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LCC International University > News and Events > Studying at LCC International University: The best life decision

Studying at LCC International University: The best life decision


"Studying at LCC International University in Klaipėda was the best decision of my life," shares Sage Elizabeth Gibson from the USA, who graduated in Spring 2023. While studying in high school in the USA, she felt a strong desire to explore the world and tell people's stories. As a Christian, international, and liberal arts university, LCC has been a safe and motivating place for Sage to grow and develop as a person and a future professional.

In the footsteps of her parents

Twenty-five years ago, both Sage‘s parents, Todd and Janet Gibson, taught at LCC. Sage shares, "They spent a year at LCC, but that year had a profound effect on their lives. Afterward, my parents spoke warmly and often about LCC and their time there. They were not married at the time, and I wasn't born yet. I grew up knowing about LCC, but I never thought I would end up in Lithuania one day."

Like most young people in the US, she dreamed of studying in California. She jokingly shared, "I wanted to study and surf."

When she went to look around at the universities she had found in California, her eyes fell on the possibility of students benefiting from study abroad exchange programs. One of the options was to study at LCC for a semester.

"The US offers great opportunities, but I thought being an international student would be an even more exciting experience. Then I compared the cost of studying in the US with the cost of applying directly to LCC. If I want to study abroad, why don't I do all my studies there?"

Then Sage started to think about what it is that she really wanted. And these thoughts led Sage to arrive in Klaipėda around four years ago. LCC International University provides a Christian, broad-spectrum, liberal arts higher education. It fosters global citizenship and leadership, preparing its graduates to confidently venture out into the world. 

The best year ever

In California, Sage was looking for a university with Bible training. But she was also interested in writing, so she looked for English language and literature studies. At LCC she found everything she was looking for. Here she graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature and Evangelical Theology.

All four years of study were different from one another. In Klaipėda, she also faced the uncertainties and constraints of COVID-19. In the first year, as everything was new, there was a lot of excitement, and then the pandemic hit. Although it was difficult, she looked at the bright side. The quarantine has helped her to become even closer with her roommates and even more aware of the wonderful people around her. 

Sage lived in the LCC dormitory for the first two years, then moved to an apartment with her classmates, but still spent a lot of time with the large international academic community. Even with the professors, the relationships remained very warm. She recalls, "A couple of classes were even held at the professors' homes. We all had dinner together." 

It took time

"Many international students experience culture shock when they arrive in Lithuania, but I had a lot of international experience before I came here. For example, I spent one summer in Peru and I traveled a lot with my parents. I was more prepared for a different environment than most of the other students, but it still took time to adjust. Yet I was amazed by Klaipėda, I just loved living here!"

One of the things that stands out the most is that Americans smile a lot, even to strangers. Lithuanians, according to Sage, are a bit colder. For example, Sage said she was misunderstood when on the street she passed an elderly lady and smiled at her. Her first visits to supermarkets also made her uneasy. But she soon felt at home in Klaipėda. Sage shares, "Despite the initial impressions, Lithuanians are really welcoming and loving".

Wanted a challenge and got one

One of the strengths of LCC is the Liberal Arts model, which allows the students to experience and try out many different areas of study, rather than immediately diving into a narrow field. 

For example, while attending a class on international relations, Sage realized that it was not really for her, even though she had previously thought that she could have a career in this field. 

"After trying it, I said to myself, oh no, no, no! This is definitely not what I want to do. Although the good emotions I experienced on international trips would have led me to believe otherwise. It's a good thing I understood this before I made my final choice." 

"Studies at LCC are excellent. I am really happy with it. The classes were challenging in a good way, which is what I wanted. They were in English, which is my first language. I was impressed with how my classmates, who have English as their second or third language, were getting along with their studies. I am very proud of them," shares Sage, who identified sociolinguistics as the most challenging but very useful discipline - the science of language, which studies the relationship between language and its speakers, and the importance that speakers attach to certain features of language.   

