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Interview with Elizabeth – an American expat in Lithuania

Updated 16 Jul 2018

Elizabeth, originally from Connecticut in the US, has lived a life of exploration as she indulges in her love for learning about different cultures. She currently lives in Florence, Italy, although she recently spent four years living in Lithuania. As she works from home as a STEM academic editor, her home can truly be anywhere.

Read about Elizabeth's insights and adventures, or read one of her in-depth travel guides on her blog, In Search Of.

Otherwise, learn more about Lithuania in the Expat Arrivals Lithuania country guide.

About Elizabeth

Image of Elizabeth in front of a Lithuanian statueQ: Where are you originally from?

A: Connecticut, USA

Q: Where are you living now?

A: I recently moved to Florence, Italy from Vilnius, Lithuania, but I’ll be talking about living in Vilnius here.

Q: When did you live in Lithuania?

A: I lived in Lithuania from August 2013 until July 2017.

Q: Did you move to Lithuania alone or with a spouse/family?

A: I moved with my husband. After a few years of living in Lithuania, I gave birth to a son in Vilnius. 

Q: Why did you move to Lithuania and what did you do?

A:  I’m a freelance editor, so I can work from anywhere. We moved for my husband’s job as he works in the international school system.

Living in Lithuania

Q: What do you enjoy most about your life in Vilnius? How would you rate the quality of life compared to the US?

A: I absolutely loved living in Vilnius. Especially when we first moved to Lithuania (when the country still used the Lithuanian Litas as their currency), the cost of living was very affordable, making it a great city for a young couple to save money. The healthcare is also excellent, and the city is rapidly changing to become more international, open, and creative while holding onto Lithuania’s unique culture. 

Q: Were there any negatives to life in Lithuania? What did you miss most about the US?

A: I found it difficult to meet people when we first arrived, as Lithuanians often need to take time to warm up to new people. 

On a different note, the university-level education in some fields is behind in many aspects, but particularly with regards to communication and technology.

Q: What was the cost of living in Lithuania compared to the US? Was anything in Lithuania cheaper more expensive in particular?

A: I found living in Vilnius to be much cheaper than living in the US. Rent is affordable, the internet is super fast and inexpensive, groceries are pretty standardly priced, and eating out is much less expensive than elsewhere in Europe.

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Vilnius?

A: I lived in the old town and was able to walk nearly everywhere. When I absolutely needed a lift, such as when I needed to travel to the airport, I would take a taxi.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Vilnius? Are there any hospitals that you would recommend?

A: Both public and private healthcare in Lithuania is excellent. I suggest the Baltic American Clinic, Alfa Clinic, and the Antakalnio Poliklinika. The dental care in Vilnius is also excellent.

Q: What were the biggest safety issues facing expats living in Lithuania? Are there any areas in Vilnius that expats should avoid?

A: Lithuania is a very safe country. For example, most children ride the public bus and walk to school on their own. It used to be a bit sketchy near the Vilnius bus/train station at night, but this area has been through an urban rejuvenation over the past two years and is now flourishing with great street art, new restaurants, and boutiques.

Meeting people and making friends in Lithuania

Q: Did you make friends with Lithuanians or did you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends in Lithuania? 

A: I met a mixture of both locals and other expats. I’d suggest being open to trying new things and joining the few Facebook groups available for foreigners in Vilnius.

Family and children in Lithuania

Q: Did your partner have problems adjusting to their new home in Lithuania? 

A: I was considered the “trailing spouse” in this situation, and I didn’t experience any challenges. 

Q: What are the schools like in Vilnius and do you have any particular suggestions?

A: There are several good schools for foreigners in Vilnius, including the American International School of Vilnius, Vilnius International School, and the French International School. Both the American International School and Vilnius International School are convenient to reach from the old town, and the teachers in both schools are fantastic.

– Interviewed May 2018

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