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When I first came to Bournemouth University, I wasn’t expecting to meet many fellow Lithuanians. To my surprise, I met 9 in the very first week! Later I realised that there are many more of us at the university and a whole Lithuanian community in Bournemouth, which really made me feel like home is not that far away.

Although making friends from all over the world is one of the best things about studying at BU, it is very comforting to know that it is easy to find people from my neck of the woods and so refreshing to be able to speak my own language with someone here every now and again. The Baltic Society at BU is a great place to meet other Lithuanians, Latvians or Estonians and get together to celebrate national holidays, like Easter, among other activities. And of course we proudly wear the tricolour here during basketball championships!

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Supporting Lithuania in EuroBasket 2013 at The Litten Tree pub

 

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Celebrating Easter with traditional Easter eggs dyed with onion peel

However, for me, the biggest culture shock was food and I really missed traditional Lithuanian dishes when I first came to Bournemouth. Luckily, there is a great Polish restaurant and food store in Lansdowne and a few more Eastern European shops dotted around the town, including one in Winton. There you can find traditional rye bread, kefyr, varškė and other goodies you can use to make your own Lithuanian dishes. The supermarket Asda also has a Polish section, meaning you don’t need to go far for a taste of home.

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Polish food store

 

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Homemade traditional cold beetroot soup šaltibarščiai

The Lithuanians of Bournemouth (including students, families and workers) also have their own Facebook page, where you can find information about social events around town, offers for services such as parcel deliveries to and from Lithuania or help with moving, hairdressers and beautitians or traditional Lithuanian cooking and bakeries.

Living in Bournemouth and studying at BU has given me more opportunities to stay in touch with my culture than I could have imagined. Being surrounded by little reminders of home makes living here really comfortable.

By Ieva Severinaite