World cuisines open up

"Before I came to LCC, I had read that people from more than 50 countries study here. And that's not an embellished number. With me alone, 100 students graduated from the course, speaking 19 different languages. My friends were from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Estonia, etc. In the spring, when I celebrated my birthday, there were 15 guests, and counting me, we were from 13 different countries!"

"One of the interesting things I have experienced in such a multicultural environment is the variety of dishes. Living in a dormitory and sharing a common space gives you an unimaginably wide range of cooking experiences and exposure to the world's most diverse cuisines."

While living in Klaipėda, Sage loved to spend her free time by the sea, in nature, with her friends in the café "Kavos Architektai" or in the dormitory kitchen, cooking together, even when she was no longer living in the dormitory. Sage also joined the university's women's football team, which played in the Klaipėda regional football league. As a freshman, she was awarded as the league's top scorer. 

Different perspectives

Sage is certain that studying at LCC will be useful to her for the rest of her life, for her career, and for further professional experience. Having lived and studied in Klaipėda in such a unique environment, she feels that she has grown up in a social sense and that she has greatly broadened her education horizons.

"Instead of traveling the world in search of such experiences, at LCC the world came to me."

In discussions during classes, and after lectures with her classmates on a wide range of issues, she received multiple perspectives. LCC brings together people from different cultures, with very different life and professional experiences, and different value systems, so that by discussing and communicating, they could look at every subject from many different points of view, which is a huge advantage.

"Taking the time to listen, to show that you respect other cultures is very important."

She also gave an example of how she met a Ukrainian couple while traveling and quickly “broke the ice” by speaking in their native language. It was at LCC that she learned Ukrainian phrases and words.

Traineeship at the Employment Service

Sage spent one semester in a traineeship at the Klaipėda Employment Service. She taught English to adults who were looking for a job or wanted to retrain. To her surprise, she really enjoyed teaching. She even listed teaching as one of her potential future fields.

"I loved it! Up until then, I said all my life that I would never teach. My parents taught, but I said I wouldn't. But I had no other option but to try - work experience is compulsory." 

Sage also added that among all the other good things that this practice has brought her, she has rediscovered her mother tongue. "I realized that English speakers don't know the rules of English. They just know the language, so they don't look for specific rules."  

When people at the Employment Service asked her "Why?", she realized that she had never been asked such questions before, so she had to turn her head, be inventive, and look at her knowledge of her native English not as a given, but in many different ways.

Summer in Peru

We also asked Sage how she ended up in Peru for the summer. At the age of 16, she took part in a learning exchange project. In Peru, summer is parts of the school year, while the US students are on vacation, so it was a chance to fit everything in and not miss classes at her own school.

She spent several months studying in a small Peruvian town on the edge of the Amazon rainforest. Her impressions, in a nutshell, include motorbikes, lots of monkeys, a tropical climate, teachers who are more strict than those at school in the US, and students who are more stressed about results. Incidentally, she had studied Spanish at her school, so she felt no language barrier in Peru.   

Plan for the future

Now that Sage has graduated from LCC International University, she is looking forward to her Master's degree in Israel, where she will study the Bible for two years, but for now, she is working. 

"I chose to study English at LCC because I love writing. I like to write historical fiction. At LCC, I discovered that I love teaching. I want to write after my MA, but I also see myself as an English teacher. I'm fascinated by the Middle East, but I don't yet know where that will lead me." 

Sage is confident that the academic foundation she has received at LCC, her broad-spectrum education, and her knowledge of English will open a wide range of opportunities. 

Sage also shared advice for those who are currently choosing where and what to study.

"Teachers are here for you. They care. At the beginning of the school year, they try to remember all the students' names in a few days. That alone shows that every student here is noticed and valued. The efforts of LCC faculty ensure that students can and want to take as much as possible from their studies. While the daily respectful and warm treatment of each student shows what a special place LCC is."

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