During Lithuanian language and culture summer course, foreigners become one large family
On July 17 – August 15 this year, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) hosted the Lithuanian Language and Culture Summer Course. Continuing to grow, this year, the course took place in two cities and online. Kaunas welcomed 17 students, 22 arrived at Vilnius Education Academy and 117 students were studying online. VMU also welcomed 8 teachers from foreign Lithuanian schools, while 23 of them attended the lessons online, so we have achieved the impressive total of 187 students!
It is also worth mentioning that the contact mode of the course is back after the pandemic-forced 1 year hiatus, and with all necessary security measures applied, as well as adhering to all the regulations, they have been conducted in a safe manner for all the students, teachers and organisers involved.
Those who love Lithuanian language and culture have become part of our courses because of a variety of different reasons: there were students from the centres of Baltic studies, students funded by the Education Exchange Support Foundation, foreigners of Lithuanian descent, persons interested in Lithuania for professional and academic purposes, from school-going students to continually improving seniors. We can safely say that during this course, all kinds of acquaintances and friendships are born, and it is not only students who learn new and interesting things, but teachers and organizers as well. Many participants return to the courses for the second time or more and deepen their knowledge of Lithuanian language.
A lot of effort is made to make everyone feel part of a large community of Lithuanian language and culture lovers – the students from Vilnius and Kaunas have visited Nida, Aukštadvaris, Anykščiai, while online students participated in interactive seminars, danced, engaged in handcrafts, cooked food and formed clubs, where they discussed various aspects of Lithuanian culture with each other and with experts.
As always, the courses surprise with the diversity of participants – the myth that the Lithuanian language is interesting only for Lithuanians themselves, has been destroyed long time ago – the courses are joined by participants from all over the world: from our neighbors from Latvia, Estonia and Poland to other European countries like Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Armenia as well as from distant countries of the world – Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Uruguay, Canada, USA – in total over 30 countries of the world!
“By learning Lithuanian language, students become one big family. This year, foreigners wanted to join the clubs of literature, film, poetry, Vilnius culture, and Kaunas architecture, where they discussed and prepared interesting and unique projects. At the end of the course, students gain the title of a Lithuanian language ambassador. I think knowing the language is about having a soul. To know a second language is to have another soul. The more languages, the more souls, and the more tolerance, openness, patience, and strength. We create our identity through languages and culture,” says Vilma Leonavičienė, the organizer of the courses and the head of Lithuanian Studies and International Programs in VMU Education Academy.
However, there is no time to rest – preparations for the winter courses of the Lithuanian language and culture will start soon – a new program and new challenges await. Recent years have taught us to be prepared for any possible scenario, from welcoming guests live to moving activities to a virtual space. We are ready for everything so that our new students, who meet twice a year, can learn everything from their first “Labas” to the difficult participle constructions.
Registration to Lithuanian Language and Culture winter course opens soon at bsu.vdu.lt!