Friday, March 20, 2009

Across the Seas, but Close to Home

“Rebellious, quirky and vibrant, Lithuania (Lietuva) is Europe’s best-kept secret,” writes Vivek Wagle, editor of Lonely Planet Travels. This deems true as Gordon College’s exchange program to Lithuania Christian College (LCC) is not one of the more popular choices for Gordon students.
However, Sergiu Rusu, junior exchange student from LCC, proves this should be otherwise. “[LCC] is a great program to study abroad. You see a lot since the countries are so close together in Europe,” Rusu said. “During spring break the students see more in one week than an average traveler would in one month. You experience so much culture.
LCC, located in Klaipeda, Lithuania, near the Baltic Sea, was founded in 1991 by request of the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science. Around 600 students attend from 21 different countries. LCC’s mission, according to their website, is “to engage students in a transforming educational experience in order to create a generation of leaders for Eastern Europe who think critically, promote democratic ideals, develop a market economy, and rebuild the network of civil society within the context of a Christian worldview.”
Rusu, one of two students studying at Gordon from LCC, misses the traditional food and friends back home but is enjoying his time on the North Shore. “I want to find out what’s missing in my life, and what I take for granted,” Rusu said. “This experience will prepare me for my future and the decisions that I will be making.” Rusu is from the Republic of Moldova, about 900 miles south of Lithuania. Coming from Europe, Rusu notes several cultural and traditional differences to the United States. “It’s easy to start friendships in America but hard to keep them,” Rusu said. “It’s hard to start friendships in Europe, but once you do they are friends for life.”
Rusu, along with the rest of the student body has only seven weeks left. “I’ve learned a lot through this experience,” Rusu said, “but overall it’s good to be home.” Although Lithuania may be Europe’s best-kept secret, LCC may be Lithuania’s best-kept experience. For more information concerning the LCC exchange program go to their website, or contact the Global Education Office, cliff.hersey@gordon.edu.

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