanks to Caucasus University for the experience.
“The world is a book. Those, who do not travel read only a page from it.”
CSM enabled me to read a few pages from the “book” during the six months when I served as an intern at the headquarters of the Organization of Security and Cooperation. When starting work at OSCE I did not know how to apply the knowledge I had gained at CSM, I was startled when I found myself in a strange environment, when I realized I had to live on my own and realized an immense responsibility which had been imposed on me from nowhere. I did not know what to do. I was confused. However, my fears proved to be groundless – the theoretical and practical knowledge I had gained at CSM was enough. They enabled me to find my place in the new setting. When leaving I was asked to make a farewell speech, I suddenly realized I had grown, I had become a professional I had been dreaming to become.
I cannot find words to describe the memories and feelings which I have about Vienna. It was a tour around the most stunning cities of Europe, new people and new experiences. There were meetings behind the closed doors discussing the most important global issues, interviews with people I had seen on TV screen only, face-to-face meetings with presidents of various countries. I was given an opportunity to meet and work with people who are considered to be the best in the field of communication. During the six months I learned everything about Public Relations and Media.
Caucasus University funded all my living and travel expenses (as I was among tops students during the four years) but also enabled me to take distant courses. Even though my professors have very tight schedules and the time difference between Georgia and Vienna is significant, my professors delivered lectures via skype and send me materials to work on. I participated in a conference and presented my work via skype. Everybody helped me not to fall behind my peers at CSM. I was studying and accumulating the best experiences of my life simultaneously.
Thanks to Caucasus University for the theoretical and practical knowledge which helped me to become a better person and a real professional.
France, Reims, 2014
The chief reason why I decided to enroll in CSM was the exchange programs it has. I was given an opportunity to use the chance two times, once in my freshmen year when I travelled to Austria at the University of Applied Sciences for three weeks, and on my senior year I took part in the project – Media Georgia of Reims. I stayed in this picturesque town for one week with other students of Georgian Universities.
One might think one week is too short a period. I also thought so but each day was so much loaded, our agenda was so tight that on arriving in Tbilisi it seemed to me I had spent a few months in Reims. I had not expected so much could be achieved in such a short time.
During the seven days we visited TV France-3, recorded a program in the French language, worked on a project with French photographers, spoke to many journalists, producers and freelancers. All these people told us about peculiarities, standards and ethical norms of local media.
We saw local sightseeing as well. We spent our last day in France in Paris. The project was in the French language, which created a language barrier of a kind but it was also an additional experience and challenge for us.
All in all, the project was pretty tiring but full of emotions and impressions. Initially I was afraid I would be unable to understand French. Now I am happy I did not avoid the challenge as I encountered the language barrier only on my first day.
Exchange programs are a big experience for any student, therefore everybody must try to use the opportunity. They will not only allow you to grow professionally but will also enable you to fully realize your potential.
Chester, Great Britain, 2012
I lived in the dorm of Chester University for more than three months and learned at the Journalism Faculty. I took five courses in Great Britain and attended the English language courses provided by Chester University for free to all foreign students.
I acquired many friends there. I was given an opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience in my future profession. I cannot say it was very easy at the beginning. I faced numerous challenges – the language barrier, a different system of teaching. The atmosphere at Chester University is so warm and friendly that each and every professor and student are ready to give all the possible assistance. Therefore, I overcame all the obstacles and kept pace with student’s life pretty easily.
The university organized events of different kinds every week, which was a wonderful way of relaxing and making friends. On my days off I travelled round Great Britain with my newly-made friends. My experiences were great.
The three months spent at the University enabled me to become more independent, make familiar with the western media and create different contents in the English language: write news, profiles, prepare interviews, make documentaries and carry out media research, which means I gained all the theoretical and practical knowledge vital for Journalism.
Thanks to the Caucasus University for giving me these wonderful opportunities!
Chester, Great Britain, 2012
I had never thought about going abroad to pursue my education because at CSM we gained education meeting international standards. However, upon finding out the University enables us to get a double degree, I decided I would be leaving for Great Britain.
It was not easy all along. The first obstacle was the language barrier. Initially I found it difficult to fully comprehend every nuance of our professors’ speech; getting used to the British system of learning was not an easy task either. At CSM we learned according to the American system. There is a significant difference between the two.
In short, I have to admit initially I encountered numerous problems but I successfully overcame all of them. The University administration and professors gave me a great assistance as they were friendly and motivated to do all for the comfort and convenience of foreign students. At the end of each week special events were held, where we entertained ourselves and got to know one another better.
Eventually the one year spent in Great Britain gave me a great experience. The University had a daily online newspaper for which I prepared news. In addition I was given a chance to set up my own monthly magazine; even the design was created by me. Finally I defended my thesis in the English language. I discovered I had found much about peculiarities of English media. I advise all the students not to miss an opportunity of studying abroad.