1. It lays claim to an internationally recognized higher education system
Lithuania is ranked 59th by U.S. News and World Report’s most recent higher education rankings. Home to 24 colleges and 22 universities offering a comprehensive spectrum of internationally recognized academic programs and qualifications, Lithuania’s colleges and universities conform with the Bologna Process of the European Higher Education Area -- an indicator of quality all over the world. According to U-Multirank’s international comparison of higher education systems, Lithuania performs especially well in measures of regional engagement and teaching and learning.
2. It is relatively affordable
While Lithuanian colleges and universities do charge tuition fees, they are generally lower than you would find in popular international study destinations such as the US and UK. Additionally, international students are eligible to apply for Lithuanian state scholarships. Students also have access to many cost-saving benefits, including the Lithuanian Student Identity Card (LSP), International Student Identity Card (ISIC), and Erasmus Student Network (ESN) card.
The cost of living in Lithuania is cheaper than 54 percent of the countries in the world, according to Expatistan. And public transportation in Lithuania is also inexpensive, as are utilities and sports and leisure activities, according to Cost of Living Reports.
3. It’s a great portal to the rest of Europe
While there’s much to see and do in Lithuania, if you are looking to maximize your international study experience, Lithuania’s central European location makes it easy. All major European destinations are just a two or three-hour plane ride away thanks to international airports in the capital city of Vilnius and second city Kaunas, while rail routes serve destinations throughout Eastern Europe. It’s also a relatively easy country to drive in.
Prefer two wheels to four? Lithuania is also a great place to bike in the summer months thanks to flat terrain and bus and ferry services designed to accommodate two-wheelers.
4. Its people are friendly and welcoming
Lithuanian people are known for their welcoming, friendly attitudes. Many of them are also bilingual. One American told Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) of his time in Vilnius, "You have one of the most beautiful cultures and the most beautiful people in the world. My experience is that the Lithuanians are very welcoming and happy to introduce themselves and their country to foreigners. These features are well reflected in the business market, where understanding and trust are the most important characteristics. I think this explains why Lithuania is suitable for business and it has one of the most promising economies in the world.” This viewpoint was shared by Canadian Cynthia, who, as well as praising the country's castles, history, and culture, said, “All the people I met in Lithuania were nice, open, friendly and hospitable.”
5. The quality of life is high
Lithuania earns high marks for quality of life. It’s been ranked first in the CEE region (Central and Eastern Europe) in the Green City Index and is also known for its world-class health infrastructure and level of safety. While its cities have been compared to the likes of Copenhagen, Barcelona and Cape Town, Lithuania also well-known for its breathtaking green spaces and peace and quiet. “Outside its cities and towns, Lithuania’s greatest asset is its nature. This is a country of fresh, verdant pine forest and calm, clear lakes, where escape to the countryside is never more than 30 minutes from your door,” says Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybės Oficiali svetainė.
6. The culture and food are extraordinary
Lithuania boasts a rich heritage and vibrant modern culture. The old town of capital Vilnius is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, while the country’s diverse population celebrates many international events and festivities throughout the year -- many of which have been influenced by neighboring nations.
Travel writer Jim Dobson says of discovering the “magical” bucket list-worthy country of Lithuania, “Everything in Vilnius works with symbiotic energy, with a youthful and vibrant art scene mixed with a historic, architectural presence that honors its past. [...] From its offbeat bars and cafes to its medieval churches, just walking through the city filled with German gothic, Italian Baroque and French classicist architecture, and Russian Orthodox domes open your senses.”
Love a good meal? You’ll absolutely find it in Lithuania. “It might take some time to get used to Lithuanian food, but once you do, you won’t be able to live without it! From potato dishes like cepelinai or kugelis to desserts like šakotis, Lithuanian food never fails to impress. So, let’s not pretend that food is not an important factor while choosing a place to live and agree that Lithuania has an upper hand over most other locations in the world,” enthuses Culture Trip.
7. It’s easy to get a visa
Lithuania is the easiest country in the Schengen Area to get a visa from. In fact, a whopping 98.7 percent of Schengen Visa applications to Lithuania were accepted in 2018 while just 1.3 percent of short-term applications were rejected, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com. Lithuania also receives fewer applications than countries like Germany and France. As a result, visa applicants enjoy shorter waiting times.
Additionally, while many countries restrict students from working during their international study experiences, Lithuanian grants students the right to work up to 20 hours a week so long as they are enrolled in a school.
8. It’s open to startups and entrepreneurs
Whether you’d like to gain work experience while studying in Lithuania or you’re thinking of starting a business of your own, Lithuania is a great place for either. More foreign companies are looking to Lithuania to start their businesses due in no small part to the country’s efforts to make it easy to do so.
In particular, Lithuania is becoming an exciting fintech hotspot, according to Joe Wallen for Forbes.com. “According to the Lithuania Fintech Report 2017, a total of 117 fintech firms were operating in the country employing over 2,000 people -- a rapid increase from 45 companies in 2013,” Wallen writes.
The country’s economy is also booming: it’s ranked 12th out of 44 countries in the European Region in the Index of Economic Freedom, while the World Bank deemed it 11th out of 190 countries in its most recent Doing Business Index.
There’s a reason why more than 6,000 international students choose Lithuania for international studies every year...and rave about their experiences there. For example, Sakasaka Melissa from Congo says, "I chose Lithuania [as a place to study] because I wanted to have excellent training in scientific terms and a high quality education to succeed in life and be useful to society. The people are very nice - since I am here I feel like home. And life is not too expensive. The teachers are very capable and highly skilled. I would encourage others to study here. If they focus on their goal and work hard to succeed Lithuania provides conditions and facilities. The country and its people are great!
And Alper Ozdemir from Turkey adds, "Kaunas has a very nice old town. On the weekends you can go out and make many friends and it's very enjoyable here. Studying in Lithuania is about having a great experience while getting your education. It's very nice to be here. I would say to others, take your warm clothes, prepare your luggage and come here!
So if you’re looking for an outside-the-box international study destination offering advantages comparable with more conventional choices, look no further than Lithuania!