Say hi to Adrija! While the Lithuanian high-school student isn’t an LCC student or a faculty member, she nevertheless has a deep history with LCC, coming to the university every summer for 8 years in a row.
Adrija Baltmiškytė, 18, has been attending LCC International University’s summer English programs for eight years, an impressive record that most cannot claim to have achieved. Adrija is a Lithuanian citizen, from the town of Palanga. She was introduced to LCC by her mother, an English teacher, who had visited LCC during an educational trip and was impressed by the university.
Adrija attended her first English camp at LCC when she was just ten years old. Adrija says how she felt nervous and apprehensive at first as she wasn’t very comfortable with her English and she didn’t know anything about LCC. At the end of the program, however, Adrija asked her mother to attend the camp again the next year. She attended the kids’ camps and then the teens’ camps for several summers and now she recently attended the Summer Language Institute (SLI). When asked why she kept returning to the English camps Adrija stated, “I felt like this was the community that I belong to ... people who come here accept me as who I am, don’t judge me or anything.” To Adrija, LCC is now a second home.
This year, Adrija has also accepted a leadership position as a children’s camp coordinator, due to her familiarity with the program, and previous experience as a student leader. Adrija was happy to accept the challenge, and has learned a lot from the volunteer position. “It will help you to grow as a person,” Adrija states, “and you might find yourself somewhere you wouldn’t imagine yourself to be.” This experience has helped Adrija be more confident in her leadership abilities and become a more effective communicator, especially in a multicultural environment.
Adrija expresses admiration for LCC because of a couple of key areas that she feels were unique to the environment fostered here. First of all, she was impressed with the open and welcoming community that allowed her to make connections with the other students and leaders in the camp, building relationships that she believes will last for a long time. Additionally, Adrija was impressed with how much she learned through these programs; first, a mastery of the English language, but also more confidence, better communication, and stronger leadership. This year Adrija is most impressed with the SLI teachers, who she says helped her have a much more fulfilling time in this program because of their open communication, their treatment of students as equal and important, and because they emphasized that everyone’s contributions are important and valuable.
Because Adrija has had an amazing experience with LCC and the SLI program, she has become familiar with the programs that LCC offers to international students. Adrija says that she feels most drawn to International Relations & Development, as she loves to communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds. However, she is also considering a degree in the pharmaceutical sciences after graduating from high school next year. Whatever is in her future, the memories from the Summer Language Institute will stay with Adrija for many years to come.