Elizaveta Velichko is from Grodno, Belarus. She comes from a large family of three brothers and seven foster siblings, four of which are grown and now live on their own already. Elizaveta is currently an English Language and Literature student at LCC. Interestingly though, this is not her first year in Lithuania, and LCC is not her first university.
When she graduated from high school in Belarus, Elizaveta thought that she wanted to be a lawyer. She finished college in Belarus but also wanted to deepen her knowledge, so she looked for other educational institutions. First, she thought of staying in Belarus but looked up universities abroad and found the European Humanitarian University located in Vilnius. She has been studying International Law there and will receive her Master’s degree at the end of this academic year.
Elizaveta first heard of LCC when she was still studying in Belarus. When she read about LCC, she was drawn to LCC for its Christian and North American style education. However, she wanted to be a lawyer, and since LCC did not provide this specific program, she initially dismissed it as an option.
Some time ago, she was visiting Klaipėda and realized how much she enjoyed this city. She thought it would be lovely to study and live in a place so close to the sea. At that moment, she remembered LCC. This was last summer, while she was also deciding to change her major. She reached out to the admissions team, asking if she could apply, and fortunately, she was not too late. When she was a little girl, Elizaveta wanted to be an interpreter. She loved the whole concept and talking to people in general. She chose to study at LCC and become an English major because of this longtime dream. She anticipates that LCC will prepare her well for this role.
For most students at LCC, this is their first university or even their first time living abroad. Not so for Elizaveta. She has experienced Lithuanian culture while studying at the European Humanitarian University in Vilnius and living in the capital city. She had spent a year and a half in Vilnius before returning to Belarus in the Spring of 2020 because of the initial quarantine. Elizaveta enjoyed Vilnius. She says that “it was love at first sight.” She liked the old town, the architecture, and the capital ‘vibe’ yet, she also finds that she likes Klaipėda old town, too. She is now quite pleased to be in Klaipėda, in a much quieter atmosphere. Elizaveta says what she likes most about Lithuania, in general, is the people. Lithuanians seem much different than Belarusians in and around their culture. For instance, she mentioned that Lithuanians sitting on the grass in the city center seems normal, but in Belarus, it might not always be acceptable.
She has seen how professors try to get to know everyone personally or remember at least one thing about each student. She adds another difference. At LCC, there are many assignments. Students need to check Moodle every day to not miss anything. This aspect made her first month at LCC more difficult as she was not used to that in college in Belarus or at the university in Vilnius. “It’s not harder, but it’s different. You need to get used to it.” Elizaveta also highlights that the community at LCC feels much closer than in other places, “...maybe because of so many events and interactions that are happening.” She notes that it also might be because of LCC’s international aspect - everyone interacts differently in this diverse community, it’s part of LCC’s identity.
Being a student at European Humanities University gave Elizaveta a chance to go to Israel with the Erasmus program. Last fall, she got to go and study in one of the world’s top 100 best-ranked universities. Elizaveta jokes that she had to learn how to live because it was not the same as studying and living in Lithuania. Israel being so much further away from Belarus made living there even more challenging for her. She also had to find a local apartment in Israel to live in because they did not have space for her in the dorm. Also apart from knowing just a few Hebrew words, she did not know the language upon arrival. The whole experience helped to shape her in many new ways.
During her free time, Elizaveta likes to read books. Although her English is sufficient, she has not dared to read some books in their original English language. That is one of the things on her bucket list to try. Her favorite books are the “Chronicles of Narnia.” She says, “I read them maybe twelve times in my native language. But I still have not read them in English, so that is my goal for next year.” She likes the message of the books and how well they were written. As an English major, she feels that it’s only right to now read the books in English.
Finally, in honor of the 30th anniversary of LCC International University, Elizaveta would like to wish LCC to be an inspiring place to others, much like it is to her. She wishes that more people would hear about this university and would be interested to come.
Pictures are taken from Elizaveta's personal archive.