Lithuanians are one of the ethnic groups in the Baltic region. While Lithuania has a population of about 2 944 459 people, there are at least another million living in other countries, with Lithuanians generally located in the USA, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The native language is Lithuanian, one of two living Baltic languages. An interesting fact about the language is that as far back as the beginning of the 19th century people noticed that Lithuanian was very similar to Sanskrit. Linguists around the world are still fascinated that the Lithuanian language has retained features of this ancient language and it hasn’t really simplified much.
Many Lithuanians are multilingual; two-thirds of the population declare that they are able to speak at least two foreign languages. This exceeds the average of the European Union by several times. According to the data from Eurostat, 66.1 per cent of the population of Lithuania, aged 25 – 64, can speak two or more foreign languages, 31.5 per cent can speak one foreign language, and a mere 2.5 percent of the population cannot speak any foreign languages. The foreign languages people speak the most are English and Russian.
According to data from the 2011 census, 84,2 percent of the population of Lithuania consider themselves to be Lithuanians, 6.6 percent are Polish, 5.8 percent are Russians, 1.2 percent are Belarusians and 1.1 percent represent other nations. In terms of religion, most Lithuanians are Roman Catholic.
‘Labas’ is what Lithuanians say when they greet someone. You could probably manage to get by in this country by knowing only this word as many Lithuanians can speak other languages. However, it would be even friendlier both to greet a person and ask ‘Kaip laikaisi?’ (‘How are you?’). Approximately three million people speak Lithuanian as their mother tongue, including communities living in Belarus, Poland, and those who have emigrated to the USA, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Australia, Germany, Latvia and other countries. Interestingly, old Lithuanian, Sanskrit and Hindi languages have many related and closely linked words. Lithuanian is regarded as one of the most conservative living Indo-European languages that have retained most of the features of the Proto-Indo-European language.
Lithuanian language courses for foreigners and speakers of other languages.
It is always useful to take a course when you need help in learning a new language or if you are looking for opportunities to practice spoken Lithuanian. Various courses are organised annually by universities, the details of which are shown below. They are intended for foreigners who want to learn the Lithuanian language and for speakers of other languages who live in the country and want to improve their speaking skills.
Each study programme is evaluated according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), with each year of study being awarded 60 ECTS credits.
Non-university studies are undergraduate studies and they come under what we call the first cycle.
University degrees are offered in three cycles: the first cycle is undergraduate (Bachelor), the second cycle is graduate (Master, and/or specialised professional studies), and the third one is postgraduate (Doctoral; residency; postgraduate in the Arts).
During the first cycle, you can choose to study for a Bachelor’s degree and/or a professional qualification for which you will need to have obtained 180 – 240 ECTS. When you successfully complete the course, with or without a professional qualification you receive a Bachelor’s Diploma. If you only want to study for the professional qualification, then you will receive a Higher Educational Diploma.
Bachelor degrees and professional qualifications are offered at universities; professional qualifications, but not degrees, can be taken at colleges.
If you are at the second cycle stage (or aim to be there) and you want to study for a Master’s degree and/or a specialised professional qualification one of the options open to you is the Integrated study programmes. These programmes combine university studies of the first and second cycles. The successful graduates are awarded a Master’s Diploma which testifies to their Master’s degree status. You can also attain a professional qualification. If you are studying for the Master’s Diploma (which is only offered at universities) you have to obtain 90 – 120 ECTS credits.
If you study for the professional qualification at this level you will be awarded a Higher Education Diploma. The purpose of the specialised professional studies at this level is to acquire a qualification in a specific field.
In the third cycle, students study for a postgraduate qualification. This could be for a Doctorate, a Residency (for example, those studying medicine or veterinary science) or a postgraduate qualification in the Arts. Postgraduate studies are offered by a university or a university and science institution collectively. The duration of the different postgraduate studies is determined by the Government.
Some Higher Education institutions organise summer courses in addition to regular courses. These courses, offering mostly academic content, usually last for a couple of weeks in the summer. They are often both formal and informal. In some Higher Education institutions it is possible to gain ECTS credits and scholarships for summer courses (i.e. they are included in the studies).
“Knowledge is priceless; however, studies have to be paid for”.
At Higher Education institutions in Lithuania, tuition fees differ from institution to institution, depending on the chosen programme and the cycle. Educational institutions announce their tuition fees annually.
On average, the cost of programmes at Higher Education institutions is approximately between 1300€ – 5500€ per year. At the top end of the price scale in colleges is a Bachelor of Arts; the tuition fees for musical studies could be around 4300€ per year. At the other end of the price scale are Humanities and Social Science studies, which cost around 1300€ per year.
At universities, the highest tuition fees, coming in at 8500€ per year, are for the training of aircraft pilots. The lowest fees are once again for Humanities and Social Science studies at 1300€ per year. Tuition fees for the second and third stages are different. For example, state funding for the full-time graduate (Master) studies starts from 2200€ per study year; for postgraduate studies (Doctoral) it is 5500€ per study year.
These fees apply to you if you are a Lithuanian or EU citizen. If you come from other countries different tuition fees may apply. You can find more detailed information on tuition fees in the section: Characterisation of study programmes.
Students at Higher Education institutions in Lithuania may be awarded scholarships and may also participate in international exchange programmes (e.g. Erasmus). Those who participate in students’ exchange programmes do not have to pay any extra tuition fees for the exchange programme. Find out more in the section: Scholarships.
EU programmes, such as Erasmus (Higher Education) and Comenius (intended for future teachers).
- Students’ organisations such as AIESEC (http://www.aiesec.lt/en), among others.
- It’s quite common to directly approach companies and ask for opportunities for un-paid work experience. This will greatly improve your CV and also give you practical knowledge, which will come in handy when you are considered for a permanent position.