From students to students! Advice, ideas, suggestions and stories written by ESN KTU mentors, members and KTU international students for anyone studying/considering to study at KTU or visiting/considering to visit Kaunas and Lithuania.

Want to contribute? Contact ESN KTU Public Relations Coordinator at [email protected].

Have you ever wondered what incredible destinations you can reach from Kaunas? We have overlook of the best ones!

Have you ever wondered what incredible destinations you can reach from Kaunas? At first sight this Lithuanian city might not seem as good as their competitors, but the former temporary capital of Lithuania has a lot to offer when it comes to cheap international transportation. Its international airport and bus station offer direct routes to the whole European continent as well as Israel. Here we will look over the top 5 places that can be reached from Kaunas.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark has lots to offer. It is the home for almost two million inhabitants and it holds an enormous cultural and architectonical heritage.  The most famous places there are the Little mermaid, Tivoli gardens and Christiania. You can manage to visit all the main attractions in just 3 days. The only inconvenience might be the high prices of the accommodation and transportation. However, discovering this city is a must and flying there from Kaunas is usually extremely cheap – you can find tickets for 10 euros or less!

 

2. Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland

Located in the center of Poland, Warsaw is one of the greatest and most modern Polish cities. This Polish metropolis combines the beauty of the market square with some of the tallest skyscrapers in Eastern Europe. It offers really good deals for almost everything you can imagine. Moreover, getting into Warsaw shouldn’t be a big problem, as there are daily direct buses with really low fares.

3.Tallinn, Estonia

Tallin, Estonia

This admirable municipality is considered to be the most beautiful and unique place of all the Baltics. Tallinn’s old town is recognized as world heritage by UNESCO as it is one of the few that remained untouched after Second World War. Moreover, Estonia has a great influx of immigrants, so they are skilled with English and friendly to foreigners. Estonia’s capital is reachable by bus from Kaunas. It also has a ferry connection with Helsinki, so make sure to think about it as your next destination.

4. London, UK

London, UK

Probably, one of the most visited cities in whole Europe and one of the most influential in the entire world. London has a history of more than 20 centuries. Some musts there are: eating fish and chips, visiting Buckingham palace or seeing the changing of the guard. Discovering the entire city would take ages, so make sure to set aside some time for it, especially if you have never been there. UK’s main city has daily flights from Kaunas airport. There is no excuse for missing it.

5. Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia

The most populous city in the Baltic region has lots of things to offer to its visitors. Riga’s old town is full of nice cafeterias, restaurants as well as bars. Some of them are even cheaper than Kaunas counterparts. It also has one of the best markets of the area where you can buy whatever you may imagine. Accommodation and living standards are really similar to Lithuania. Latvia’s capital is the easiest destination to reach from Kaunas due to its closer distance and daily direct busses.

 

by Eric Mas Moncusi

During the very first few weeks it is quite easy to figure out what to do and where to go in Kaunas. But where to go when it feels like everything in the city is familiar already? We have some ideas for you.

During the very first few weeks it is quite easy to figure out what to do and where to go in Kaunas. Most of the “touristy” places are situated either in old town or city center (new town), and all the main objects can be visited in a day or two, for example, town hall, Kaunas castle, Aleksotas panoramic viewpoint, and others.

So, where to go when it feels like everything in the city is familiar already? Then leave your very well-known Freedom alley and Vilnius street, take public or suburban buses and go somewhere new. Need suggestions where to? We have a few:

  1. Raudondvaris

Raudondvaris

On the suburbs of Kaunas, there is a tiny town with a name Raudondvaris which can literally be translated as “Red manor” because, well, a red manor is standing there. The manor is situated near river Nevėžis and there is a manor-castle museum, stables, orangery, restaurant and an ice-house in its complex.

Where: Pilies takas 1, Raudondvaris.

How to get there: you can take a bus number 48 from Kaunas castle (Kauno pilis) bus stop. You will need to get out of the bus at stop “Raudondvaris”.

