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As someone who is passionate about the holistic transformation students experience through their co-curricular involvement in college, working in the Student Life division at LCC was incredibly rewarding! Because most Eastern European universities haven’t yet established Student Development programs, students arrive at LCC unaware of what the concept of co-curricular education means. But year after year, I would hear students say that it was these outside-of-the-classroom experiences that really impacted their lives.
By living in the residence halls, they were given an intentional community of care where they learned to mediate personal conflicts and experienced the gift of deep friendship. They lived side by side with people from other cultures and had their negative perceptions challenged as they discovered similarities with people they once viewed as only different. They taught Americans how to cook their national dishes, and learned how to bake American cookies. Through attending chapel or participating in a Spiritual Life Week event, they experienced God in new and exciting ways.They felt a sense of belonging at LCC that they hadn’t felt before – they felt that they were a part of something bigger than themselves.
But I don’t know if they are aware of how much THEY impacted MY life. While I was at LCC to help them grow, they were inadvertently pushing me to do the same. By trusting me with their stories, by reminding me to be a learner first, and by helping me recognize how my home culture had shaped my expression and understanding of my faith (just to name a few).
In 2002 I went to Lithuania for two years to change lives. I returned to America 10 years later personally & professionally changed in profoundly meaningful ways.
If you’ve chosen a career in college student development because of the impact you can have on the lives of students, I believe there are fewer places on earth where you can contribute to a such a truly transformational community. But watch out — by going to LCC, your life will never be the same again.
Kim, Vice President for Student Life (2002-2012)
LCC International University in Klaipėda, Lithuania is an unknown part of the world to many, but in the past eight years it has been a place of learning, adventure, challenge and home for me. My first experience with LCC was as a student. I had a fabulous study abroad experience there and knew that it was a community I wanted to continue to be part of. I loved the blend of cultures, the opportunity to live life alongside students from many different places and the chance to broaden my own views of the world. I spent the next few years thinking of ways that I could continue to invest in such a unique community.
In 2007 I started off on what turned out to be a two year adventure. I had worked in student affairs during college in the states and knew that it was an area of college life where I had grown, been challenged and been able to give to the community around me. I knew that I wanted to be able to contribute to that experience for others.
Low and behold an opportunity arose for me to return to LCC. I became a Resident Director for the university, working both in their summer language program and in university housing throughout the academic year. It was a community that was supportive, that valued education, building relationships, service and a living and active faith. All of which were and continue to be reasons why LCC is a place I can call home.
Sarah, Resident Director (2007-2009)
Minnesota , USA
Serving in Student Life at LCC has been a great experience because of the uniqueness of the student population, the socio-political atmosphere in the Baltic states and post-Soviet society, and the ecumenical community of faith. I learn something new everyday about myself, my country, and how to interact with a diverse community. I am able to play the role of educator in a way that is very different than my experience in US institutions of higher education. Because Student Affairs is an unknown concept in Lithuania, it allows me the opportunity to deepen my own understanding of Student Affairs and the necessary role it has in the institution. I have had the chance to create the Intercultural Program, to give it vision, and to watch it burgeon. I am learning more about student views on leadership, diversity, and culture, in order to create programs that meet their needs. Finally, one of the major personal benefits of working in Student Life has been my deeper understanding of what it means to be an American Christian and how that affects my interaction with students. Being able to understand a student’s faith that looks very different than mine, but that is equally as devoted, has been a true blessing. I have been forced to look past my cultural lens and how that affects my understanding of Christ. That has been an eye-opening experience and one that I will continue to work through for the rest of my life.
Casey, Intercultural Education Director (2005-2008)
I came to LCC for something different. I believe that the times we learn and grow the most are when we are being stretched, and I wanted to go someplace that would stretch me. I also wanted to do something substantial for the Kingdom of God, to be in a place where good things were being accomplished. I believe I’ve found that at LCC. I am excited about the interpersonal and leadership skills I am learning here. The opportunity to supervise a team of students is teaching me skills that will be transferable to future work environments. My own worldview and understanding of different parts of the world is growing as my relationships with students become deeper… What I like about Student Life is its holistic approach to life. Academic life is not constrained to textbooks or quizzes but expands to relationships and personal growth. Student Life focuses on helping students understand the world and live in it as a whole person; academics, relationships, leadership, and personal growth all mesh together in an attempt to help a person discover who they are.
Keith, Intercultural Program Coordinator (2007-2009)