Written by David
BSc (Hons) Games Software Engineering
First time in a foreign country
Studying in a foreign country means living there continuously, without the comfort of family or friends you may have known for years (if not decades, if you’re an older student!) Of course, it might be stressful or uncomfortable at the beginning, but you’re only just getting used to your new environment. Here I want to share my experiences and tell you more about what life is like for a Lithuanian in the United Kingdom, or more specifically Bournemouth.
Just as the title says…
As both Lithuania and the United Kingdom are in the European Union (at least, at the time of writing this blog) and located in the same continent, the cultural differences are not that huge. On very fundamental things, like the culture, people, mindset, etc., Britain and Lithuania have no huge differences for me. However, there is one exception that, in Bournemouth, people seem to be far more welcoming to foreigners, and are generally a little bit friendlier and more tolerant. Probably the biggest difference here is, obviously, the language. In Lithuania, we are taught English in schools, but it is different from the actual English spoken in Bournemouth, especially the local accent.
Regarding Lithuanian people in Bournemouth, the city is diverse, but there are very few Lithuanians in Bournemouth. From my experience, there is just one Lithuanian person in my entire group (more than 60-80 people.)
Unlike in some bigger cities and towns, there are no shops run for the Lithuanian minority population (as opposed to various Polish shops), but a lot of Lithuanian-produced goods are found in so-called “Eastern European Shops”. One of them (which I visit quite often) is called Skazka. You have to keep in mind that in most cases, these shops are more expensive than local British supermarkets, so even if you miss your home country a lot, it won’t be the best idea to shop there often. It’s best to save it for special occasions. Also, when you visit these kinds of shops, try to buy types of products from your home country that are not available in British shops. Most British equivalent products taste and feel the same, based on my personal experiences.
As a general rule of thumb, a lot of the countries in Europe are similar, and Britain seems to be quite similar to Lithuania in my experience. However, I still have a lot of exploring to do in terms of the culture and I would say that my time here hasn’t been disappointing at all. Not only has being here improved my English language skills, but it also gave me the opportunity to look at the world from a different cultural perspective. This is something that everyone should try doing at least once in their lifetime…