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Via the Summer Academy of the Lithuanian Language and Culture, ” the world comes to Klaipėda, and Lithuania goes out to the world” (Darren van Rawensvaay, participant of the courses of Lithuanian at Klaipėda University)

The 17th Summer Academy of the Lithuanian Language and Culture, which ended on August 8, was special for its foreign attenders: it took place against the background of the Centennial of the Restored State of Lithuania and therefore all its activities were accompanied by festive spirit. The organisers of the Academy– the staff of the Centre for Languages and Social Education of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (CLSE) in cooperation with the Department of the Baltic Philology –  introduced a number of innovations. And that was not only because of the centennial: the fact that every year we have about one third of the previous Academy participants coming back makes us improve, create, search for and offer new things. In general, foreigners can choose between such summer courses organised by five Lithuanian universities.

This year, the Academy of KU received a record number of participants: almost 70 people coming from 24 countries, aged from 17 to 67. They learnt in five groups at different levels, from A1 to C2, and were taught by 9 teachers of Lithuanian, assisted by an auxiliary. The activities of the Academy were administered by the CLSE.

Two thirds of the Academy participants came in the framework of the programme funded by the Education Exchanges Support Foundation. Those were students, academic staff, and researchers of foreign universities. More than one of them were interested in in-depth studies of the Lithuanian language, and some of them became true friends and partners of Klaipėda University.

Other participants were foreign citizens who came individually or had settled in Lithuania. As always, there were people of Lithuanian descent: two brothers from the USA and a German citizen. Some became interested in the language due to their Lithuanian spouses or partners: those were a Mexican, a Swiss, a Canadian, a Ukrainian, and a Latvian.

For a month, language lessons and events took place in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, people were getting acquainted and involved in intercultural communication. The students of the Academy had their lessons and events both in the hospitable classrooms of the Faculty and in a large garden of the Faculty where the activities were sometimes transferred due to the heat.

The participants of the Academy took part in an intensive cultural programme and toured Lithuania. Everyone acknowledged that both the training and cultural programmes of the Summer Academy were maximally intense. Dean of the Faculty prof. Rimantas Balsys also contributed to the activities of the Academy; KU Rector prof. Artūras Razbadauskas took care of the project and attended the closing ceremony.

Vivat academia, vivant professores, – chanted the Academy participants in the impressive procession of the Sea Festival together with the KU community. The Summer Academy is over, however, the communication between its participants and teachers are continuing and even intensifying via social networks: impressions, photos, and plans are shared. One of the foreigners published her album of photos My Lithuania. “See you in the Winter Academy”; “Next year only to Klaipėda”, promise they.

Jūratė Derukaitė, Head of the Centre for Languages and Social Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Klaipėda University