A North American Traveling to a University in Lithuania to Study English Language. Why?
LCC International University, Lithuania is a North American style liberal arts university in the city of Klaipėda, Lithuania. We are a home for faculty from North America and Europe as well as students from more than 60 different countries. A North American education model provides unique opportunities for students in our region, but the setting of the university as well as the intentionally international community makes us a unique destination even for students from North America.We have just celebrated with the 2023 graduating class and one of the highlights was the speech by a graduating student from the USA - Sage Gibson. Sharing Sage's speech here to help you get a glimpse into her experience:"For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sage Gibson, and I am a LCC soon-to-be-graduating student from the United States. My major at LCC is English Language and Literature…I now give you complete permission to laugh. You might be wondering why a native English speaker had to travel all the way to Lithuania to study her own language. And quite frankly…it’s graduation day…and I am still trying to figure that out myself. The head of our English department is a wonderful woman named Robin Gingerich. If any of you have had her as a professor, you might know that she starts every power point presentation with a quote. Last week the “quote of the day” was this: “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh—at yourself.” Now it might be a little naive to say I’m completely grown up, but I will say that I have had a lot of laughs—at myself.I still remember day 1 in Lithuania: the very first time I bought milk…only to quickly find out it was NOT milk, but Kefyras. I remember learning that the dorm ovens were NOT in Farheneight, but Celcius, after my pumpkin pie completely caught fire. And I remember learning that an umbrella is a great shield against the LCC swans…if necessary. All of these laughs have contributed to my “growing up.” But the most precious thing about these laughs is that none of them took place in isolation. They were all with you, and you, and you.Graduating students, dear friends who I am so excited and thankful for, take a moment to reflect on the laughs you’ve had. The moments and people that have grown you. And stretched you. Also think about the sorrows. The obstacles. The difficulties you have had to overcome. There is a Proverb from the Bible that says this: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Fellow seniors, we have labored. We have endured countless Moodle crashes. Covid. Wars. Rumors of wars. Broken laptops. Missing I.D. cards. And yet…through it all, we have been together. “Two is better than one,” it says. “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” I know that YOU have done this. And that you have received it, too. Praise be to God that we have each other.As I was considering what I wanted to say here today, I was doing some quote searching on the internet, and Bible verse searching, because you know, I’m an English major, and I have a good hook. But as I typed in the word “laughter,” I found another proverb that made me a little emotional. It said this: “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.” (Proverbs 14:13) Today is a joyful day. We are graduating. But graduating is also a big, scary step into the unknown. And for the majority of us it means having to say goodbyes. I don’t know about you, but I hate goodbyes. But I have realized that grief over goodbyes is also a beautiful thing. Because it means we held something precious…something that will be missed. Something that is worthy of both our laughter and our tears.Graduating class of 2023, staff and faculty of LCC, I wish I had words to describe how precious you are to me. How deeply I have treasured these 4 years. Parents and Families, I know that in allowing your child or loved one to come here, it meant that YOU had to go through the pain of saying goodbye too. And for this I am so, so thankful. As all of us—graduates, staff, parents, and families—are sent out into the world again, our “togetherness” doesn’t have to end. We are ambassadors of Beauty. Of Joy. Of Laughter. And in these things we stand united. The world is in desperate need of these things. And now is our time to meet them. As Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story says, “To infinity and beyond!”