Vilnius, Lithuania: Làbadienà from the city of balloons! (by Cora)

Làbadienà, Hello everyone,

My name is Cora, I’m 20 years old and I study Media- & Communication Design in Stuttgart. For my semester abroad, I’m currently studying at the Vilnius college of Design in Lithuania. I decided to come here because I thought that studying at a pure Design college could be a great experience for an upcoming designer. Also, I felt very excited about discovering an unknown country, that I never really heard something about before. I bet, most of you don’t know anything about this country or the Baltics in general by now too ;). I hope I can change that a bit and gain your attention for this very young and interesting region of Europe.

Before I arrived in Vilnius, I travelled through all three Baltic States in one week, to get a short impression about them.

On the 20th of August, my road trip started from Latvia’s capital Riga with a rented car. I went all the way up through Latvia’s beautiful countryside to Estonia’s most beautiful places and of cause to its fairytale like capital city Tallinn. From there I went to Estonia’s beautiful western islands and afterwards all the way down again passing Estonia’s and Latvia’s west coasts on my way to Lithuania. There I visited the Curonian spit, Kaunas, shortly Vilnius and the hill of crosses before I went back to Riga to return the rented car. After I finished my road trip on the 29th of August, I took a travel bus from Riga back to Vilnius, the city I now study and live in.

If you’re planning to study here for your upcoming semester abroad, I can definitely recommend doing a short trip through the Baltics, as they offer so many beautiful cities, places and a lot of breathtaking nature. If you would love to have a more detailed description of my road trip or recommendations, you can contact me at any time or take a look at my German travel blog, where I write about my experiences in more detail. :)

I am living in Vilnius for almost two months now and already had a lot of great experiences but also some, that taught me, how spoiled we are in Germany.

City Panorama of Vilnius from the hill of the three crosses

 

About Lithuania and Vilnius:

Vilnius – the city of balloons

Lithuania is a very interesting and young country, that became independent from the Soviet Union just 27 years ago. It declared its independency from Poland in 1918 but after World War II, they belonged to the Soviet parts of the world until they finally got back their independency in 1990. Everywhere in Lithuania, on the countryside or in the cities, you still can see the remains of the SU time. On the countryside, you see a lot of destroyed houses. In the cities, you see many grey and old prefabricated buildings and a lot of people living in poverty on the streets. Since Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004, they are building up their country, renovate most of the buildings and improve their streets. The city is changing every day, what makes it even more interesting to live here.

Our neighborhood with its old SU style buildings

When I came to Vilnius I was a bit shocked at first because the region, I live in with my flat mates, represents the old style of soviet buildings perfectly. By now, I think that these historical grey and kind of wracked buildings give the city an extra charm. The center and the old town of the city are very beautiful and highly recommended to visit, if you’re planning to come here one day.

The thing that amazes me the most about Vilnius is, that there are really a lot of trees in the city, that they didn’t plant there extra but built the houses around the trees. You could say, the whole city raised in a big forest without having the trees cut down. Also, the Lithuanian food is really good and it is really similar to our traditional German kitchen. It contains a lot of fat because of the cold winters here but that makes it even more delicious. ;)

One bad thing about Lithuania is, that in the last weeks, the temperature was constantly under 10 degrees already went under 0. Besides it rains a lot here in “autumn” … but at least, the bad weather here doesn’t disturb us from studying. Another thing, that we have to deal with is the central heating in Vilnius… yes you heard right: in Vilnius, most of the heating is controlled by the government. They decide, when it turns on and off and how strong the heating is. They started it in the beginning of October but on a very low level and increase the heating slowly. You can imagine, that we froze here a lot in the last days because a constant temperature of 15 degrees in our flat was extremely uncomfortable. The only thing I can recommend that helps, is an adjustable fan heater, to keep yourself warm. By now, we feel good in our home here and can’t wait for the first snow, which is obviously not far away. ;)

 

About college and life:

Me and three other media design students from the Macromedia are studying at the Vilnius college of Design (VDK), the No. 1 college in Lithuania. As you already could imagine from the name, only Media and Communication Design Students from Macromedia can visit this college. Even if you’re not a Media Design student, the experiences we had might still be interesting for you, as they are not always only about design, but the student life abroad in general ;)
The college itself is great and the classes we have here are a lot of fun. During this week are the midterm reviews, what means, that we have to present the progress of our projects, that we’ve been working on so far, to the whole university.

Besides University we hang around with the Erasmus students, who came from all over Europe to study in Vilnius and with who we have a lot of classes together at the VDK. The group consists of Portuguese, Spanish, French, Belgium, Dutch, Latvian and us German People. We really enjoy this diverse mixture, because you learn a lot about the different cultures and languages and all of them are really nice and communicative. Besides university, we are doing a lot of things together. We’re going out to the different bars and clubs of the city on the weekends, make sing star parties, plan daily trips or just hang around at somebody’s’ house and have a good time. For Halloween, we are planning to prepare some pumpkins and have a delicious big meal together afterwards. :)

I hope, I could give you an interesting first impression of Vilnius, Lithuania, the Design College and the life here.

If there is anything, you want to know more about or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. ;)

Viso gero! See you soon!

Cora :)