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DISCOVER . .

STUDY STUDY IN LITHUANIA LITHUANIA

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Lithuania. What is it? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 ...It started a long time ago… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Did you know that Vilnius is European Capital of Culture 2009? . . . . . . . . . 3 Want to know who is famous in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Second religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Where to go and what to see if you want to discover Lithuania . . . . . . . . . 5 Vilnius . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Kaunas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Curonian spit (Neringa) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Kernavė . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Biržai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

DEVELOP .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wondering about higher education system in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . Do you know what grade system is in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Which higher educational institution to choose? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to be mobile? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to learn the Lithuanian language? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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ENJOY .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Interested in arts, theaters or music? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Movies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What is so special about Lithuanian music? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lithuanian customs and traditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to taste local food and drinks? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Let’s celebrate public holidays and festivals together! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to spend your leisure time in nature? It’s not a problem! . . . . . . . . . Not active enough and want to be fit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Going shopping or want to send a letter? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Party, party, party! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to know at least several phrases in Lithuanian? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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PRACTICALITIES .

27 27 28 29 29 30 31 32 32 33 33 34

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Need a lift? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to get in touch? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Short of cash? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Finding where to live? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wondering how much it will cost to live in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to find a job in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Your country is closer than you think… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Feeling safe? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How to make your stay and studying legal in Lithuania? . . . . . . . . . . . . . Want to know how to get a Lithuanian Student Identity Card? . . . . . . . . . Where to find help during your first days at university? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

CHECK LIST . .

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Contacts

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Hi! What’s up?

Maybe you’re thinking about studying in Lithuania? Maybe you’ve already decided? If this is true, then you are the one I’m thinking of as I write this little book. I was so surprised and fascinated with this country that I wanted to share my feelings, experiences and knowledge here with you. I will show you how exciting Lithuania is and how I found it through the joy of discovery, the possibilities of development and the beauty of enjoyment. So let’s discover Lithuania together.

Lithuania. What is it? Statistically speaking…

Area: 65 300 km2 Population: 3, 39 million Language: Lithuanian Currency: Litas (EUR 1 = LTL 3, 4528) Religion: Roman Catholic Church. There are also communities of Eastern Orthodox Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Evangelical Reformation Church, Old Believers, Judaism, Islam, and others. Cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys Ethnic composition: Lithuanians: 83.5%, Poles: 6.7%, Russians: 6.3%, Belarusians: 1.2%, other: 2.3%. In total there are 115 ethnicities in Lithuania. Climate: between maritime and continental. Average temperature in July is 23°C, and average temperature in January is -4.9°C. Landscape: a flat country with lowland plains that make up to 75% and lots of green forests. Form of government: Parliamentary Democracy. Head of state: President, the Executive Branch: Government (appointed by the President), the Legislative Branch: the Seimas (Unicameral Parliament, direct elections). Member of UN, NATO, EU, Schengen zone.

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...It started long time ago…

… I think that knowing a bit of country’s history will make it easier for you to discover Lithuania as a small country with a rich heritage and it will also rather impress your new Lithuanian friends… 1009 – Lithuania’s name was mentioned for the first time in Quedlinburg Chronicle. 13th century – Lithuania was united by the first and the only King, Mindaugas. 1387 – Lithuania, the last pagan country in Europe, became Christianized. 1410 – The United Army of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland’s defeated the Teutonic Knights. After this battle, the Teutonic Knights would never be a serious threat again. 1569 - The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland unified and became the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. 1773-1795 – The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth disappeared from the map, as Russia, Prussia and Austria partitioned the country. 1918, February 16th – Lithuania declares Independence. 1939 – After the treacherous Molotov – Ribbentrop pact and the onset of the Second World War, Lithuania lost its independence. During the Soviet occupation, 200,000 Lithuanians were exiled to Siberia. 1990, March 11th – Lithuania declares Independence for the second time. In 1991, Russia tried to take Lithuania back by force, but it did not succeed and the international community recognised Lithuania as an independent country. After this recognition, it became a member of the United Nations. 2004 – Lithuania became a member of NATO and the European Union. 2009 – Vilnius is named the European Capital of Culture.

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Did you know that Vilnius is The 2009 European Capital of Culture?

Absolutely! And the best information you can find about this event is on the website http://www.culturelive.lt/.

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Want to know who is famous in Lithuania?

