Eimantė Kliknaitė, originally from Telšiai, Lithuania, had planned to move abroad and study outside of her home country. However, after attending Summer Language Institute for two summers in a row, she realized LCC was where she wanted to study. Now, she is a junior, studying towards a degree in Contemporary Communication. In her free time she is busy preparing for Global Leadership Summit Youth, working at LCC and managing Šokio teatras Judesio erdvė (dance theater). There seems to be no stopping her from achieving her goals.
Eimantė, how did you find out about LCC?
My English teacher in high school was a huge fan of LCC. She always encouraged students to come to LCC for Open Days, to participate in various events, and to be a part of Summer Language Institute* (SLI). In high school I shared with my teacher that I wanted my future career to include the English language somehow. She recommended that I participate in SLI. I ended up coming to SLI for two summers in a row and I really loved it. After that I did not have any doubts that I wanted to study at LCC, even though I previously did not want to stay in Lithuania, fearing that my home country felt too small. After applying, while waiting for the response, I knew that if LCC did not work out, I could leave and still study abroad. However, I was accepted to LCC and these have been the best years for me.
How did your parents react to your decision to study at LCC?
What I like about my family is that since my childhood they encouraged me to be independent and make my own choices. When the time came to choose the university, they supported me. They helped me out with the application and gave advice. They really supported my choice of studying at LCC, perhaps because they saw how much I loved this place. Also with their past experience in Lithuanian state universities, they knew LCC would be a great place for me to be. My parents were worried about LCC having so many students from different cultures, and I understood where they were coming from. They grew up in the Soviet Union and had some cultural stereotypes in the beginning. It was strange for them, this concept of multiculturalism at LCC. Now, they are happy with me studying here and with who I am becoming at LCC.
Have you regretted at any point, that you stayed here in Lithuania?
No. I always say that you never know what you can find at home. I never thought I would find a home in my own country, which seems weird. I was always so sure I would move abroad and live in a big country with seemingly many more opportunities. Now, as a junior at LCC, I see how many opportunities Lithuania has to offer for young people. It is a matter of seeking out those opportunities. I am happy I stayed here since I have seen a different side of Lithuania. Especially for me, Lithuania, my home country, seems different now. Studying with students from 50+ countries, you get to represent your country and your Lithuanian identity.
Eimantė, you work at the LCC reception desk, help with organizing GLS Youth, manage Šokio teatras Judesio erdvė, and this year you are also an FYS leader. How did you become involved with GLS and the dance theater?
At home, I was also very active. I loved volunteering, participating in different events, planning, and organizing. When I moved to Klaipėda to study at LCC, I was trying to find opportunities to volunteer or do something else outside of my studies. During my freshman year, I volunteered at GLS, and it was interesting for me to be in that kind of setting. Everything I do, I take seriously. The people at GLS noticed and offered me more responsibility for the next year. I was an assistant for the event manager and it was hard work. Gradually, I received more and more responsibilities and this year I am responsible for the GLS Youth*. Through GLS I met with the person responsible for Šokio teatras Judesio erdvė*. They asked me to manage their social media, make sure dancers have a place to perform and details like that. I also search for sponsors who would be interested to invest in the theater. My role is connected to managing and organizing. I feel that this is my field of work and I feel comfortable doing it.
How do you combine your studies, work, and being an FYS leader?
At LCC I have learned time management. It is the most important thing in my life. I have flexible working hours, so I can have my evenings free for studying and doing other work. During breaks, if I have a free minute I can answer some emails. I have learned how to do different things and keep track of them during the day and not feel overwhelmed. I know how to manage my time. I also believe that when you do what you love, you will find time for anything. As an FYS* leader, I love to be with freshmen and I love helping them. I know that by sharing my experiences with them, they can be helped by my advice in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to find the right university?
My advice is to visit and see the university for yourself. Most of the universities have Open Door Days, or events where you can come talk to people, and attend classes. These events can help you get the feeling of a university and of the people there. Talk to the graduates of the university, and be open to both negative and positive comments. If someone is still a high school student, it would be beneficial for them to go to the university they are interested in, visit it, and see how they feel about it.
What personal transformations have you gone through at LCC?
I am always focused on achieving goals. It is a good quality to have, however it can sometimes make you self-reliant. At LCC I am learning that I can still achieve my goals, but I do not have to do it alone. I used to say that I liked working alone because I am a detailed person and I like to do things a certain way. At first, it was difficult for me at LCC because there were so many group projects, but I got used to it. As a junior, I now realize that I can work in groups, there is a mutual benefit for everyone and we will still achieve our goals. Seeking help does not mean you have failed, it means you are open to help from others. At LCC, if you make mistakes, no one acts as if you have failed. They will help you, talk to you and offer their advice. This is true of everyone at LCC - students, staff and faculty.
*Summer Language Institute (SLI) - Intensive three-week English program tailored for young people aged 15-24. We offer 12 different levels, from beginner to advanced.
*Global Leadership Summit (GLS) - the Youth Summit is designed to provide leadership training and life purpose to youth (ages 12-25). The organizers want to challenge youth in their relationship with Christ, engage them in the local church and accelerate their leadership development.
*Šokio teatras Judesio erdvė - the dance theater company was established in 2017 in Klaipėda. Dance theater members teach contemporary dance, ballet and theater lessons for children aged 5-6 and 8-14. They focus on body training, hearing, rhythm, movement, improvisation, working alone, in pairs and in groups. During activities, you are encouraged to be yourself, to search and discover, to see and feel, to listen and to hear, to think and perceive, to take and give, to think and to create.
*First Year Seminar (FYS) - is a class that continues the orientation program by providing students a solid foundation to succeed at LCC. FYS provides an avenue for students to not only become familiar with Christian higher education and with LCC, but also to develop vital self-awareness and self-development skills.