Adjustment to a New Culture
Living in a new culture can be personally rewarding and provides a rare opportunity to know another society from within. But it can also be frustrating and involves certain responsibilities. The most obvious one is to adapt to the customs and expectations of the host country.
People usually experience many emotions while adapting to a foreign culture. The difficulties that you could experience can be a result of what is termed ‘culture shock’. Culture shock is inevitable in one form or another. But adjusting to a foreign culture and living through difficult times of change can be a satisfying experience, one worth the occasional discomfort and extra effort.
Phases of Cultural Adjustment
Preliminary stage: This phase includes awareness of the host culture, preparation for the journey, farewell activities.
Initial euphoria: The initial euphoria phase begins with the arrival in the new country and ends when this excitement wears off.
Irritability: During the irritability phase you will be acclimating to your setting. This can produce frustration because of the difficulties in coping with the elementary aspects of everyday life when things still appear so foreign to you. Your focus will likely turn to the differences between Lithuanian culture and your home, and these differences can be troubling. Sometimes insignificant difficulties can seem like major problems, but remember, you are going abroad to get to know the host country, its people, culture, and language.
Gradual adjustment: When you become more used to the new culture, you will slip into the gradual adjustment stage. You will begin to orient yourself. The culture will become familiar to you.
Adaptation: Eventually you will develop the ability to function in the new culture. Your sense of “foreignness” diminishes significantly. You will be more comfortable with Lithuanian culture.
Re-entry phase: The re-entry phase occurs when you return to your homeland. You will be excited about sharing your experiences, and you will realize that you have changed.
Tips to Ease Cultural Adjustment
- Do not expect to find things as you have them at home . . . for you have left your home to find things different.
- Read as much as you can about the culture, history, social customs, religions before your departure.
- Talk to other students who have gone to Lithuania to learn what problems you may encounter.
- Do not take anything too seriously . . . for an open mind is the beginning of a fine international experience.
- Ask for help when you need it . . . those who have gone before you have good advice to share.
- Adjusting to a new culture does not mean that you have to change your own values, but it is important to respect those of other people.
- When you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, allow yourself to be curious about the way things are perceived and done in this new environment.
- A Lithuanian friend (or another international student who has been in Lithuania for several years) can be a great consultant on cultural expectations.
- Try to find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your routine. Being physically active can help reduce your stress level.
- It is natural to feel anxious or frustrated sometimes. The key is to remind yourself that these feelings are normal and are likely to be situational and temporary.
- Remember: when life at the university gets tough, you don’t have to be alone. Don’t hesitate to contact your mentor, your study coordinator or the psychologist for international students Jevgenij at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 868631579.
What is the Purpose of Mentor Programme?
The purpose of the Mentor programme is to facilitate adaptation of the first-year students at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) through the support of experienced students who serve as mentors.
What is a Mentor?
Each group of first-year students gets two or three mentors. A mentor is an older student who is volunteering to help their assigned group of students by answering their questions. The mentors are there so that mentees could turn to them when they need help – when they don’t know how to get to a particular class, want to receive tips on how to prepare for a certain exam, or are simply curious where to have a good lunch in Kaunas.
When and How Mentors Are Communicating With Mentees?
Mentors set up group meetings. During the first week of September mentors and mentees exchange contact information and mentors show campus to the first-year students. Mentees are able to ask mentors questions and listen to their advice on the university life. Mentors meet theirs groups twice in September, once per month in October, November, December, January and February and then they will continue keeping in regular contact with their mentees via e-mail, SMS, Facebook, Skype and etc. If a mentee wants to meet in person and mentors are available, they can also do that.
Do Mentors Have to be Always Able to Help?
Mentors are also students. If they are unable to help or are studying for an important exam, mentee can always come to the international office and ask any questions he might have. Also, if mentors don’t have sufficient knowledge to answer mentee’s questions, they will most likely direct them to the international office, too.
Would You Like to Be a Mentor?
If you want to become a mentor you can apply for this programme from the end of April. Mentors are chosen by motivational letter and by individual talk. Selected candidates are invited to participate in the mentor programme courses with a formal letter. All lectures in the mentor programme courses have to be attended. Successfully finished courses allow a student to become a mentor. In June mentors get certificate about participation in the mentor programme signed by the Dean of International Relations and Study Centre.