Lithuania has lots of famous people and the best way to meet them…is to make friends with a Lithuanian. Maybe you’ve never heard of Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, “Šaras” Šarūnas Jasikevičius, or Olympic Gold Medalist Virgilijus Alekna. You can be sure that every Lithuanian (and pretty much all of Europe) knows them. Lithuanians take great pride in their sport heroes, but Lithuania is more than just basketball. Lithuanians have some celebrities in culture sphere too. Every Lithuanian of course knows the extraordinary works of M. K. Čiurlionis (1846–1914) – Composer and Artist as well as prominent. They also have prominent theatre directors Oskaras Koršunovas and Eimantas Nekrošius and filmmaker, writer, curator and “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema”, Jonas Mekas, the opera star Violeta Urmana who performs at famous theatres and concert halls all over the world, but few actually know that the star soprano is Lithuanian. Perhaps the most famous Lithuanian today is the Lithuanian President, Valdas Adamkus. As the winner of the European of the Year Award, it was the first time a representative of a new EU member state received such an honour.

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Second religion

Don’t be surprised when all of the sudden it seems that Lithuania has gone crazy! Suddenly, there are people in the streets, cars blaring their horns and kids hanging out of car windows waving Lithuanian flags and everyone is singing. What’s going on? It simply means that the Lithuania’s national basketball team has won a big game. Yes, believe me, they are crazy about basketball and it is worthy of being called their “second religion”. By the way, football is popular too, it’s just that Lithuanian football teams haven’t won that big game yet. But stay tuned to the 2010 World Cup!

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Where to go and what to see if you want to discover Lithuania

Sure, I could tell you lots places of interest to see in Lithuania all by myself, but here I would like to share reviews from my foreign friend Daniela Toifl from Austria, who was studying at ISM University of Management and Economics in Vilnius during the spring semester of 2008.

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Vilnius

“My first impression of the capital – charming, tidy and… unforgettable: so many beautiful churches – from each window of our flat you could see at least one. I loved walking through the Old Town along Pilies street, especially in springtime. The famous sites: the Town Hall, the Cathedral, Gediminas’ Castle and Gedimino avenue – they never fail to impress. I also enjoyed many pleasant and relaxing parks in Vilnius.” You will find more details, things to see and what to do there on the website of Vilnius Tourism Centre www.vilnius-tourism.lt.

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Kaunas

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Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas)

“15 km north of Šiauliai you will find this little hill full of thousands of crosses – all kinds of crosses made from everything. “A little peculiar, definitely mysterious and downright impressing at the same time.” Visit there, and discover its story. The place where exactly it is you can find on the website of Šiauliai Tourism Centre http://tic.siauliai.lt/.

“It is not worth seeing it”– you will hear that from quite a lot of people from Vilnius – a little city to city jealousy perhaps? However, we took the bus to Lithuania’s second largest city and it was certainly worth it. We enjoyed walking down the famous Laisvės Alėja, (Freedom Lane) with its old buildings, narrow streets and many shops. As it was a national holiday, we also could explore quaint little markets along the Old Town with its national food (the honey is especially very delicious), music and handcrafted souvenirs.” Check the website of Kaunas Tourism Centre http://visit.kaunas.lt.

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Curonian Spit (Neringa)

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Kernavė

“Lithuania’s oldest capital city – Today Kernavė is famous for its archaeological excavations and its five impressive hills. It is a nice destination to enjoy a walk through the hills and a picnic at the river.” More detailed information for visitors of this archaeological and historical place can be found at www.kernave.org.

“PICTURESQUE! – Imposing sand dunes, beautiful fishing villages and pine forests - a MUST SEE when you visit Lithuania. Juodkrantė – The Hill of Witches (Raganų Kalnas) is a little park with wooden statues of witches and other creatures – very nice for taking funny pictures and taking a walk through the forest. Nida – Neringa’s “capital” with its lovely little houses and garden cafés. Just sit down and enjoy the beautiful scenery. (The only drawback – bring some insect repellent ;-))” You can find more information at www.visitneringa.lt. And one of my tips: visit Klaipėda on your way to Neringa – www.klaipedainfo.lt.

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Biržai

“The “capital of beer” is located at the very north of Lithuania. Biržai doesn’t only offer lots of breweries and tasty beer but also a marvellous landscape with quite a few lakes. Still…it is definitely worth participating at the beer tasting festival at the Biržai Castle – very amusing and funny!” You can check for more entertainment and visiting places at www.birzai.lt.

After the discovery of Lithuania, you probably will be interested in the ways you can develop both your cultural as well as your educational knowledge. The Lithuanian education system satisfies all the requirements of EU education policy and is accredited in all countries.

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Wondering about the higher education system in Lithuania?

