The me 4 months ago would’ve told you I wasn’t ready to study abroad. She would’ve said she wasn’t brave enough and was terrified to leave her life behind for 4 long months. But I got on that plane, terrified, not knowing where exactly I was going or what I was getting myself into or if I was even going to be able to do it. The me today will say that studying abroad has been the best decision I’ve ever made and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Studying abroad has changed my life, I am now more confident. I have found my purpose in life and have found my strength. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of and I know now that I can accomplish anything, and I’m strong enough to be alone even in a foreign place! I have become so much more courageous these past few months and I’m not afraid to be a leader and take charge now. I’ve interacted and learned about so many different cultures so my world view has expanded so much as well. Hearing so many different opinions and learning about so many different cultures has opened my mind up to new ideas and new ways of looking at things. I’m not afraid to be alone anymore. I’m not afraid to do things out of my comfort zone, I’ve realized that my fears are just fears and I can’t keep feeding them!
I also have a different take on traveling in that I will not just be a tourist, but I will make a home in every place I go and make a point to learn their history and be a part of their culture. I’ve really learned to become a part of the culture I’m in and see it as a place where people grew up and have their own lives and not just an amusement park to see just tourist things. Of course, seeing tourist things will still happen but I also want to take time to see the coffee shops, bakeries, book stores, restaurants and other shops. I’ve now been to 6 different countries in 4 months. Never would I have thought I’d be able to do that! I’ve walked through all these countries and navigated my way around, I’ve learned some of the language and I’ve learned the history!
As for Klaipeda, it will always be my second home, the place where I found my true self, where I found amazing people, where I spoke a different language, where I mastered public transportation, and where I found a new look at life and traveling. Living in Klaipeda, Lithuania has been the most wonderful thing ever, I will truly miss everything about it when I leave and it will always have a piece of my heart! For anyone even remotely thinking about studying abroad, DO IT! It will bring nothing but goodness to your life! It will be scary and nerve wracking at first but after the first 2 weeks you forget why you were even scared! I’ve wanted to study abroad since high school, I almost didn’t because I was too scared and didn’t think it would work out but I pushed through that fear and I do not regret it one bit!
As for coming to LCC university, it had given me so many opportunities to grow as well. What’s cool about LCC is that it’s literally one of a kind, it’s the only school of its kind within the European nation. It’s 68% international students, from the US to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, etc. and 32% Lithuanians. LCC sends a clear message of wanting genuine growth out of everyone who attends, it’s a place to get to know new people from different places and will definitely leave a lasting impact on you! There are so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of LCC culture!
As I look back on myself 4 months ago, first coming here I thought this experience wouldn’t change me that much and that I wouldn’t grow or gain much out of it. Now, forwarding ahead 4 months I realize how much I have actually changed, I’ve become such a different person than I was when I first got here. I’ve become a more open, confident, strong and my worldview has also changed completely. I’ve also gotten so much out of this experience, learning about and seeing new cultures, living in a new culture, learning some new language, living life on my own and being in a foreign country living my life. It’s crazy to think what 4 months can do, 4 months that I thought would be long and hard but we’re actually short and challenging in the best way possible.
Overall, I’m sad my time in Lithuania is coming to a close, I’ve made this place my second home and I will miss it dearly. I will definitely be coming back here the first chance I get!