With only being here for one month, I can already see that I made the right choice to study abroad at LCC. This program is not just a basic study abroad opportunity; it is so much more than that. There are many unexpected life-changing events that I have been able to enjoy. The study abroad staff at LCC has been sure to help me and the other study abroad students transition into making Lithuania our home. There are a few main perks that I have noticed that has helped make this adjustment smoother. There are more than I will list here, but here are the top five!
1. So many travel experiences!
To begin your experience as a study abroad, you start with having orientation in Vilnius, which is a great city to start exploring Lithuania! You get a lot of free time to tour around with your new study abroad friends and interns! Along with exploring Vilnius, you get to visit places like Palanga, Trakai, and Nida! There are also other travel experiences outside of Lithuania, for example, this weekend we will be exploring Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia and in October we get to sojourn in Russia! These mentioned are all included in the study abroad program, but there are bounteous more opportunities to explore the rest of Europe for super cheap!
2. You don’t have to pack a lot because most things are provided!
Before I left for Lithuania I was so nervous that I was going to forget something important that they don’t have in Klaipeda. I almost brought a lamp with me while I was packing… (It was a small foldable lamp but still totally unnecessary!) I was told that LCC study abroad program would supply those kinds of things, but I was still worried because I didn’t know exactly what those things would be. Once I got here I was so glad that I left my big stuff at home in states! Every room has a lamp on the walls, and we were given bedding, a pillow, hangers, and basic cooking supplies. This is so helpful! Anything that isn’t supplied by the program is very easy to access at Acropolis. I bought a small mirror to go on my desk, a vase to place flowers in, and basic school supplies for just a few euros! The only big things that I brought with me from home was my soft blanket and my pillow. (By the way, if you bring your pillow and you wash it before you pack it, be sure to let it dry… because I didn’t and it molded and I had to trash it.)
3. Support Groups!
One thing I love that the study abroad program offers is the support groups. So far, there have been three main ways of showing this. First is the Tri-S meetings/dinners. Second is the study abroad staff and cross-cultural class. The third is study abroad bible studies! When I first heard about the Tri-S meetings I was very excited! The study abroad students are divided into groups where we meet with a family from America that is living here in Klaipeda. It is so encouraging to hear from adults who have moved from the states, experienced culture shock and gone through the same experiences we have as we journeyed to this new land. It’s a nice, intimate time to express how you are getting along with the culture. There is also normally amazing food! The study abroad staff has been so generous to us by showing us around and teaching us in the cross-cultural class. There we get to learn more about the culture of where we are staying and traveling. This class and the staff help us adapt better to living in Lithuania. Lastly, we have the study abroad bible studies. There are many bible study options on campus at LCC, but it is nice to be with study abroad students who look at this whole experience abroad as a gift from God.
4. Once in a lifetime opportunities!
There are many things that you can be apart of while studying abroad at LCC. There are internships where you can teach English, help in schools, and gain experience for your future while abroad that you might never have been able to do without this program. There are also very cool events that you can participate in when the time arises. For example, last weekend we were offered to attend a trip to Vilnius where we were able to see Pope Francis as he celebrated Lithuania’s 100th year of statehood. It was an experience that I will never forget and will always be thankful to LCC for allowing us the opportunity to attend. There are many more opportunities and they change as new events happen throughout the years!
5. Amazing Relationships with students from all around the world!
The last and my favorite perk of studying abroad at LCC is the relationships that you make while being here, not only with the other study abroad students but also the full-time students. Since LCC is an international university there are people from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Americas, and literally all over the world! There are about 30-45 countries represented on campus this semester! That makes for super diverse dorm rooms, great food being cooked in the kitchens and interesting conversations in class! The best part about LCC being so diverse is making friends from all around the world, learning about each other’s life experiences, and building off of each other to help grow as individuals. You can learn so much from other people once you allow yourself to open up and be poured into.
As I said in the beginning, we are only one month into this amazing experience and there is so much more LCC has to offer! It still feels like it is a dream that I am here. I know as soon as I realize that this is a reality, our time here will almost be finished. So far, choosing LCC to study abroad has been one of the best choices I have made and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here is in store for me and my new friends!