First of all, you needn’t worry about the quality of higher education in Lithuania. A Lithuanian diploma is recognized in all countries which have signed The Lisbon Convention, which means, it’s good. I can tell you that there are two types of higher education institutions in Lithuania: universities and colleges. As in many other countries, they are divided into state or non-state. If you are interested in studying at college you should know that studies there are undergraduate, first cycle, focused on practical activities and aimed at acquiring a professional bachelor’s degree and/or a professional qualification, testified by the professional Bachelor diploma or higher education diploma. The duration of studies is 3-4 years. The education system at universities is a bit different. Studies there are organised in three cycles: 1st – undergraduate studies (Bachelor), 2nd – Master and specialised professional studies; 3ed – Doctoral, post-graduate, residency studies. The university studies that encompass the first and the second cycle are called integrated studies.

Clock this: Start of school year is usually September 1st. The School year is divided into two semesters: spring and fall. Usually one semester takes 16 weeks. Holidays: Christmas (as of December 25), Winter (end of January – beginning of February), Summer (two months).

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Do you know what grade system is in Lithuania? And finally, I want to highlight the most important things about the whole studying procedure. First of all, you should know that Lithuania uses its national credit system based on student work-load with an average of 1,600 working hours per academic year. One credit corresponds to 40 hours of student work (in classes, laboratories, independent work, etc.), or to one working week. More information is on the website www.smm.lt

You will probably be interested to know if you passed your course in Lithuania or not. There are different grading systems in different foreign countries so Lithuania’s might be new for you, but it’s simple. Check out the table below.

Required knowledge %

Grade

Definition

ECTS equivalent

95-100

10

Excellent

A

85-94

9

Very good

B

75-84

8

Good

C

65-74

7

Highly satisfactory

D

55-64

6

Satisfactory

E

50-54

5

Sufficient

E

40-49

4

Insufficient

FX

30-39

3

Insufficient

F

20-29

2

Insufficient

F

0-19

1

Insufficient

F

Pass/fail system

Pass

Fail

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State universities

Which higher educational institution to choose?

After you find out about the main aspects of Lithuanian higher education system, the second question would probably be…where exactly do you want to study? You can find universities and colleges in four different cities of Lithuania: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai as well as colleges in Panevėžys, Telšiai, Utena, Marijampolė, Alytus and Rietavas. You can find more details about the available English courses and other important issues that concern studies for foreign students on the websites of higher education institutions in Lithuania. Almost all study programs are in the Lithuanian language. A foreign national seeking access to higher education in Lithuania must show proficiency in the language of instruction by passing the pass/fail test that is administered by Vilnius University (www.lsk.flf.vu.lt). However, a certain number of programs leading to a degree are available in English, German, French or Russian. You can check the detailed list about such available programs at www.smm.lt.

Name

City

Address

Webpage

Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Vilnius

Gedimino pr. 3

http://lma.lt/

Mykolas Romeris University

Vilnius

Ateities g. 20

http://www.mruni.lt/

The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania

Vilnius

Šilo g. 5 A

http://www.lka.lt/

Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts

Vilnius

Maironio g. 6

http://www.vda.lt/

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University

Vilnius

Saulėtekio al. 11

http://www.vgtu.lt/

Vilnius Pedagogical University

Vilnius

Studentų g. 39

http://www.vpu.lt/

Vilnius University

Vilnius

Universiteto g. 3

http://www.vu.lt/

Vytautas Magnus University

Kaunas

K. Donelaičio g. 58

http://www.vdu.lt/

Lithuanian Univerity of Physical Education

Kaunas

Sporto g. 6

http://www.lkka.lt/

Kaunas University of Medicine

Kaunas

A. Mickevičiaus g. 9

http://www.kmu.lt/

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DEVELOP Kaunas University of Technology

