Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LCC celebrates its 20th anniversary

Last week LCC International University was celebrating its 20th birthday.  The anniversary festivities included a variety of events throughout the week, starting on Wednesday afternoon with a special Celebratory Chapel focusing on the memories of the last 20 years. The following days brought even more sharing, excitement and community involvement. On Friday, the campus together with the mayor of Klaipeda dedicated the new (and second) campus student residence hall, Enns Hall (or Enns Namai in Lithuanian).  With the completion of Enns Hall, all LCC students now live on campus.  Another highlight of Friday was a parade of LCC community members who marched with the flag of their home country through the city to one of the main city squares and an International Fair organized by LCC. Every country had a display table with pictures, traditional food and some elements that represented their country.  The Study Abroad students had their booth as well with tons of literature about the US, which was supplied by the US Embassy.  The event was crowned with a beautiful concert put together by the national minorities residing in Klaipeda (Russians, Tartars, Germans, Ukrainians) and the LCC students who shared their cultures through song and dance.  The Study Abroad students shared their culture through leading the crowd in a square dance.  It was a great time to be a part of the LCC community to celebrate 20 years of beautiful history and to share our cultural diversity beyond the campus borders.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mission Sea: Accomplished - Diana from Cornerstone

Today we got lost on the way to church. My roommate thought she knew  a shortcut through the woods. I wasn't feeling very well, so I easily could have been upset about it, but I realized how beautiful the sun was streaming through the trees -- you know, that way it does in pine forests. It was so beautiful, and the the feeling of soft grass under my feet. I only wish I had taken off my shoes. Which I should have, because my shoes ended up getting so wet from the dew. Dew is always nicer on bare feet than in cloth boots in a cold church building.

Anyway, after church, we went to the Sea and hopped it. Wow, it was cold! So, that was a short swim. Rarely am I the kind of person who settles for not getting your hair wet, but I would probably be lying in bed wrapped up in a thousand blankets and sniffling up a storm while sipping my 30th cup of tea by now if we had gone all the way. 

Then we changed, picked some wildflowers, put them in my boots and walked home. It made me anxious for my boots to become too old and rugged to be worn so I could turn them into pots for plants. 

Basically, today made me so grateful for the way my life is here. My roommate is a beautiful person who is willing and excited to do the silly and crazy things that most people say, oh that would be nice. They're the things I long to do with people, but most people say no. It made me grateful for how much we walk here. I'm dreading going back to school when everyone will drive to the grocery store, and I will suggest walking, and they will laugh. I have found that Saturdays are kind of my designated homesick days, where I do everything I can to ignore it, and then Sundays are my confirmation days, telling me, you belong here! This is the best place to be, and you will not be the same when you leave!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Botanical Gardens - Jared from Messiah

The wind rustled the verdant leaves of the stately Baltic Birch that stood along the bank of the river. The ripples of the lazily flowing river spread and broke the reflection of the sky that had been resting serenely on the surface. The smell of ripe apples floated from the trees wilting under the weight of plump green fruit. A sunflower stood alone overlooking the scene in silence as the clouds passed in front of the sun.

Is it hard to believe that this description is of Klaipeda? In a city, who would imagine that such natural beauty could be found?  The Botanical Gardens are a 30 to 45 minute walk from LCC’s campus and provide a wonderful and inspiring atmosphere in which to study, enjoy God’s creation and to take time in God’s word. Thank you Lord for your creation! What a wonderful and mighty God we serve. Psalm 19:1-3 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Please as you read this don’t just stop at verse three open your bible and read more! Or feel free to click here and read the rest of the chapter online! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning more about the Baltics - Hannah from Gordon

Film "The Singing Revolution" describes the nonviolent revolution in Estonia, and the struggle of the Baltic states to maintain their culture and national identity under the USSR. The weekend prior to this viewing, the class was assigned a journal in which we were to read about Lithuanian culture and history and answer the question "What historical events set Lithuania apart?" So I was already amazed and overwhelmed at the perseverance and unity that is unique to these surrounding cultures by the time we watched the documentary - I was a goner. It depicts something that we in America have never really experienced, something that is difficult to understand, but when you begin to realize what oppression means for these people, and that a government can threaten a thousand years of history and culture, I think you too will be overwhelmed at their love of country and understand why they fought to preserve their culture.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Languages - Diana from Cornerstone


Saturday, I got to spend some time with some local girls who are seniors in high school. They are planning to come to school at LCC, and they wanted to practice conversational English, so LCC set us up to meet at a sweet little coffee shop downtown Klaipeda.

I was so excited to meet with them and see where they were at. At LCC, everyone has already had their English skills tested, and they have refined it by speaking to most of their international friends here in English. So I was excited and honored to be a part of these girls’ first interactions with English speakers outside of the classroom. One of the girls was very self-conscious about opening up and speaking in English. It was mostly fine, because her friend was very talkative, and there was never an awkward lull. I really wanted to get across the fact that it’s important to speak, and maybe mess up even, right now and with me, cause I can work with her and hopefully gently correct, but I was just reminded by how nervous I can get to speak Lithuanian and German, both of which I’m just starting now.

