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From Lithuania to Dubrovnik: Simona and Toma, Our Exchange Students!

Meet Simona Lukošaityte and Toma Švelnaite, two exchange students who came to Dubrovnik from Lithuania to study in exchange on our Communicology Department.

They’ll be here up till June. Toma comes from Panevėžys, and Simona from Tauragė, but they are connected in Vilnis, studying together at Gediminas Technical University.

It wasn’t easy to adapt to huge cultural differences, but they managed to do it!

Simona and Toma from Lithuania (9)

‘People of Lithuania are much more closed. it wasn’t easy to accept your ‘polako’ way of life. (polako means ‘easy’). ‘Polako’ and ‘bijela kava’ (white coffee) were the first words we learned here’, says Simona laughing out loud, stating that ‘polako’ entered their lives to. And now both of them do things with ‘polako style’.

Among every Erasmus city in the world, why Dubrovnik, why not some bigger European city?

‘One friend recommended Croatia, so I started to surf about Dubrovnik. I was thrilled with pictures. Just like tourists, I fell in love with your sea, city walls and nature, and I never regretted coming here’, says Toma, and Simona adds: ‘I was advised by Erasmus counselor. My wish was Portugal, but he said he could ‘see Dubrovnik in my eyes’, which was funny at the moment, but later it turned out to be true! Dubrovnik really was the best choice’.

Among things they still don’t understand is lack of ‘coffee to go’. They are used to grab a coffee and continue working. It is the complete opposite of what we do here – drinking coffee even for couple of hours.

Simona and Toma from Lithuania (12)

‘Despite that, your coffee is not that good, girls say laughing together. We didn’t try Lithuanian coffee yet, so we can’t compare…

Dubrovnik is ‘summerish’ city – walks, beaches, cocktails, sun, sun sun… But the girls came here during the winter and cold, rainy days. Not so good ‘first impression’, we thought.

‘It was raining and completely different from what we saw from photos. But we had fun even on days like those! ESN people helped us a lot, they introduced the city, coffee bars, bakeries, local way of life… To us. People of Dubrovnik are genuinely very opened an joyful. We have that ‘small town’ feeling, and we love that’, Toma says, while Simona adds that from February, with the empty streets and no visitors, Dubrovnik turned to be a very crowded place to be, so two of them met both ‘sides of the coin’.

Simona and Toma from Lithuania (14)

They spend a lot of time learning about our culture – going of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra concerts, museums… Also, they shared with us some impressions about University of Dubrovnik, their host. Girls are impressed with our English language knowledge in general, especially on University, and also with our brand new Campus building. They absolutely love our local student radio station – UNIDU, and engagement of professors and students in general.
At the end of our chatting, two girls shared something very interesting. things they would like to bring back home from Dubrovnik. Toma and Simona are, as seems to be, nature lovers!

Simona and Toma from Lithuania (10)

Toma is thrilled with pitospora and its smell, saying she would carry one whole tree to Lithuania. ‘Pitospora’ is ‘Pittosporum tobira‘, lovely tree that grows all around Dubrovnik. Simona loves the smell of lemon an lavender, typical Mediterranean plants.

Girls added some plans for the future. Surely they’ll be back to Lithuania to finish school and find their dream job. Simona loves fashion and photography, and Toma says she has a choice so wide she can’t decide now! What about return to Dubrovnik? Although girls see themselves in some bigger cities, the answer is: ‘Never say never!’