Kaunas

K. Donelaičio g. 73

http://internet.ktu.lt/

College of Religious Studies

Kaunas

Papilio g. 5

http://www.lcn.lt./

Lithuanian Veterinary Academy

Kaunas

Tilžės g. 18

http://www.lva.lt/

Kaunas Technical College

Kaunas

Tvirtovės al. 35

http://www.ktk.lt/

Lithuanian University of Agriculture

Akademija, Kaunas region

Studentų g. 11

http://www.lzuu.lt

Klaipėda College

Klaipėda

Dariaus ir Girėno g. 8

http://www.klk.lt/

Klaipėda University

Klaipėda

Herkaus Manto g. 84

http://www.ku.lt/

Klaipėda

Jaunystės g. 1/ Bijūnų g. 10

http://www.klvtk.lt/

Šiauliai University

Klaipėda Business and Technology College

Šiauliai

Vilniaus g. 88

http://www.su.lt/

Lithuanian Maritime College

Klaipėda

I. Kanto g.7

http://www.lmc.lt/

Šiauliai College

Šiauliai

Aušros al. 40

http://www. siauliukolegija.lt/

State colleges Name

City

Address

Webpage

Panevėžys

Laisvės a. 23/ Klaipėdos g. 29

http://www.panko.lt/

Vilnius College of Technologies and Design

Panevėžys College

Vilnius

Antakalnio g. 54

http://www.vtdko.lt/

Alytus College

Alytus

Merkinės g. 2b

http://www.akolegija. lt/

Marijampolė

V. Kudirkos g. 61 / Sodžiaus g. 1

http://www.marko.lt/

Vilnius College

Vilnius

J. Jasinskio g. 15

http://www.viko.lt/

Marijampole College

Kaunas College

Kaunas

Pramonės pr. 20

http://www.kauko.lt/

Utena College

Utena

Maironio g. 7

http://www.utenoskolegija.lt/

Žemaitija College

Rietavas

L. Ivinskio g. 5

http://www.zemko.lt/

Kaunas College of Forestry and Environmental Engineering

Girionys, Kaunas region

Liepų g. 1

http://www.kmaik.lt/

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DEVELOP Non-State universities Name

City

Address

ISM University of Management and Economics

Vilnius/ Kaunas

Arklių g. 18/ E. Ožeškienės g. 18

Business Law Academy of Vilnius

Vilnius

International Business School at Vilnius University

Vilnius

Kauno g. 34

Saulėtekio al. 22

Non-State colleges Webpage

Name

City

Address

Webpage

http://www.ism.lt/

Vilnius Law and Business College

Vilnius

Laisvės pr. 58

http://www.vtvk.lt/

Vilnius Business College

Vilnius

Kalvarijų g. 125

http://www.kolegija.lt/

Vilnius Design College

Vilnius

Kauno g. 34

http://www.dizainokolegija.lt/

Vilnius Cooperative College

Vilnius

Konstitucijos pr. 11

http://www.vkk.lt/

Vilnius

J. Basanavičiaus g. 29a

http://www.vvk.lt/

http://www.vvtakademija.lt/

http://www.tvm.lt/

Vilnius St. Joseph’s Seminary

Vilnius

Kalvarijų g. 325

http://www.seminarija.lt/

Vilnius Management School

European Humanities University

Vilnius

Tauro g. 12

http://lt.ehu.lt/

College of Social Sciences

Klaipėda/ Vilnius

Nemuno g. 2/ Ulonų g.5

http://www.smk.lt/

LCC International University

Klaipėda

Kretingos g. 36

http://www.lcc.lt/

Kaunas

Kęstučio g. 57a/ Laisvės al. 33

http://www.kvk.lt/

Bishop Vincentas Borisevičius Seminary of Telšiai

V. A. Graičiunas Management School

Telšiai

Katedros a. 6

http://www.tks.lt/

Kopling College

Kaunas

Raguvos g. 7

http://kolegija.kolping.lt/

West Lithuania Business College

Klaipėda

Šilutės pl. 2

http://www.vlvk.lt/

Klaipėda Business College

Klaipėda

Tilžės g. 46a

http://www.klvk.lt/

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North Lithuania College

Šiauliai

Tilžės g. 22

http://www.slk.lt/

College of Management, Law and Languages of Šiauliai Region

Šiauliai

Dvaro g. 87

http://www.kolegija.com/

Want to be mobile? Search for possibilities to get scholarships!

State scholarships: These scholarships are designed for students, lecturers and researchers of higher education and research institutions to come for studies or research stays to Lithuania. These scholarships are divided into three sections, for which you can apply: Study/research stay scholarships, these scholarships are for a great variety of study fields. Scholarships for Lithuanian (Baltic) studies, these are full time studies. Lithuanian language and culture summer courses, usually these courses last three weeks to one month. For more information about scholarships and requirements, you should check out the website www.smpf.lt under the Academic Exchange section.

Other possibilities to study in Lithuania can be found in your country via these multilateral programmes: Erasmus programme http://ec.europa.eu/education/index_en.htm Nordplus programme www.nordplusonline.org Erasmus Mundus programme http://ec.europa.eu/education/exter nal-relation-programmes/doc72_en.htm Fulbright program http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html

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Want to learn the Lithuanian language?

If you want to study the Lithuanian language, you can even receive a scholarship. There are two main scholarships for Lithuanian (Baltic) studies, Lithuanian language and culture summer courses. Requirements for the grants are found at the website www.smpf.lt – under the Academic Exchange section. If you want to learn the basics of Lithuanian you can communicate with the locals or just to understand what the signs and posters say...there are other ways to learn Lithuanian: You can learn Lithuanian either through intensive language courses in summer or winter before the study semesters or you can take a full Lithuanian language program. This you can apply via the Erasmus intensive language courses program (EILC) or the state scholarship program. Some universities like Klaipėda University, Vytautas Magnus University, Šiauliai University, Vilnius Pedagogical University, Vilnius University, Lithuanian Christian College and others have departments of Lithuanian language, which run all kinds of Lithuanian language and culture courses for foreigners as well. More details about the tuition fees, scholarships and more detailed information about the exact things you will learn during such courses are found at the websites of Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science (www.smm.lt) and Education Exchanges Support Foundation (www.smpf.lt). Remember, studying Lithuanian language is challenging and fun: after all, it is one of the oldest and most conservative of languages in the world.

