“I’ve Wanted to Experience Other Cultures, and LCC Offered Exactly That”
A semester in a university far away from one’s home can change life quite dramatically. Mike Henry, a student majoring in Media Communications and Computer Systems at Taylor University in Indiana, knows that. After spending four months at LCC International University as a part of the Study Abroad program, Mike became so excited about the place that he decided to return to Klaipėda to live and work here. Before he settles in Lithuania for a longer period of time, Mike went back to the USA to resume his studies at Taylor University. Before he went home, Mike told his story to the readers of the Transformations newsletter. “I tried my best to arrive without setting expectations, as I wanted to enjoy whatever I found in Lithuania, regardless of if it fit my premature expectations. And I enjoyed every day of it. My experience at LCC enriched me in so many ways, both in academics and outside of academics”, Mike reflected.
How did you learn about the Study Abroad opportunity at LCC? What attracted you to this whole idea of Studying Abroad in Europe?
Allison Davis, an LCC Study Abroad recruiter, visited my school in the USA. I also knew several Taylor University students who spent a semester at LCC and enjoyed it, and they encouraged me to apply. Studying at LCC was very attractive because of the immersion in Lithuanian culture and the ability to travel.
Was it a hard decision to make? What was the biggest doubt of yours?
Honestly, it wasn’t. I’ve wanted to travel and experience other cultures, and the semester at LCC offered exactly that. I wasn’t sure how living with 3 Eastern European roommates would be, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the semester.
As an American student, what did you know about Lithuania before coming here? What were your expectations?
Having talked with students who had already spent a semester at LCC, I knew quite a bit actually. If I hadn’t talked with them ahead of time however, I wouldn’t have known much. I tried my best to arrive without setting expectations, as I wanted to enjoy whatever I found in Lithuania, regardless of if it fit my premature expectations.
You come from the northern state of Pennsylvania yourself, so colder fall and winter was not a big problem for you. Can you remember anything that was a problem for you while being in Lithuania, something that bothered you?
I grew up in Pennsylvania, and Taylor University is in Indiana, so I was used to the cold. While I was going through culture shock, light switches bothered me. In Lithuania they are on the outside of bathrooms, in the US they put them on the inside. That took some adjusting, but wasn’t really a big deal.
Is LCC very different from the university you come from back in the USA? Was it easy to get used to LCC? Did you feel at home here?
LCC has a lot of similarities to Taylor University. The classes are very similar, the students are more diverse, but are still college students. For me, it was fairly easy to get used to LCC. I really do feel at home at LCC, and the community at LCC really supported me. I loved living with European roommates.
What is your major back in the USA? How relevant was it for you to study at LCC?
I am a Media Communication and Computer Systems major at Taylor University. Many of the classes I took at LCC were general education credits – classes that every student needs to take to graduate. Additionally, I greatly enjoyed the Film and Literature course at LCC, and it counted towards my major. My experience at LCC enriched me in so many ways, both in academics and outside of academics. As a part of LCC’s Study Abroad program, students are introduced to other Baltic states as well as the Russian Federation. Did you enjoy those trips? The trips were great! I loved the time I spent traveling through Latvia, Estonia, and Russia.
Now, after the semester is over, what are your impressions of LCC, the Study Abroad program, and Lithuania? Would you recommend the experience to your peers back in the USA?
I would completely recommend the Study Abroad program to those in the USA. It gave me the opportunity to spend four months in the Lithuanian culture and travel around Eastern Europe. Studying Abroad is an experience I’ll never forget and can’t wait to do again.
This is not the last time you visit Lithuania – you might be back quite soon and for a longer period of time than just one semester. Can you unveil the mystery?
I’ve just accepted a job with a company in the US who is willing to let me work in Lithuania. I’ll be training with them and then returning to Klaipėda in August or September to live and work. I’m very excited to be returning!
Taken from LCC International University’s newspaper Transformations