The coordinator of the mentor programme is Jevgenij Razgulin. Do not hesitate to write at email@example.com
Peer tutoring is an opportunity to connect with a student who has previously done well in some courses. Most tutoring is one-on-one, but occasionally tutors can also work with small groups of students.
International students often seek peer tutors in order to:
Solve problems arising during the study process
Better understand the topic taught
Prepare for an exam
Build confidence in understanding course materials
Learn in a supportive environment with a fellow student
Peer tutors receive training, understand challenges and want to help the other students to learn what they know. A peer tutor may be available to any international student who wants to get help with one or another course. It is up to the student and the tutor to make contact and set a time for tutoring. Students can meet with a tutor in a convenient public place such as a library or a dorm common area. Peer tutoring is free. After meeting the tutor should update the short online journal of tutoring session management.
Would You Like to Become a Tutor?
If you want to become a tutor you have to submit an online application at the end of April. Successful applicants are invited for the interview. Selected candidates are invited to participate in the peer tutoring programme courses. Completed courses allow a student to become a tutor. On graduation, tutors get a certificate about participation in the tutor programme signed by the LSMU Rector.
Tutoring is an excellent opportunity to build communication and teaching skills, keep up knowledge of completed coursework and help others. It can also help build resume for future jobs. The best tutors will be awarded exceptional training programmes by the International Relations and Study Centre.
If you have any questions regarding peer tutoring please write an e-mail to programme coordinator Jevgenij firstname.lastname@example.org or call him +37068631579.
Scholarships, Grants and Loans
There are several scholarship schemes at LSMU available for all University students. Scholarships are awarded on a competition basis by combining academic performance and special criteria established for each scholarship.
A monthly scholarship equals 1.5 amount of the BSB – Basic Social Benefit (statistical indicator) in Lithuania. Awarded to best students based on their academic performance (study results) or best admission rate in case of first-year students. The pool allocated for incentive scholarships is proportionally distributed to faculties based on the number of studying students. More information can be found at LSMU Regulations of Awarding Incentive Scholarships.
Onetime incentive scholarship
Awarded to encourage successful students for being active in student, social, organizational, scientific, sports activities and high results achieved representing the University. The application shall be submitted to LSMU SA by the 10th day of the current month. The scholarship is up to 2 Basic Social Benefits and can be awarded no more than twice per semester.
In the event of the birth of a child, the death of a family member, or in the event of a natural disaster, the Incentive scholarship equal to 2 BSB can be awarded once per semester.
Application for a scholarship shall include documents confirming the student’s active participation at the University, child’s birth certificate, death certificate, etc.
Onetime incentive scholarship for the group monitor
The application shall be submitted to LSMU SA by the 10th day of the current month. Onetime scholarship granted to group and course monitors is up to ¾ of BSB. It can be awarded once per semester.
Application for a scholarship shall include the protocol of the election of the monitor of the group or course, which is completed every academic year or after the monitor changes during studies.
CHANCEN eG Income Share Agreement program
LSMU cooperates with CHANCEN eG, a social enterprise providing educational funding. The enterprise assists German, Swiss and Austrian citizens with tuition fees. CHANCEN eG Income Share Agreement program may be one of options for student self-funding. Follow the link for further information.
The nominal scholarship is a one-time or multiplex benefit established by the Lithuanian or foreign private or legal bodies and awarded to students for active student performance and other academic achievements in the defined field. Amount varies according to scholarship. Nominal scholarships are regulated by LSMU Regulations of Awarding Incentive Scholarships.
Nominal scholarships are awarded starting with the third semester of studies, as well as to the postgraduate students and residents. Competition is based on the academic criteria and criteria established by the founder. Nominal scholarships cannot be awarded to students, who have already been granted a scholarship from other sponsorship funds in the same academic year or incentive scholarships and onetime incentive scholarships.
Recent years nominal scholarships (subject to change over the time):
- International Excellence Scholarship (for students who are actively involved and have achieved great results in the fields of increasing the internationality of LSMU, creating a multicultural environment, as well as growing the awareness of LSMU abroad);
- Lithuanian Science Support Dr. Juozas and Birutė Skrinskai Fund (for students of the Faculty of Medicine);
- Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis Scholarship (for the student of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Public Health);
- Juozas Olekas Scholarship (for a student of the Faculty of Medicine);
- JSC “Gintarinė vaistinė” Scholarship (for the 4th and 5th-year students of the Faculty of Pharmacy)
- JSC “MED GRUPĖ” Scholarship (for a student of the Odontology programme at the Faculty of Odontology)
- Veterinary Pharmacy Association Scholarship (for a student of the Veterinary Medicine study programme at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine).
