Lithuanians are one of the ethnic groups in the Baltic region. While Lithuania has a population of about 3 million people, at least another million are living in other countries, with Lithuanians generally located in the USA, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Lithuania is a member of EU and NATO.
The native language is Lithuanian, one of two living Baltic languages. An interesting fact about the language is that as far back as the beginning of the 19th century people noticed that Lithuanian was very similar to Sanskrit. Linguists around the world are still fascinated that the Lithuanian language has retained features of this ancient language and it hasn’t really simplified much.
Many Lithuanians are multilingual; two-thirds of the population declares that they are able to speak at least two foreign languages. This exceeds the average of the European Union several times. According to the data from Eurostat, 66.1 per cent of the population of Lithuania, aged 25 – 64, can speak two or more foreign languages, 31.5 per cent can speak one foreign language, and a mere 2.5 per cent of the population cannot speak any foreign languages. The most common foreign languages spoken are English, Russian and German.
83.45 per cent of the population of Lithuania consider themselves to be Lithuanians, 6.74 per cent are Polish, 6.31 per cent are Russians, 1.23 per cent are Belarusians and 2.27 per cent represent other nations. In terms of religion, most Lithuanians are Roman Catholic.
Another reason why Lithuania is amongst the top destinations for quality studies in Europe is that our population is amongst the top educated in Europe. We were among the best educated nations in Europe once more by the European Commision's Eurostat website, which compared all European countries against the same criteria. 93.3% of 25-64 year olds in Lithuania have upper secondary education (followed by 92.5% in Czech Republic, 91.7% in Slovakia and 89.8% in Estonia). Every third Lithuanian has a BA or higher degree.
Lets be real - choosing where to study is a lot about getting the best education, but you won't be spending 24/7 in the library, right? Lithuania has a lot to offer for your leisure - from going out and joining all the people who crowd various pubs and bars after lectures/work, to learning how to snowboard in the biggest in-doors skiing facility in Druskininkai, or visiting one of exhilarating tree-top adventure parks.
Most of the pubs and clubs in Lithuania are small to medium sized, each one with unique vibe and soul. And this soul is what you will notice on your first evening out - put on your friendly hat and be ready to mingle, because it is very common to go out with a few friends, and come back with a dozen. There are lots of international students focused events, especially in the beginning of the term, which are the best way to get to know other students and make local friends. Apart from going out, being compact in size Lithuania is convenient for domestic tourism - we have vast areas secured for national parks, where you can hike special trails, kayak, or bike. If you are into more extreme ventures - maybe something like air ballooning other the tree tops, paint-ball in deserted army polygons or wakeboarding will be among things you will experience first in Lithuania.
If you have made the decision to study in Lithuania and are preparing to pack for your trip here, don’t forget that you are coming to a country where the weather is very different per season. In summer you will see beautiful blossoms of various forms and colours; in autumn yellow, red and brown leaves fall from the trees; in winter you’ll be able to wade through big banks of snow and catch snowflakes, and in spring you will see the sun reflecting in the puddles.
Lithuania’s climate has gotten warmer in recent years; the average annual temperature is 6.5–7.9°C. July is the hottest month of the year (average temperature is about 19.7°C; the highest temperature is over 30°C). The coldest month is January (average temperature –2.9°C, lowest temperature may fall below –30°C).
The rain season is from April to October (60 - 65% of the annual rainfall). There may be rainy periods during summer when 30mm a day or even more has been measured.
Thus, in summer your luggage will probably be at least half the weight it would be in winter. Temperatures can rise up to 30°C in the warm season, although a light jacket and an umbrella could come in handy. In winter you will need a warm coat, gloves and a wooly hat. In spring and autumn you may need a pair of wellington boots (if that’s your style).
Lithuania is a crossroad between west and east Europe, and despite its complicated history, has developed a unique culture, which encompasses both deep respect for traditions and a robust wish to learn and innovate. We are members of the EU and NATO, and are among the most bilingual and educated nations in Europe, however costs of living here are lower than in western countries, which makes Lithuania ideal for aspiring students.
All of the 350+ English-taught study programmes in Lithuania are evaluated according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), with each year of study being awarded with 60 ECTS credits. You can find all of them on http://www.studyinlithuania.lt. University degrees are offered in three cycles: the first cycle is undergraduate (Bachelor), the second cycle is graduate (Master, and/or specialised professional studies), and the third one is postgraduate (Doctoral; residency; postgraduate in the Arts). Bachelor degrees and professional qualifications are offered at universities; professional qualifications, but not degrees, can be taken at colleges. The academic year starts in September and ends in mid-June and is divided into two semesters – spring and autumn. Students can opt to study full-time or part-time.