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There are lots of cultural events held in Lithuania. You can choose where to go and what to see according to your taste: from jazz concerts, drama, theatre plays and classical European cinema to rock concerts, modern dance performances and amateur video festivals.

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Interested in arts, performance or music?

There are various cultural venues where you can see popular performances of drama, ballet, opera, modern dances or other concerts. To discover what suits you best, visit the websites of theaters and concert halls. But in case you decide to have a nice evening watching a performance on the spot without any clear vision of what you would like to see, visit www.eb.lt where you will find not only performances held in all of Lithuania but also other entertaining events that are going on at that moment. I used this lots of times and enjoyed discovering Lithuania’s great theatre talent. I also think this is the best place for you to check out what to see in a particular region or city of Lithuania. If you are more interested in museums, you can visit the website www.muziejai.lt to find the ones that you would like to visit.

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What is so special about Lithuanian music?

First of all, I think that Lithuanian folk music is very unique. It is based on the songs, which include romantic, wedding, as well as work and more archaic war and partisan songs. The songs are polyphonic played on flutes, zithers and other instruments. You should also know the most famous classical music author – M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911) who created about 200 pieces of symphonic music. During the 1980’s the most popular music style in Lithuania was rock. In fact, Lithuania was known as the ‘Rock Capital’ of the Soviet Union. The most popular groups were Antis, Fojė and Bix, and their songs are still played every day. And finally, you will discover that nearly every Lithuanian can sing – just watch TV. Lithuanian music you hear on the radio can be best described as pop music. Lithuanians are proud of such artist groups as SKAMP, Jurga, Happyendless and Milky Lasers that became popular internationally and put Lithuania on the map for quality music.

Movies

I thought so. Fortunately, most movies shown in Lithuanian cinemas are in their original language and have only Lithuanian subtitles. The single ticket to a movie usually costs LTL 8-16 (Eur app. – 3-5).

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Lithuanian customs and traditions

Lithuania is a Catholic country, yet some of its traditions hearken back to Pagan times. So what’s interesting? Well, the most important feasts for Lithuanians are: Easter, St. John’s day or “the Day of Dew”, All Saint’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, known in Lithuania as “Užgavėnės”, heralds the beginning of Lent. It’s also the time when people ask winter to leave and spring to come. Somewhat like Halloween, children usually prepare and don masks and go to neighbours to ask for sweets, money…or pancakes. Pancakes are king during this day and there are all kinds of entertainment going on in the countryside with games and songs that welcome spring. Easter is the day when the whole family gets together, goes to the church on Easter morning and afterwards, has a big breakfast with lots of painted eggs, which are ‘cracked’ against each other to see who has the strongest egg. St. John’s day, or “Joninės,” is a very popular summer feast when people celebrate the longest day and the shortest night by being in nature, searching for a blossom of fern, jumping over fire and singing Lithuanian songs. And if you happened to be named “John”, or in Lithuanian – “Jonas” (or if you’re a girl – “Jonė”) you’re especially popular on this day, and will no doubt wear a wreath so everyone knows your name.

Unlike Halloween, Lithuanians celebrate the next day, “All Saint’s Day”, a day of meditation and calmness when people remember their relatives and friends who have passed away and go to cemeteries with flowers and candles. This is especially tranquil at night, when the cemetery is dotted with lit candles. Christmas, as you can imagine, is a cheerful and joyful time for a whole family. In Lithuania, Christmas begins at the stroke of Christmas Eve (Kūčios) where families soberly gather round the table and sample the traditional twelve “meatless” dishes. Christmas day is welcomed especially by children, because “Grandfather Christmas” has dropped off a few presents under the Christmas tree. New Year’s Day is often an all-nighter celebrated with friends and usually very loud with fireworks, champagne, dances and songs. There are two other Lithuanian customs, not necessarily connected with festivals, but very important in everyday life. Please remember that when you enter a Lithuanian’s home, you should take off your shoes. Also, be punctual. When a Lithuanian invites you to do something, try not to be late.

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Want to taste local food and drinks?

