While applying for the exchange program, Taylor Daily from Texas, USA, and Mariam Mestiashvili from Tbilisi, Georgia, did not know what to expect from Lithuania. Soon after arrival, they felt comfortable in this foreign land and found here a sense of home. Taylor transferred to LCC from Taylor University, and is now a senior studying International Business Administration. Mariam transferred to LCC from Caucasus University, and is now a sophomore studying Psychology. Their decision to transfer to LCC and the journeys that followed bring insight into why LCC is a truly welcoming and flourishing community.
How did you find out about the opportunity to visit LCC as part of the exchange program?
Taylor: I was attending Taylor University in Indiana, and had some complications with my major. I was advised to visit a university as a Study Abroad student for a semester. I had two destinations to choose from, and one of them was LCC located in Lithuania. To be honest, I knew nothing about Lithuania at the time, however, after I researched everything, I decided to give it a chance.
Mariam: I always wanted to study abroad for a semester in another university and during my senior year I finally got that chance. Like Taylor, I was also faced with two destinations, and in the end, I chose LCC. I did some research about the country, the university, and talked with people who had studied here. I heard a lot of positive things about LCC. After considering everything, I decided to come here for a semester.
What were some of the things that stood out to you when you arrived here?
Taylor: During my first week here, as I was sitting outside a conversation happened with the girl who sat beside me. For its entirety, I was just nodding in agreement without really understanding what she was saying. This girl is now my best friend. I remember this was exactly what I appreciated the most during my first weeks at LCC as a Study Abroad student - diversity, a chance to learn many things about different cultures and meet friends from all over the world.
Mariam: I was very excited during my first days at LCC! We were traveling to different places, and I was not sleeping much during the first nights here as I was meeting new people, and we were talking about different things. LCC is the place I actually felt comfortable and eventually, I fell in love with the people who live and study here.
Both of you were exchange students but decided to transfer here full-time. Why did you decide to permanently transfer here? Was it a difficult decision?
Taylor: I think it was clear from the beginning, especially with the complications with my major at Taylor University. Here, I felt that I finally found my place and my home, and I had never felt that anywhere else. I think after a month into my Study Abroad semester I decided that I was going to transfer full-time to LCC.
Mariam: People impacted me so much, and deep in my heart I knew that I wanted to stay here. In Georgia, I could afford not to pay tuition, so there were some financial issues in the beginning since here I would have to pay for tuition. After I found out that LCC offers financial aid and scholarship possibilities, during my third month of studies here I made my decision to be a full-time student.
How did your parents react to your decision to transfer to LCC?
Taylor: I think it was really difficult for them. Of course, it was difficult for me to explain how I really felt here because they have Nevertheless, they were extremely supportive, and I think trying to convince them was the hardest part. Now, they are happy I stayed at LCC because they see how it has helped me grow and how happy I am here.
Mariam: When I told my family about the possibility of transferring full-time to LCC, they immediately started convincing me that I should do it and follow my dreams. Not only my parents but also my brothers and my grandmother were supportive and told me that no matter what, they would always be on my side.
What are some of the best memories you have gathered at LCC?
Taylor: It is my second year of being a Resident Assistant and I like talking to people and spending evenings in a good company. I like living in the dorm a lot since you get to be around the people and your friends all the time.
Mariam: This year is my first time sharing a room with unfamiliar people. It has been amazing. I like those random laughs in the evenings while we are trying to study or fall asleep. I appreciate the fact that you are never alone and every time you have a difficult situation, there is always someone willing to help and support you.
Why would you advise anyone thinking of going on a Study Abroad or exchange program to choose LCC?
Taylor: Generally, American students do not get to explore a lot, so this experience at LCC is a great chance to do so. When you come here, you realize how big and at the same time, small the world is. You experience that there is more outside of what you have known and you get to really expand your understanding of the world. Most importantly, the people you meet here at LCC, help you learn more about the world and yourself.
Mariam: I agree with Taylor. One of the biggest reasons to come here is the people and to experience the different cultures they all come from. I am not going to lie, sometimes it may seem frustrating because there are a lot of differences between us, however, at the end of the day, you start appreciating the diversity even more.
What if someone decides to transfer to LCC full-time? What should they expect from this place?
Taylor: Transferring here full-time, you need to understand that as an American, you will need to be open-minded and understanding. Come to Lithuania and stay at LCC, but also utilize the opportunity to travel and explore different surrounding countries.
Mariam: Before deciding to transfer here, do your research. Be aware that you will need to prepare a lot of documents. Decide how much it is worth to you, to stay at LCC. Always ask friends and family for their opinion before you make your final decision.