I’m so embarrassed to speak a new language, especially to a native speaker, even though they are the best ones to help. I am so afraid to butcher their language. But from talking with these wonderful girls, and from trying (and admittedly failing) to speak Lithuanian with my roommates, I’ve learned something important – If I wait to understand something fully before do it, I will never do anything, and it will take longer to understand it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lithuwhatia? - Jared form Messiah

Lithuwhatia? Lithuwhereia? I am pretty sure that I heard it all before I left my home in Pennsylvania. After the hundredth time of explaining Lithuania is an actual country and giving quick geography lessons things got a little repetitive. Then next thing I knew I was on the plane flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the Study Abroad group was already in the capital city of Vilnius but Kimi Curtis, Iulia Gafencu, Sara Swaciak, Natalie Anders and I were still sitting on the plane with a men and women’s Lithuanian basketball team. After landing and getting our luggage we walked through the dimly lit corridors and entered our new home for the next four months. A brass ensemble greeted us and cameras were flashing all around us! Everyone was waving Lithuanian flags and cheering! “Welcome to Lithuania!” said a man as he waved for us to come toward him. “We wanted to give you a good greeting!”

Now for all of you who are amazed at our greeting, I am sorry but I am going to have to pop your bubble. The brass ensemble and waving flags were for the basketball teams not the five of us. Emas our experience coordinator guided us out of the airport and to the bus that was waiting to take us to the hostel were we would spend our first few days in Lithuania as we toured the capital city. As we loaded onto the bus I looked around me. This was going to be an interesting trip.

Now I could go on and on with all the things that happened that first week but already I am somewhere around two hundred and eighty two words and chances are you are starting to say where is this guy going with this so I will spare you a detailed explanation of the first few days. Instead let me say our time in Vilnius was great and now I am settled in here at LCC and I am sure that there will be plenty more that will happen. But until then I want to leave you with this thought. Nahum 1:7 says “The Lord is good a stronghold in the day of trouble and He knoweth those that trust in Him.” No matter what happens whether we are studying in a foreign country or sitting at a computer reading this blog the Lord is good. He is our stronghold and He knows us. What a great and mighty God we have!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Take your skis to Lithuania!

That’s another thing you can add to your packing list coming to Lithuania. The new indoor ski resort is opened in Druskininkai (Southern Lithuania). According to Baltic Times “The new facility, named the Snoras Snow Arena, is one of the largest such facilities in the EU.” This new skiers’ dream is more than 1100 meters long and the hills reach 66 meters. Both indoor and outdoor skiing slopes are suitable for different levels of skiers. Thus, if you like to enrich your study abroad experience in Lithuania now you can do that by adding skiing to the list.

The Model of Snow Arena

Snoras Snow Arena surrounded by a beautiful landscape

Fotos: www.snowarena.lt

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Out of the Country - Diana from Cornerstone

The longest I’ve been out of the country (“the country” being the US) before this point has been three weeks. I was maybe nine-years-old and my mom, my sister Kaia, who is two years older than me, and myself took an adventure by plane, bus, foot, and cramped taxi to Apoxtla, Mexico, to spend almost a month with my dear aunt, uncle and cousins who were living there. Before we left, my mom talked about “culture shock,” whatever that meant. I knew a “shock” could be on your bike, or on your face, but I had no idea what the first word meant, so I didn’t really worry about it. Kaia was sick for a week when we were there, so I figured that’s what culture shock was.

Now, I have been in Lithuania for three weeks, which is definitely “out of the country,” and have been in Klaipeda, at LCC for two weeks. One of these days is the day that marks my record for the longest I’ve been out of the country. But there are different elements that, even though it has been the same amount of time, have made these three weeks drastically different from my other out-of-country experiences.

Before, I had the expectation of leaving shortly. I lived out of a suitcase, and I lived with Americans – family or friends – and I had someone who spoke English as well as the language of the country we’re in with me at all times. This trip, I have had the idea of “culture shock” jammed into my skull so mercilessly, that I’m still not sure what it means. But I’m definitely learning about culture – theirs, mine and ours – by every conversation, every transaction, and every glance. And it is shocking.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welcome!



Study Abroad Lithuania welcomes you to the new academic year!  A year of adventures, learning and new discoveries.  We begin this semester with 23 North American students representing 12 different institutions and 650 LCC students from 25 different countries.  This is going to be a special semester as LCC International University celebrates 20 years of its history.
Once again welcome to the new Study Abroad Lithuania blogging season!  Enjoy following our journeys and  join us in the future! 

P.S.  Lithuania is hosting the European basketball championship this month and it’s exciting to be in Lithuania during this time.  The Lithuanian team so far has lost only once and progressed to the next stage.  Go Lietuva!