Labas from Lithuania!
This is the beginning of our fourth week here in Lithuania, and we wanted to catch you up on all that we have experienced, most of which happened during our orientation week.
The study abroad students flew in from all over the U.S., many of us connecting in countries like Amsterdam, Poland, and Germany before even arriving in Lithuania. Once we stepped off the plane and were greeted by the study abroad staff, our journey soon began.
We stayed in a hostel in of Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. In the following days, we visited many coffee shops, explored the Old Town, and tried traditional Lithuanian food. We also spent some time at the Museum of Genocide Victims, which described the role of the KGB in Lithuania. It was a sobering experience and introduced us to the reality of Lithuanian history.
After a short stay in Vilnius, we left the capital and visited the castle in Trakai. The castle sits in the middle of a lake. When we went, the snow fell perfectly as we ventured through the castle and made our way back to the other side for lunch. If you have ever seen The Chronicles of Narnia, that’s what this place reminded us of. Also, if your orientation group visits Trakai, you need to try Kibanai! It is a savory pastry with meat inside!
Soon thereafter, we arrived to LCC! We were finally able to unpack our bags and settle down for a night. It felt nice to be back in the familiarity of a dorm room. Some of us even ventured out for our first grocery store run.
As a last trip for the closing of our orientation trip, we attended a traditional Catholic church in Kretinga, which was an eye-opening experience to be a part of another culture’s and even denomination’s worship experience. That day, we also tried Kepta Duona, a fried cheesy bread heaven, and bubble waffles while on the boardwalk in Palanga.
Needless to say, our orientation week was packed full of exciting sites and new experiences. It was a great way to start our semester here in Lithuania! When studying abroad, is important to try new activities and immerse yourself in another culture in order to learn the most from it.
Although our expectations may not be reality at times, our experiences here are helping us to grow and to learn the most that we can during our time in beautiful Lithuania!
Here are a few pointers in regards to preparing for your first week in this beautiful country…
- Shower shoes (flip-flops or slides) are a must for the hostels/hotels that you will be staying in not only during orientation week but for future travel
- Small toiletries (You will get a chance to purchase some items at small shops along the way, however, it is the little things that we seemed to be needing such as Q-tips, tiny travel size shampoo and lotion…)
- Scarves, gloves, hats! Lithuania is naturally COLD, therefore, you will need to be dressed accordingly. If you feel like a bundled up snowman that cannot move its arms, then you are dressed appropriately and you will not be the only one dressed as such.
- A positive attitude. You are about to embark on such a transformative journey and we fully acknowledge that you may be feeling uncomfortable, scared, and a surplus of other feelings, however, be present on the strolls through Vilnius, the museums, and the fun restaurants they take you too. You will have these memories for the rest of your life. Have FUN and LOVE life here!