January 4, 2018

With the help of international students, Lithuanian language and culture is spreading worldwide

The winter session of Lithuanian language and culture courses just started at the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU). Yesterday the university welcomed newly arrived students as well as some familiar faces. Aya Kimura from Japan, who participated in the courses in summer of 2017 and who already has deep knowledge of Lithuanian language and culture (recently, she translated three Lithuanian children’s books to Japanese), shared her plans to open a centre of Baltic studies in Tokyo. Aya believes this centre will help one of the oldest languages in the world spread in Japan and will deepen the cultural ties between two countries.

On the other side of the world, in Latin America, Lithuanian language is widely spoken thanks to big and proactive Lithuanian communities. Argentinians of Lithuanian origin – Meli Luna Pupelis from Buenos Aires and Giuliano Volpe Grilauskas from Berriso – arrived already knowing Lithuanian from their grandparents and classes organised by the community.

“There is a big Lithuanian community in Argentina. The community is friendly and host lot of events, not only language classes. We dance and sing. We follow Lithuanian traditions. There is a big “Immigrant’s Festival” held in October where lot of communities in Argentina, Spanish, Italian, others are taking part. Lithuanian community is also actively taking part – we introduce Lithuanian traditions, Lithuanian food and we dance. Dance is our most important form of cultural introduction”, said Meli and Giuliano.

“It’s an honour to be here”, continued Guiliano. “Our grandparents told us so many about Lithuania and when our plane was landing and I finally saw the Gediminas’ Tower, I started to cry. It is such a great feeling to be here. It is where we came from”.

All students met their lecturers, who introduced the upcoming courses.

Philosopher, poet and lecturer Liutauras Degėsys set up a challenge for students – to remove sociocultural glasses and with the help of language define oneself anew. He also suggested the new concept for the courses calling it “the university of Lithuanian language”.

Lecturer Audra Janužytė said her aim is to reveal language connections with historical, cultural points and she plans interesting themes from architecture to immigration for the language classes.

Guests of the opening event from “Go Vilnius” organisation offered help to students with discovering the city and suggested some great ideas for unique Vilnius experience: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/what-to-see/latest-tips/10-reasons-to-visit-vilnius-this-winter/

So lots of activities are awaiting students at LEU this winter and “the university of Lithuanian language” is going to be an interesting adventure.