Dear future travelers,
With just over 10 days left in the semester it’s time for the last blog post from yours truly! It’s been so much fun to share our experiences and memories with you as we explored Lithuania and invested four months in the culture here and beyond. I’ve made some of the best friends and memories in these months abroad and have changed in numerous ways as a result. If you’re at all considering coming to Lithuania for a semester, please do! Let me highlight a few last things.
When we first got here, the cultural differences were a little bit rocky and intimidating–Eastern Europe feels like a world of its own, so different at times from the States, that the first few days are overwhelming. You walk around and hear Lithuanian, Russian…basically everything but English everywhere you go. But after a few days to adjust, you learn how beautiful and peaceful that is. You learn how beautiful it is that you can communicate with people without verbal language.
After a few months of exploring Klaipėda–walking through the cobblestone roads of Old Town, spending hours in a coffee shop people watching out the window, restaurant hopping every night of the week to try all the traditional foods and drinks, and buying ketchup in the grocery store thinking it’s a jar of tomato sauce–you fall in love with the place you’re in. And, if you give it time, you fall in love with the people too. You learn that the experience isn’t an experience without the people, it’s just a mindless semester abroad.
No other study abroad program will push the limits of your comforts academically, spiritually, and personally as much as this one. Living with Eastern European roommates is a blessing, traveling to Russia, Latvia and Estonia as well as many other independent trips is the best lesson in cultural awareness you’ll ever get, and meeting the people here is life changing. To see God working in yourself and in those around you is the best gift you can receive from a semester spent anywhere–to take something with you and leave a part of you behind in its place–and I have never experienced that as genuinely and deeply as I have here. So, I promise, if you spend four months in Klaipėda you’ll quickly be ready to spend four years here next.
I have had the best semester of my college experience at LCC. As much as I miss my friends and family at home, and even good old Gordon College, I will miss LCC, Lithuania and the Eastern European vibe just as much. So my wish for you is that you take the risk and visit the most underrated part of the world–take the first step in changing your life and your world perspective. You won’t regret it! 🙂