For the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, Lithuania is sending Monika Linkytė with her amazing song “Stay”. For Monika, it is the second time at Eurovision after being part of a duet in 2015. Since then, she studied Music Education in London. In this exclusive interview with Study.eu, she talks about her experience as an international student - and why she's fine with being nervous about Eurovision:
Before you pursued your education in Music, you also studied Public Health and Law. That's quite an unusual mix - what motivated you for those subjects?
I am always seeking for the truth, so Law seemed like the perfect choice for me. Public Health was more of a spontaneous decision after having taken Chemistry and Biology courses in school. It was not for me, but it was important to experience something to decide if it's for you or not. I think it's very helpful to experience things and try them on your own to see what works for you. My advice would be just to explore and try to find your own path.
Whenever someone asks me if it's important to go and study abroad, I always say yes - and I think especially in the music industry.
You studied Music Education at BIMM in London. How did that experience influence you?
I learnt a lot about myself. I am so happy that I took this decision because I was very afraid. Before, at university, I switched between so many subjects, but after studying in London I really got to know what I want to pursue. I love the university and I loved the three years I spent in London, and I'm still in touch with a few people from my course. It was just an amazing experience as a musician to study in a city that is a center of the music industry. Every single day, walking down streets in London, I was thinking to myself 'finally I'm living my dream'. The experience didn't change me completely, but it gave me a sense of who I want to be, what music I want to produce. I was very happy!
What challenges did you face as an international student?
Initially I struggled with the language - my English was poor when I left Lithuania, but it got a lot better after a while. What made things easier is that London is so international with all kinds of different people that I made a lot of friends from all over the world.
Every single day, walking down streets in London, I was thinking to myself 'finally I'm living my dream'.
And do you recommend studying abroad?
I would say that people are crazy who are not taking this opportunity! You would be stopping yourself from a very beautiful experience. The first months of it might feel uncomfortable, but you can grow up and find out who you are and what you like by confronting it. Whenever someone asks me if it's important to go and study abroad, I always say yes - and I think especially in the music industry.
How does it feel to return to Eurovision for the second time and represent your country in an international contest of this magnitude?
It's of course an amazing opportunity to come back to this big competition and to be able to perform my music at an international level again. But it also feels different from the first time. I feel like I've grown up as an artist, and I feel more relaxed and like I can be myself more. My experience studying in London played a role in this as well.
Can you tell us more about your song? What is the message you want to communicate with it at Eurovision?
The song is based on my own experiences - it's about healing, about finding your inner self and inner peace. I took the phrase from Lithuanian folk music, "čiūto tūto", it is sort of a spell or mantra that people would repeat over and over to connect your mind, body and heart, to live more wisely. I needed healing and I believe all of us in the Western world need to find this connection to our inner selves, that is what the song is about.
Nearly 200 million people will be watching the ESC in Liverpool. Are you nervous?
Of course I am, but I also know that that's normal. It doesn't matter if I'm nervous or stressed, I will still enjoy the opportunity and be happy about being on stage - all of these emotions are welcome!
Among your rivals in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, who else would you be rooting for? And who else do you think has the best chances of winning?
I will vote for Spain, because she [Blanca Paloma] has a similar message with her song. I love it and I love how unique she is. But I also love the Slovenian guys, the Latvians are very nice people with a good song and I also like Norway's song. There are a lot of really good artists this year.405 Programmes in Lithuania