If you are at the second cycle stage (or aim to be there) and you want to study for a Master’s degree and/or a specialised professional qualification one of the options open to you is the Integrated study programmes. These programmes combine university studies at the first and second cycles. The successful graduates are awarded a Master’s Diploma which testifies to their Master’s degree status.
The admission process is a piece of cake after you decide which programme you wish to study. Most Universities have deadlines in June for the start in September, but international students are advised to apply as early as possible in order to leave more time to work out the details. The following three steps are required to enroll with Lithuanian university:
If you want to study in the first-cycle (Bachelor’s) programme at a higher education institution in Lithuania you need to have a Maturity Certificate (school leaving certificate) or an equivalent qualification. To be admitted to the second-cycle university programme you should hold a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification (usually in the respective field). In order to enter the third-cycle university studies (Doctoral, as well as residency, postgraduate Arts studies), you should have either a Master’s or a corresponding degree in the respective study field.
“Knowledge is priceless; however, studies have to be paid for”.
At Higher Education institutions in Lithuania, tuition fees differ from institution to institution, depending on which study programme has been chosen and which stage the student is at. Educational institutions announce their tuition fees annually.
On average, the cost of studies at higher education institutions is approximately between 1.000 – 5.300 EUR per year for Bachelor studies, from 2.200-6.500 EUR per year for Master studies and from 7.100 to 8.500 EUR per year for postgraduate studies. You can find more detailed information on tuition fees for specific programmes on http://www.studyinlithuania.lt
Students at Higher Education institutions in Lithuania may be awarded scholarships and may also participate in international exchange programmes (e.g. Erasmus). Those who participate in students’ exchange programmes do not have to pay any extra tuition fees for the exchange programme.
Students of all fields, lecturers and researchers of higher education or research institutions of foreign countries are eligible to apply for Lithuanian state scholarships. Usually (but not in all cases), scholarships cover both tuition-fee for studies/summer courses and living expenses. Financial provisions depend on the country you are applying from. There are three scholarships offered:
1st of April is the deadline for the document submission for both spring and autumn semesters (for summer courses, short-term studies and research scholarships), while the deadline for applications for the full-time master degree studies is usually set for mid-July. Learn more about the exact deadlines this year and which scholarships you are eligible for at http://www.smpf.lt/en/statescholarships.
In addition to state scholarships, Universities sometimes grant individual scholarships, which you can enquire about when applying!
Higher Education institutions in Lithuania focus on giving students the skills they need in order to apply their knowledge in a practical way. Therefore, students are able to undertake educational, professional or scientific practices both locally and internationally.
Opportunities for practical involvement include the following:
All universities offer the opportunity of living in a hall of residence. Some of the halls of residence are situated near the universities, others in the city centre. Some are further away so you will have to use public transport to get to university. These halls have been renovated and equipped with modern appliances; they all have internet access. However, not all residences have the same conditions.
Most foreign students say, that 350-400 EUR is enough to live off for a month (minus the tuition fees). It really depends on how much you want to travel and go out, but our night clubs, pubs, museums and other attractions are less expensive than the ones found elsewhere in Europe. A pint of beer will set you back anywhere from 2.50 to 3.50 EUR, two-course lunch deal at most restaurants – from 3 to 5 EUR, cinema ticket – up to 5-6 EUR, ten minutes at the local carting track – 10-12 EUR.
If you’ve come from one of the 27 Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and have a European card of health insurance, you are guaranteed state health care services in case of an accident. You need to be aware that the card does not cover the expenses of health care services provided by the private sector.
Students from EU above the age of 18 could be considered for insurance and get free medical care. To do so, they must present a document, proving their status as a student, to the territorial health insurance fund. Then, if you want to get registered at a health centre, you will have to fill in an application on a special form at the reception desk and present a document proving personal identity (with the photo and a National Identification Number).
In size, Lithuania is bigger than the other two Baltic neighbors and has roughly the size of Ireland: 62 302km². Lithuania’s territory extends 373 km from East to West and 276 km from North to South, which means you can cross it easily in few hours by car. Lithuania shares borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Russian Federation.
Students from outside of EU, have to get insurance before coming to Lithuania – either from a company based at home or within Lithuania.
Lithuania is also very flat – our highest hill rises 293.8 m above sea level, and we don‘t have any mountains (so we built the biggest indoor skiing center in the region!). About one third of our land area is occupied by forests, and 4% - by rivers and lakes (which we have 830 of). We also have a 100km long coastline.
Photos provided by Kaunas University of Technology, LCC International University, Lithuanian State Department of Tourism and Vilnius University