Believe me, nothing else can characterise the nation better than its cuisine. Lithuanian cuisine has a fine diversity of dishes, especially from potatoes and meat. The most famous Lithuanian dish – cepelinai (zeppelins), is a kind of big dumpling made from grated potatoes with meat inside. As the humple spud is the basis of much of Lithuania’s cuisine, a lot of dishes are cooked from it. Among them are kugelis (a potato pudding cake) and for the adventurous types, there is also “a potato sausage cased in a pig’s intestines dish” called vėdarai. Soups are also a staple in Lithuania. One of the most attractive Lithuanian soups is šaltibarščiai (cold beetroot soup), which is made from beets/beetroot, kefir (a fermented milk product), greens and boiled eggs. This dish is most popular when served on a hot summer day. One more dish I recommend is Lithuanian rye bread. And if there’s a “best snack for beer in the world”, it’s sure to be strips or chunks of fried rye bread with garnished garlic and cheese that you can get in any bar or restaurant. But remember, the best places to taste real Lithuanian food are the same ones that are popular among the locals.

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Let’s celebrate public holidays and festivals together!

What is more enjoyable than celebrating? There are lots of occasions to celebrate in Lithuania. Below I wrote you the list of official holidays in Lithuania. January 1st – New Year’s Day February 16th – Day of Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania (1918) March 11th – restoration Day of Restitution of Independence of Lithuania (from the Soviet Union, 1990) First Sunday and Monday of spring with full moon -Easter May 1st – International Labour Day The first Sunday in May – Mother’s Day June 24th – Day of Dew July 6th – King Mindaugas’ Crowning Day (Statehood Day) August 15th – Assumption Day. November 1st – All Saints’ Day December 25-26th – Christmas Moreover, there are even more occasions to celebrate. For example, birthdays are celebrated especially heartily. You can also enjoy spending your time and taking part in the various festivals held all over Lithuania, all year long. You can check the dates and programs at the below links: Days of Vilnius http://www.vilniusfestivals.lt Kaziukas Fair (This festival is held in all bigger cities. The fair is traditionally held on the Sunday nearest to St. Casimir’s Day, March 4, the day Saint Casimir Jagiellon died.) Street Music Day (http://www.gatvesmuzika.lt/) Kaunas Jazz Festival(http://www.kaunasjazz.lt/) Rock Nights (http://www.rocknights.lt) Blues Nights (www.bliuzonaktys.lt) Sea Festival (http://www.jurossvente.lt/) Klaipėda’s Castle Jazz Festival (www.jazz.lt )

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Want to spend your leisure in nature? It’s not a problem!

OK, my friend, there is one cherished thing to do when you are recovering from partying all night in the clubs. Head out of town and spend time in nature - it will make your minds fresh, and cleanse your souls. Chances are, once you find a spot, you won’t be completely alone, because heading off to nature is one of Lithuania’s most popular things to do. There are plenty of tips on how to spend your weekend – it’s something you’ll treasure forever. Maybe want to spend a weekend in a countryside? Go to www.countryside.lt.

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Not an active enough life and want to get fit?

There are lots of possibilities if you like sports and want to get fit. You can always find some gyms and SPAs near you. Most of them are rather new, modern and wellequiped, and have pools, saunas and jacussis. There you’ll find not only body-builders but plenty of others doing all sorts of sports. But the best way to get fit is to do what most Lithuanians do – take a walk, there’s usually something cool to see.

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Going shopping or want to send a lettger?

The surprising thing I found in Lithuania was the opening hours of shops. I imagine you will be happy about it, too. For example, shops in the city centre where you buy clothes, shoes or other stuff usually work as follows: I-V 10.0020.00, VI 10.00-18.00, VII 10.00-17.00 and in shopping malls – I-VII 10.00-22.00. Great, isn’t it? You can always shop at the most popular grocery stores. Most of them work from 8.00 till 20.00, 22.00, 23.00, 24.00 or even 24/7 and that depends on the place where they are located. By the way, while visiting a shopping centre you might buy a post card for your mother. This is easiest done by going to the nearest post office. You can find the address and work hours at www.post.lt, but they usually work from 8.00 to 19.00.

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Want to know at least several phrases in Lithuanian? Hello

[Laa-bas]

Labas

Thank you

[A-chyoo]

Ačiū

Goodbye

[Vee-so ge-ro]

Viso gero

Good luck

[Sehk-mes]

Sėkmės

What is your name?

[Kwo yous var-doo]

Kuo jūs vardu?

I am sorry, Excuse me

[Atsi-pra-shau]

Atsiprašau

Please

[Pra-shau]

Prašau

Beer

[A-los]

Alus

My name is...

[Ma-no var-das]

Mano vardas yra...

I am from...

[Ash esu ish…]

Aš esu iš...

Can you help me?

[Ar ga-le-te man pa-deh-ti]

Ar galite man padėti?

I do not speak Lithuanian

[Ash ne-kal-boo lye-too-vishkay]

Aš nekalbu lietuviškai

I love you

[Ash tave meeloo]

Aš tave myliu

Shall we dance?