Lithuanian State scholarships for full-time Master’s degree or integrated studies
Call for applications for full-time master’s degree or integrated studies at Lithuanian higher education institutions is now OPEN!
Education Exchanges Support Foundation is opening a Call for applications for 50 Lithuanian state scholarships for full-time Master’s degree or integrated studies (a part which is equal to Master’s degree studies) at Lithuanian higher education institutions for the year 2022. Funding under the Call will be provided to the citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Moldova, Ukraine and foreigners of Lithuanian origin from non-EU and EFTA countries:
• A monthly scholarship and a grant covering the study cost is offered to citizens of:
Ukraine (30 grants); Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, foreign citizens of Lithuanian origin, Moldova, (15 grants altogether);
• A monthly scholarship is offered to citizens of China, Israel, Japan, South Korea (5 grants altogether).
A monthly scholarship is equal to 420 euros. The grant covering the study cost is limited to and cannot be higher than the national standard study cost.
Official website for Lithuanian State scholarships for full-time studies: https://studyin.lt/scholarships/full-time-master-degree-studies/
Special Learning Needs
Assistance to students with special learning needs (disability or learning disability)
Lithuanian University of Health Sciences strives to ensure an open and friendly study environment for all students with special learning needs. The goal of the University is to create conditions in which students can study and feel as a part of the University community. In order to achieve the above goals, the focus is on the individual needs of the student, depending on the nature of the student’s health disorder and his/her capabilities.
WHO ARE STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL LEARNING NEEDS?
Students with special learning needs are students who have:
(a) a disability: developmental, sensory, physical or other congenital or acquired disorders;
(b) learning, behavioral, emotional, speech and speaking disorders.
Special learning needs shall be documented by a specialist.
COORDINATING COMMISSION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
The Coordinating Commission for Students with Disabilities coordinates the study process of students with special learning needs. If questions about assistance in the study process arise, students with special learning needs should contact a member of the Commission representing the faculty where the student studies. President of the Commission – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rūta Butkevičienė.
Composition of the LSMU Coordinating Commission for Students with Disability:
Faculty of Public Health
Prof. Albina Aniulienė
Prof. Arūnas Vasiliauskas
Assoc. Prof. Jurgita Dailidavičienė
Assoc. Prof. Jūratė Samėnienė
Assoc. Prof. Sigitas Mingaila
Dr. Daiva Kriukelytė
Dr. Tomas Morkevičius
ACCESSIBILITY OF THE STUDY PROCESS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL LEARNING NEEDS
The Study Regulation of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences stipulates that students may report for work in alternative ways if they have a disability due to which they cannot report in accordance with the established procedure, and the alternative report method ensures that study results are achieved.
LSMU Rector’s Order No. 2021-V-0299 of 26 May 2021 approved the Procedure for Submitting Documents and Reporting by LSMU Students with Special Learning Needs in Alternative Ways. Under this Procedure, students with special learning needs, depending on the nature of the special need, may be able to report about the assessments provided in the module (subject) in alternative ways, adapting the study environment to individual needs, presentation of material, font size of assessment tasks, extending the time of the report, etc.
WHAT DO I NEED TO OBTAIN AN ALTERNATIVE REPORT AUTHORIZATION?
Students shall submit an electronic application form for an alternative report method within seven calendar days from the beginning of the academic year, as well as documents confirming special learning needs to the Dean’s Office where they study. Residents shall submit such documents to the Center for Postgraduate Studies, doctoral students to the Research Center. Students studying in a foreign language shall submit not only the documents, but also a translation of these documents into English by a professional translator if the documents are not submitted in Lithuanian and English. Student data and submitted documents are confidential. Applications submitted by students shall be examined by responsible persons appointed by the Dean’s Office, who assess the suitability of the documents for allowing an alternative method of report to the student. These staff may invite the student for an interview to clarify the information or discuss an alternative report method. The final decision allowing an alternative report method is made by the Dean of the faculty. A student with special learning needs shall inform the subject teacher about the alternative assessment methods for him/her at the beginning of the subject studies but not later than five working days before the first assessment.