More information: http://www.raudondvariodvaras.lt/index.php/istorija-en.

  1. Juniper Valley (Kadagių slėnis)

Juniper Valley

Path leading all the way through Juniper Valley was elected as the most beautiful national park path in Lithuania. Luckily for you, you can reach it quite easily from Kaunas and it takes only about 30 minutes from the bus station to get there. Keep in mind that it is a part of national nature reservoir, so follow the rules and don’t make fires, don’t litter, don’t break trees, etc., or you might get fined.

Where: Viršužiglis village.

How to get there: take a suburban bus number 179 from Kaunas Bus Station and leave the bus at the stop “Kadagių slėnis”.

  1. Rumšiškės Open Air Museum

Rumšiškės

Only 30 minutes by (mini)bus and you will reach a town of Rumšiškės, famous for its open-air museum in the countryside, exhibiting the mode of life, works and traditions of peasants and town people of all Lithuanian ethnographic areas. It is situated on a picturesque coast of Kaunas lagoon and is a perfect place for a one-day trip. During the season, you can even go there by boat and admire all the beautiful views Kaunas Lagoon has to offer.

Where:  L. Lekavičiaus g. 2, Rumšiškės.

How to get there: take a suburban minibus number 82 from Kaunas Bus Station and leave the minibus at the stop “Rumšiškių paviljonas”.

More information: http://www.llbm.lt/en/about-us/.

  1. Dubrava protected area (Dubravos rezervatinė apyrubė)

Dubrava

If you love nature, you should definitely check this place out. Untouched forest, a swamp and 2-kilometers-long educational path is waiting for you to get discovered. The reserve was declared as protected area back in 1968, therefore, you can witness real nature that has not been exposed to human involvement for almost 50 years.

Where: Unnamed road. Not even kidding. That’s how wild or “in the middle of nowhere” it is.

How to get there: take a suburban bus number 149 from Kaunas Bus Station. You will want to get out of the bus at stop called “Dubravai”.

  1. Birštonas

Birštonas

Birštonas is the most far destinations from Kaunas from the ones mentioned above but still less than an hour away from Kaunas. It is famous as resort and spa town in Lithuania, mostly known for its mineral water. Surrounded by pine forests and Nemunas river, Birštonas also is considered as the center of the Nemunas Loops Regional park.

Where: Birštonas. Duh.

How to get there: take a suburban bus number 152 from Kaunas Bus Station and in 55 minutes you will reach Birštonas town.

 

What would you add to this list? Let us know on Facebook.

 

 

by Laura Klusaitė

"Labas", "Viso gero", "Kaip laikaisi" and "Atsiprašau" are no argument very useful phrases to know if you need to spend some time in Lithuania. What others phrases could be essential though? Check if you know them here.

Before you come to Lithuania or while you are already here, you should do some research about how to greet people and learn some basic words and phrases that can make your life so much easier here, in Lithuania.

Apart from the usual, “Labas” (hello), “Viso gero” (goodbye) and “Atsiprašau” (sorry; excuse me), you might need some phrases for more specific situations where English speaking people may not be around.

Some of the working ladies at the kiosks don’t speak English, so one phrase you may need when you want to top up your bus card every month:

“Top up bus card for a month with weekends, student price.”

“Prašom papildyti bilietą, studento kaina, su savaitgaliais, mėnesiui.”

When you need to come back from the centre at late night and you are too lazy to wait for a bus, the easiest way is to take a taxi, it is comfy and fast:

“To this address (show your address)”

“Gal galite nuvežti čia (show your address)”

When you walk alone on the street or go to the club, there could be an unwelcome stranger trying to hit on you disrespectfully. This is what you should say:

“Leave me alone!”

“Palikit mane ramybėje!”

Or

“Back off!”

“Atstok!”

 

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Moreover, apart from saying Hello and Sorry, another phrase we all should know in every language is "How much does it cost":

“Kiek šitas kainuoja?”

When we go camping or somewhere else new, the essential things are food, sleep, and toilet. Remember this phrase and it will save you from awkwardly walking around in the new place:

“Where is the toilet?”