[Pa-sho-kima]

Pašokime?

What‘s your telephone number?

[Koks tavo telephono numeres]

Koks tavo telefono numeris?

Party, party, party!

Students love to party a lot, especially when they are in a foreign country. In Lithuania, you can find plenty of good places to have a beer or a cocktail, to dance and listen to good music. But remember, no smoking inside. This can be tough on smokers but every place has a smoking room – it’s called, “Outside,” and you can join all the others there, at the entrance. After spending your time in cafes, bars, pubs or clubs, you can always reward your waiter or waitress with a tip. Depending on how rich you are, leave something but not more than 10%.

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PRACTICALITIES You already know many facts about Lithuania itself, its traditions and specialties and the whole system of higher education. You might also need some information about practical issues that concern daily life in this country. Here are some tips for you.

Need a lift?

If you want to travel somewhere abroad, you can go by bus or train or by plane. There are three main Lithuanian airports but also take care of how much stuff you want to bring to Lithuania by using the website www.cust.lt. Airports: Vilnius www.vilnius-airport.lt Kaunas www.kaunasair.lt Palanga www.palanga-airport.lt Trains: www.litrail.lt Now I can tell you how not to get lost in this country. Lithuania is a small country: you can cross it in less than 7 hours by bus and even faster by car. There is a list of links where you can find all the information you need. There are different kinds of transport in every city: buses, trolleybuses, micro buses and taxis. While travelling by public transport, you have to buy single tickets at kiosks or the driver will sell you one. Monthly tickets are sold only in kiosks. Note that in Vilnius and Klaipėda there are now electronic tickets. If you want to travel to other cities, use local buses or trains. Public transport and local buses: Vilnius www.vilniustransport.lt (local transport), www.toks.lt (bus station) Kaunas http://transportas.kaunas.lt (local transport), www.kautra. lt (bus station) Klaipėda www.klap.lt (both) Šiauliai www.busturas.lt (both) Panevėžys www.panevezioautobusai.lt (both) Taxi: www.etaksi.lt You can also rent a car in all airports in the biggest car rental companies: http://www.addcarrental.com/, http://www.avis.lt/, https://www.hertz.lt, http://www.europcar.lt/

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Want to get in touch?

It is very easy to get a phone card here. I got mine in a shopping centre for a small fee. There are plenty of choices, so go to the websites and check the prices and services they offer. I personally recommend you to buy pre-paid cards, and these are provided by www.extra.lt, www.ezys.lt, www.labas.lt and www.pildyk.lt. And sure, how could we live without the Internet nowadays? Well don’t worry, you can find really easy access to the Internet. Areas where you can find wireless internet connection can be found in the website www.wifi.lt .

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Short of cash?

There is always a way how to get some. Opening a bank account is not difficult in Lithuania. For common requirements in different banks which provide services in Lithuania you should check on the Internet www.lba.lt under “Members” section.

Finding a place where to live

There are two ways to live: in dormitories or private apartment. Prices are shown in the part “Wonder how much it will cost to live in Lithuania?”, but pay attention – not all universities and other higher educational institutions have dormitories, so you might have to search for a private apartment.

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Wondering how much it will cost to live in Lithuania?

To help you imagine how much everything costs, I will give you several examples with approximate prices. Though keep in mind that due to inflation prices may have risen.

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Prices for food: Meat LTL 20/kg (EUR 5,79/kg) Bread LTL 4 (EUR 1,16/kg) Milk LTL 3 (EUR 0,87) Cheese LTL 4 - 20 (EUR 5,79)

Prices for services: Haircut for man LTL 15 – 50 (EUR 4 – 15) Haircut for ladies LTL 50 – 120 (EUR 15 – 35) Single public transport ticket LTL 0.55 – 2 (EUR 0,16 – 0,58) Monthly public transport ticket LTL 12 (EUR 3,5) Fuel LTL 4/litre (EUR 1,16/litre) Taxi LTL 2 - 3, 5/km (EUR 0,6 – 1/km) Ticket to cinema LTL 10 – 16 (EUR 3 – 4,5) A glass of beer in a bar LTL 7 (EUR 2) Average receipt in restaurant LTL 30 (EUR 9) Club entry LTL 15-35 (EUR 4 – 10)

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Average cost of accommodation depends on its location. Dormitories usually cost from 80 – 200 (EUR 23 – 58) Private apartments in Vilnius - form LTL 400 – 2000 (EUR 116 – 580) In Kaunas – from LTL 300 - 1300 (EUR 87 - 376) In Klaipėda – from LTL 250 - 900 (EUR 73 - 260) In Šiauliai – from LTL - 800 (EUR 58 - 232) In Panevėžys – from LTL 150 - 600 (EUR 44 - 174)

Want to find a job in Lithuania?