ALTERNATIVE REPORT METHODS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL LEARNING NEEDS
Each person’s special learning needs are individual, so individual alternative assessment methods are applied in each case. Alternative assessment methods, which are of a recommendatory nature and can be selected according to the emerging needs of a particular student, are presented in Appendix 1 to the Procedure for Submission of Documents and Assessment by Alternative Methods for LSMU Students with Special Educational Needs.
ERASMUS+ FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL LEARNING NEEDS
LSMU students with special needs participating in Erasmus+ mobility activities can receive additional financial support. Support may be granted for:
● additional costs for means and/or services, depending on the nature of the illness and/or disability. The need for these costs shall be substantiated by medical records, i.e., the need for means and or services for which additional support is requested shall be confirmed by an extract from medical documents issued by a doctor;
● living and travel expenses of the accompanying person, if justified.
More information (in Lithuanian).
For detailed information, please contact:
Erasmus+ studies: Eglė Vizbaraitė, email@example.com
Erasmus+ practice: Brigita Vinikaitytė, firstname.lastname@example.org
ADAPTATION OF BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE DISABLED
The accessibility of the physical environment for the disabled is improving every year at the University. Many LSMU buildings are suitable for the disabled. New buildings are built in accordance with the principle of universal design, and those renovated are adapted for the disabled by installing elevators, ramps, stair climbers, emergency calls, etc. LSMU used the project funds of the EU Structural Funds Investment Operational Program for 2014–2020 not only to ensure the accessibility of education for students with special needs but also to improve the study conditions and quality for students with disabilities. Equipment and furniture are purchased for the installation of specialized workplaces for students with disabilities; the infrastructure is adapted. The Bellman Audio Domino Pro system purchased for the LSMU library is intended for people with hearing impairments. The University purchased software JAWS 14 for Windows and WinTalkerVoice1.6 JAWS 14 for Windows, which analyzes information on the screen and passes it to a speech synthesizer that converts text to audio. The library at the Veterinary Academy is adapted and has equipment for students with special needs: specialized desks, video magnifier Freedom Scientific Topaz XL HD, audio equipment Freedom Scientific SARA CE (analyzing information on the screen and transmitting it to a speech synthesizer that converts text to Lithuanian and English languages) and the Humanware Brailliant Braille display with voice over function, which provides on-screen audio. More and more dormitories are adapted for students with mobility and other disabilities, so students have the opportunity to stay in dormitory rooms adapted for them.
The LSMU Library and Information Center is adapted for students with special needs: hearing, movement disabilities, low vision, etc. The library is well equipped for studies of such persons: there are special desks, a video magnifier TOPAZ XL HD (a tool that allows one to choose the document size and its position on the screen), audio equipment, BELLMAN AUDIO DOMINO PRO (helps to understand the language in difficult for hearing situations; the audio is converted to digital data; the language is highlighted, the background noise is eliminated), SARA CE (a tool that analyzes information on the screen and transmits it to a synthesizer that renders text into audio in Lithuanian and English), JAWS and WinTalker Voice software that analyzes information on the screen and transmits it by means of a language synthesizer that converts text to audio, Humanware Brailliant Braille symbol panel with the VoiceOver function. The VoiceOver program transmits the information on the computer screen out loud in Lithuanian.
LSMU ensures physical environment accessibility and the possibility to use various compensatory technical means for students with mobility, vision, or hearing disabilities at various infrastructure levels: elevators are installed in newly constructed/renovated buildings; in old construction buildings (with cultural heritage status), s-max D135 stair climbers with universal wheelchair lock, wide folding ramps, specialized tables (Height Adjustable Tables – HA800 – Sit to Stand) have been purchased; suitable entrances, toilets, parking lots are installed, classrooms for studies and household rooms are adapted, special marking for the blind is executed, etc.
PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP AT THE LITHUANIAN UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES
At the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, students can get free psychological help:
● individual psychological consultations;
● participate in psychological groups;
● participate in training or preventive events instructed by psychologists.
In view of the announcement of quarantine in Lithuania and in order to ensure maximum security, consultations are carried out remotely. We invite you to register for individual consultations online, choosing the convenient time for you.
Registration for remote consultation (MS Teams program is used for audio and video support): https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/LSMU2@lsmuni.lt/bookings/More information about individual psychological consultations for LSMU students, groups and other important information: https://lsmuni.lt/en/activities/degree-studies/student-support/psychological-counselling2/