“Kur yra tualetas?”

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, so it is better to always be prepared:

“Call the police!”

“Iškvieskite policiją!”

“Call the ambulance!”

“Iškvieskite greitąją!”

When you buy medicine, or go to see a doctor, they will ask you "Are you allergic to anything?". What you should do are always remember what you are allergic to in Lithuanian and this sentence:

“I’m allergic to…..”

“Aš alergiškas…”

There is diversity in dormitory, sometimes people can cross over the line with noise or anything but you still don’t want any misinterpretation. Another way to solve the problem is when people making noise you can ask the doorkeeper and she/he will take care of it:

“Room …… is making noise, could you please go check?”

“Kambarys …. triukšmauja, gal galite patikrinti?”

People love compliments, so, it is good for you to know at least one word:

“OMG! You look so pretty!”

“OMG! Labai grażiai atrodai!”

Even if you are not a trouble maker but eventually problem can still come to you. Sometimes it is good to apologize and make your point:

“I don’t want any trouble”

“Nenoriu problemų.”

 

 

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Any phrases you think should be in this list? Let us know about them.

Want to contribute to ESN KTU blog? Write a blog and send it to us.

Contact for more information or any questions and suggestions: ESN KTU facebook or ESN KTU Public Relations Coordinator at [email protected].

 

 by Mookfee Nantanapramoth

Traditional Lithuanian food consists of a lot of fats, potatoes, meat, or curd, and sometimes it can get quite difficult to find a place if you a strict diet or food preferences. So, where to look for vegan food? Here are some ideas.

Food inevitably is an important part of the day. Most of us have our favourite coffee shop or a place for lunch at home. It gets harder to find such place abroad, especially if you have a strict diet or food preferences. Is not not a secret, that traditional Lithuanian food consists of a lot of fats, potatoes, meat, curd, etc. But it doesn't mean that all of our restaurant or cafes are the same. If you look closely enough, you may find places for all needs and tastes. Here we gathered together some vegan and/or vegan-friendly places in Kaunas.

 

LUNCH TIME:

Vilties vaistinės arbatinė

Address: Laisvės al. 100

A place to eat in the centre with quite wide range of vegan dishes: dumplings, lasagne, various pancakes, buns, etc.

Žalia Pupa

Address: Laisvės al. 78

A small cozy vegetarian restaurant with most of vegan dishes: soups, stew, croquettes to name few. They have different menu each day.

Ridikas

Address: M. K. Čiurlionio g. 16 (train station)

Vegan restaurant with different meals each day.

Radharanė

Address: Laisvės al. 40 & Daukšos g. 28

Vegetarian Indian restaurant. If you ask, they can turn most of their meals into vegan (for example, change rice which are prepared with butter into vegan potatoes).

Moksha

Address: Vasario-osios g. 6

Indian restaurant with Vegetarian & Vegan options.

Jėgainė

Address: Sporto g. 3

The restaurant is situated near the sport club so it’s oriented to healthy and energising food with vegan options.

Sushi express

Address: Rotušės a. 6, Laisvės al. 12 & Europos pr. 43

They used to have a different vegan sushi menu, now you can still find these sushis in the main menu.

Gan Bei City

Address: Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 49 (in “Akropolis”) & Islandijos pl. 32

Asian restaurant with Vegan & Vegetarian options.

 

FOR A DESSERT:

Holy donut

Address: Vilniaus g. 37 & Vytauto pr. 24 (bus station)

They make the donuts in the same place so they’re always fresh. Vegan donuts are marked so it is easy to find the right ones. They also have bagels and coffee with soy milk.

Espress way - e/way

Address: M. Daukšos g. 35

A coffee shop which have soy, rice and almond milk and they also started to make various vegan desserts.

 

FAST FOOD:

Snack King

Address: Vaidoto st. 34

Fast food place with vegan burgers, waffles, tofu salads.