It is not going to be easy I think… First of all, it is much easier if you know the Lithuanian language but you probably do not. Secondly, you should check about the documents required for the being able to work in Lithuania for foreigners on www.migracija.lt and some suggestions of work places. You can also check for work possibilities at the state job centre’s website www.ldb.lt or the private job centres’ websites. If you are interested in what taxes to pay, check it on www.sodra.lt.

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Your country is closer than you think…

Need to talk with someone from your country? Go to your country’s embassy. The embassies addresses are at www.urm.lt under the Foreign Representations section. You can also visit some foreign culture centres such as: Nordic Council of Ministers Office in Lithuania www.norden.lt American Culture Centre www.usembassy.lt British Council Lithuania www.britishcouncil.lt Goethe Institute www.goethe.de/vilnius Italian Culture Institute www.iicvil.lt Polish Institute www.lenkukultura.lt French Culture Centre in Vilnius www.centrefrancais.lt Again, there are plenty of internet cafes and even cafes that have free wireless internet access. So just ask.

Feeling safe?

Do not worry! Lithuania is a regular European country. You can feel quite safe here but, as in all other countries, you should know how and where to take care of yourself. In case of emergency, you should call 112, which is the emergency phone number for ambulance, police and fire brigades. In case of health problems you should go to the nearest health care centre. I would recommend you take a Lithuanian friend with you in case there are problems with communicating with doctors in English, and don’t forget health insurance, which is obligatory if you want to get a temporary residence permit. If you are a resident of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, you can take your European Health Insurance Card which guarantees help of public health centre in case of emergency problems. The other way is to get private insurance, but get advice about this from your embassy in Lithuania. Water and electricity? Water is taken from deep underground in Lithuania, and is fresh and clean. Electricity is 220Vs, and the plug is of general East European type, but you can get adapters at any electronics’ store. If you are a disabled person, do not worry, most shops, public places, universities are adapted for you. Also, Lithuanians are friendly and ready to help in case of anything.

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How to make your stay and studying legal in Lithuania?

When you will come to Lithuania, you will have to get permission for temporary living. You do this at the Ministry of the Interior, Department of Migration. (www.migracija.lt). But it is always recommended to check all the aspects of registering before leaving your country at the Lithuanian embassy in your country and to talk with the representative from the international affairs department of your university in Lithuania if you have some questions once you’re here. Now, talking about VISAS, absolutely check to see if you need one in the nearest diplomatic mission or a consular institution of the Republic of Lithuania. You can also do it at www.urm.lt under Consular Issues section. There you will find information about which countries’ citizens need to get a Lithuanian VISA, as well as details about fees and how and where you can get your VISA.

Want to know how to get a Lithuanian Student Identity Card?

When you will come to Lithuania, you will have to get permission for temporary living. You do this at the Ministry of the Interior, Department of Migration (www.migracija.lt). But it is always recommended to check all the aspects of registering before leaving your country at the Lithuanian embassy in your country and to talk with the representative from the international affairs department of your university in Lithuania if you have some questions once you’re here. Now, talking about VISAS, absolutely check to see if you need one in the nearest diplomatic mission or a consular institution of the Republic of Lithuania. You can also do it at www.urm.lt under Consular Issues section. There you will find information about which countries’ citizens need to get a Lithuanian VISA, as well as details about fees and how and where you can get your VISA.

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Where to find help during your first days at university?

Do not be afraid to ask for help when you come to university for the first time. The first person that could help you is the international relations coordinator with whom you had contact before arriving. This coordinator should be able to answer all questions that concern academic issues. The other person that will help you with other questions and concerns is your mentor/buddy that should be appointed before your arrival. Usually, Student Association can always help you solve all the problems, if have any or to tell where to look for the solution. Moreover, you should have an introduction lecture in the beginning of studies where you will find out all the important information about your studies at your particular university or other higher educational institution.

Do not forget!

Find out if you need a VISA, and if you do, get it.

Take care of your health insurance.

Get a permit for temporally living.

Have a place to live.

Contact the international relations coordinator from your educational institution to get information about the documents you should bring with yourself.

Optional: register for an intensive Lithuanian language courses.

Finally, be prepared for the best period in your life.

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CHEK LIST


STUDY IN LITHUANIA

DISCOVER. DEVELOP. ENJOY.

Prepared by Education Exchanges Support Foundation in cooperation with “Žaismė” Edited by Aleksas Apynys

Education Exchanges Support Foundation Geležinio Vilko g. 12, LT-01112 Vilnius, Lithuania Phone (8 ~ 5) 261 05 92 Fax (8 ~ 5) 249 71 37 E-mail info@smpf.lt www.smpf.lt

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

2008 Vilnius

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Guide for incoming students