In her interview with Study.EU, she explains how she fell in love with the small coast town, how her Bachelor’s degree laid the foundation of her career and how her student experience at LCC stands out from larger universities.
Tell us about your studies in Lithuania:
I studied at LCC International University in Klaipeda in 2005-2008 and 2009-2010, and finished my studies with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management together with a minor in English. It might sound unusual, but LCC offers a great system of liberal arts education, in which in addition to the main specialization one can choose an additional field to take courses from as a “minor”. Since I was interested in business on one side and journalism on the other side, this combination was perfect for me.
Why did you choose to study in Lithuania?
Lithuania was a “black box” for me until I came to LCC. I chose more an opportunity to study in the ‘American-style’ university in English in the middle of Europe. At the same time I realized that I could adapt easily to living in Lithuania as the older generation still knows Russian and the younger generation speaks English, meaning there were almost no language barriers for me. After coming to Klaipeda I felt welcomed by the LCC community during the orientation days and later on. I also fell in love with this city on the Baltic Sea coast with a charming old town, tasty food, and magnificent nature of beaches and forests.
Which experience stands out from your time as a student at LCC?
There were so many great experiences during my four years of study; it is hard to pick one. What I really loved was the diversity of student events organized at LCC. They ranged from Olympic Games – team sports competitions, in which my friends and I represented my native country Ukraine, to amazing Talent Night shows where I participated three times (once we prepared a dance with my roommates, another time I performed with a hip-hop group and once we did a comedy sketch with friends from AISEC student organization). Also I took part in the creative Parade of Stars competitions, where every student group presented the best of the culture of their native country. The fact that LCC is so international makes it a really fun place where one can get to know fellow students from different countries and cultures in a very personal and enriching way.
How did you get along with the locals?
Local students from LCC helped me with advice about where to buy certain things or which restaurants, pubs, or clubs to visit in Klaipeda. I also volunteered in an orphanage and an after-school playgroup, and communication with people who worked there was really good, especially with children, who were really easy to get along with. We had a lot of fun together.
Did you need to speak Lithuanian? If so, how hard was it to learn the language?
LCC offers an Introduction to Lithuanian course for every freshman (student in their first year of studies). This is an amazing opportunity to acquire basic survival skills in Lithuanian – needed for food shopping, getting around the city, asking for help, etc. As Lithuanian belongs to the group of Indo-European languages, it was relatively easy for me to pick up the basics. And then as they say, practice makes perfect.
The education system in Germany is very different from the liberal arts education at LCC. In Hamburg the university ‘takes care’ of a student much less, e.g. I had to find a place to live, to understand how to get around the city, how the university functions, etc. all by myself. Also Hamburg University with around 40,000 students is much bigger than LCC, and hence it is a lot less personal. However I was lucky to be a part of a relatively small and international Master’s program at Hamburg University with 15 German and 15 international students. It provided a possibility for a closer collaboration and exchange among students and between students and faculty.
You went on to work as an auditor at EY Ernst & Young for 3 years and are now a Corporate Investment Manager at medac, a mid-sized German pharmaceutical company. How did your studies at LCC prepare you for your career?
In addition to giving me a good base of knowledge in various business fields like accounting, finance, management, marketing, economics, etc. as well as a fluent command of English, my time at LCC was a ‘trampoline’ in terms of developing my interpersonal and professional skills. It was there that I learnt to work on team projects, to organize and lead a work of a team, to communicate openly and effectively with people from different cultures, developed conflict resolution, analytical, and critical thinking skills. I’ve always been a curious person and LCC taught me how to satisfy my curiosity, to research, acquire knowledge and apply it in a right way. Thanks to inspiring professors at LCC I acquired self-confidence and drive to improve and change things, to start projects that previously seemed impossible, and to aim for high personal and professional goals.
If you had to sum up your experience in Lithuania at LCC International University in one sentence:
It was a life-changing experience.