Doda

Address: Savanorių pr. 137 & Seniavos pl. 5

Burgers, kebabs, falafel with vegan options.

Antras aukštas

Address: Partizanų st. 12

Pizzas, Burgers, falafel. Most of them are vegetarian but you can ask to put vegan cheese.

Liuks

Address: Jonavos g. 1 (near the castle) & Kovo 11-osios g. 22 (near “Girstutis”)

Different fast food cuisines in one place with vegan kebabs and falafel.

Hesburger

If you go out with a friends and decided to stop for a fast snack, “Hesburger” the best option as you can find soy sticks there. You can also try soy tortilla but in this case ask them not to add cheese and also change the sauce.

Do you have some favourite places that were not mentioned in this blog entry? Share those with us and we will update the list!

 

By Ieva Januškevičiūtė

Lithuanians are not the easiest nuts to crack when it comes to making friends. So, how can you actually do it? We will try to reveal this magical secret of the universe.

Lithuanians are not the easiest nuts to crack when it comes to making friends. It might seem that they are not smiling or even sad most of the time. But it is not true when you get to know Lithuanians a bit better. How to make friends with Lithuanians? We will try to reveal this magical secret of the universe.

First things first, do what you are interested in. If you are interested in photography or art, do not hesitate to visit galleries or other events. If you are into sports, join some club. There are many sport facilities not only at KTU campus but also outside. Are you a music lover? Then also go to some concerts or other places where you can meet a lot of Lithuanians. I hope that the concept itself is quite clear here.

Also, the most common mistake that people make when meeting Lithuanians is that they go in a huge group of people. Lithuanians are quite shy and they would hardly go to say ‘hi’ to a large group of strangers that they do not know. So, it is better to take one or two friends (if you feel very unsafe) and go to socialize in completely Lithuanian environment like concerts, sports, some discussion forums, university activities, various kinds of events that interest you. Don’t be afraid to join some of the student organizations that already exist, go for a debate club, etc.

Learn some Lithuanian phrases. It melts every Lithuanian’s heart when you say even small phrases like ‘labas’ (hello) or ‘kaip tu laikaisi?’ (how are you). Maybe try to learn the entire introduction about yourself. If you want to show that you are advanced and super into Lithuanian culture.  Asking questions about Lithuanian culture also pleases Lithuanian hearts because it is a good feeling when someone is interested in their culture and history.

Remember, that Lithuanians are not so open in the beginning. It takes some time to trust you but as soon as you become a friend of a Lithuanian, you will get a friend for probably the rest of your life. Completely different world will open up for you because Lithuanians are very hospitable people. But you have to work hard to achieve that. Nothing is easy.

This is the magical secret of the universe that might help you to get to know more Lithuanians and their culture. Remember, everything depends on your approach and how you interact with people.

Do you know more ways to meet Lithuanians? Feel free to share them by messaging me or ESN KTU :)

 

by Gapsas ESN KTU

Kaunas, being the second biggest city in Lithuania, and often crowned as the heart of Lithuania or capital of culture, has many places you don’t want to miss. So take some of your free time and let's explore Kaunas!

Kaunas, being the second biggest city in Lithuania, and often crowned as the heart of Lithuania or the capital of culture, has many places you don’t want to miss. So take some of your free time and explore Kaunas by yourself. Here are some ideas about what to see or where to start ;)

1. Vilniaus gatvė | Vilnius Street (Old Town)

This old town street of Kaunas is a long pedestrian way with traditional and modern places, cafes, pubs, restaurants, souvenir shops… This is a place where many people come to spend their afternoon or evening, chill out and have a good time.

2. Kaunas castle (Old Town)

Not a big but cetainly an impressive castle along with many mysteries behind its walls. Worth a visit if you want to learn a bit about the rich history of Kaunas (there is a small museum in the castle) and admire the view to the old town and Nemunas and Neris confluence park that lies around.

3. Town Hall square (Old Town)

Town Hall or as we call it, the White Swan, is one of the oldest buildings in Kaunas. Many people have their weddings there, a lot of events are happening in the square and every winter it holds Christmas market.

4. Aleksotas panoramic viewpoint

Probably the nicest picture of Kaunas you can take is from here. You will see the town and nature blending together. It’s totally worth it to see the view in the day time and night time and feel the different prettiness of Kaunas City. Be warned though, quite many stairs are waiting for you to go up here.

5. Laisvės alėja | Liberty avenue (City Center)

The fascinating and colourful, longest pedestrian street in Kaunas and one of the longest in Europe: pretty alley with more than 500 trees and beautiful white church at the beginning of the street. The street also has most examples of functionalist architecture from the interwar period in Kaunas, emormous amount of bakeries and cafés as well as restaurants, pubs and various shops. A good place to gather around with your friends and take a walk to see how things are going.

6. Pažaislis monastery

This is a calm and peaceful place not far from the city. The architecture of the monastery is totally stunning and the complex is more than three centuries old. And it is surrounded by beautiful nature of Kaunas reservoir Regional Park.

7. President Palace (between Old Town and City Center)

After Lithuania gained independence in 1918, Kaunas became its capital. The historical President Palace was functioning here until the country lost its independence again in 1939. By visiting this place you can lean about  the evolution of modern Lithuanian statehood and changes that affected this period of history.

8. Vienybės aikštė | Unity square (City Center)

Unity square holds the sculptures of the most important people In Lithuania’s modern history and the eternal fire for the ones who died fighting for Lithuania’s freedom. There are many museums around (Vytautas the Great War Museum, M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gallery, Devils museum), across the street you can see Students square and KTU central building.

9. IX fort museum

It is a part of the Kaunas Fortress, which was constructed in the late 19th century. During the occupation of Kaunas and the rest of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, the fort was used as a prison and way-station for prisoners being transported to labour camps. After the occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany, the fort was used as a place of execution for Jews, captured Soviets, and others. IX fort museum shows the most painful periods in the history of Lithuania which are necessarry to know to understand the country and its people.

10. Devils museum

If you like horror stories and even if you don’t, here’s a unique place in Kaunas to visit. Over 3000 works depicting the devil gathered from all around the world are waiting for you there with interesting stories, legends and superstitions Lithuanians have about devils. We dare you to visit them and figure out why this nation is so obsessed with the creatures of the underworld.

What would you add to your top 10 places to visit in Kaunas?

 

By Mookfee Nantanapramoth

Photos by Kristis Balčiūnas

Packing for exchange semester and moving abroad to study can be tricky. You most likely know what to bring but what are the essentials you shouldn't forget?

Packing for exchange semester and moving abroad to study can be tricky. You most likely know what to bring but what else should you think about before you start packing?

1. Warm clothes
Before you come to Lithuania, you should be prepared for cold weather. If you are coming for autumn semester, it will be surprisingly warm in the beginning but summer and warm autumn will not overstay its visit. Meanwhile, if you are coming for spring semester, you might arrive right on the peak of winter. Jacket and warm socks are the first thing you should bring along with you.

2. Umbrella
The weather in Lithuania is unpredictable and rain is quite a common guest over here. Better to have a small umbrella in your bag.

3. Spices
As Kaunas is not a capital city and Lithuanian food is generally not that spicy, it may be hard for you to find your special spices here. Also, every semester ESN KTU organise International dinner for you guys and we believe you don’t want to miss a chance to show how amazing your food is.

4. Equipment
Special equipment that is popular in your country may not be as popular here, for example, you will not find Korean chopsticks in the shops, better find some place for them in your luggage.

5. Medicine
There is a possibility that you may not find specific medicine in shops or to buy it you will need a prescription, therefore, the easiest way is to bring your personal medicine with you.

6. Exercise shoes
At Kaunas University of Technology we have a free gym for you to work out and keep yourself healthy. But to be able to exercise here, you should have suitable shoes.

And the most important thing you can’t forget to bring with you is GOOD MOOD!

See you in Kaunas! wink

 

by Mookfee Nantanapramoth