It’s du-du-du time, blog time! Here I hope you’ll get the reference to yu-gi-oh, s/o the morning cartoons on M6. Enough digressions, we know I can’t be concise: The cultural differences between France and Lithuania, lezzzzz gooo 

Historical cultural differences between France and Lithuania

Historically, Lithuania has a rich and complex history, marked by Baltic, Slavic and Scandinavian influences. It was once the largest state in Europe, known as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and played an important role in the region’s history. In fact, if you’re a history buff or just want to learn more about the history of Lithuania, it’s really fascinating. France, on the other hand, has a history deeply rooted in the medieval period and the Renaissance, with a major influence on European art, politics and philosophy. These historical differences have shaped the cultural values and traditions of both countries.

Language as a marker of identity

Language is also an important distinction between Lithuania and France. Lithuanian is the official language of Lithuania, belonging to the Baltic language family and sharing similarities with Latvian. It is considered to be one of the oldest languages and retains many archaic linguistic elements. French, on the other hand, is the official language of France, belonging to the Romance language family. The French language has considerable global influence, being widely used in diplomacy, culture and international affairs. It is also the language used in the drafting of international treaties.

Culinary influence as a cultural difference between France and Lithuania

Cuisine is another area where the cultural differences between the two countries are obvious. In Lithuania, traditional cuisine is based on ingredients such as potatoes, rye, pork and dairy products. Lithuanian dishes are often hearty and tasty, with specialities such as cepelinai (a kind of stuffed potato dumpling), kugelis (potato cake) and skilandis (smoked meat sausage). Lithuanian meals are generally accompanied by popular drinks such as beer and kvas (a fermented drink made from rye). France’s cuisine is renowned the world over for its sophistication and regional diversity. Iconic dishes such as coq au vin, foie gras, escargots, baguette, French cheeses and wines are enjoyed the world over. French gastronomy is considered a culinary art, with great emphasis on presentation and the quality of ingredients. For more information on Lithuanian gastronomy, International Horizons has put together a little family blog to delight your taste buds!

Cultural and social differences between France and Lithuania

Social customs also differ between Lithuania and France. In Lithuania, great importance is attached to family and close social relationships. Lithuanians are generally reserved and may seem aloof at first, but once you gain their trust, they turn out to be warm and friendly. Family traditions are often celebrated on special occasions such as weddings, christenings and birthdays. Lithuanians also place great importance on values such as honesty, loyalty and respect for elders. In France, the emphasis is on individuality and self-expression. The French are often open and direct in their social interactions, with a more informal approach in professional relationships. The notion of freedom and equality is also deeply rooted in French culture, and the French are often politically and socially engaged.

In terms of general attitudes, Lithuanians tend to be reserved and discreet, placing great importance on modesty and politeness. They also have a strong connection with nature and place particular importance on preserving the environment. Lithuania is known for its unspoilt natural landscapes, national parks and lakes. Lithuanians attach great value to their cultural and historical heritage, and proudly celebrate their traditions and folk festivals. The French, on the other hand, are often perceived as more expressive and passionate. They value art, literature and philosophy, and are known for their political commitment and defence of human rights. France has a long tradition of intellectualism and artistic innovation, with a culture that celebrates creativity and individual expression. And to discover the local customs in Lithuania, International Horizons has thought of everything and written you a little blog, just to perfect your culture and make you the best intern ?

Legendary sportsmen and women in different fields

Lithuania is passionate about basketball and is often regarded as one of the strongest nations in the sport. Basketball is deeply rooted in Lithuanian culture, and the Lithuanian national team is renowned for its outstanding performances. Lithuanian players often feature in professional basketball leagues around the world. Lithuania has won several Olympic medals, including gold in 1936 and bronze in 1992, 1996 and 2000. And if you want to find out more about the history of basketball in Lithuania, the BasketEurope website has a lot more information than I do, so don’t hesitate to take a look around their site.

Football is the most popular sport in France, with a huge following of passionate fans. The French national team has enjoyed remarkable success, winning the FIFA World Cup twice, in 1998 and 2018. French football is also renowned for its national league, Ligue 1, which includes famous clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille and AS Monaco. French clubs have also enjoyed success in European competitions, with teams such as Olympique de Marseille and AS Monaco reaching the Champions League finals.

As well as basketball and football, Lithuania has also achieved remarkable results in other sports. For example, the Lithuanian national handball team is competitive at international level, and Lithuanian players have also enjoyed success in sports such as athletics, swimming and cycling. Lithuania also has a tradition of success in winter sports, notably biathlon and speed skating.

As well as football, other sports enjoy great popularity in France. Rugby is a popular sport, with a competitive national team that has won several Six Nations Tournaments. Tennis is also very popular in France, with renowned players such as Yannick Noah, Amélie Mauresmo and, more recently, Marion Bartoli. France also has a long tradition of success in cycling, alpine skiing, handball, swimming, judo and sailing.

It is important to note that these sporting differences and achievements evolve over time and vary according to the period and the competition. Successes and performances may fluctuate, but both Lithuania and France have rich sporting heritages and contribute to the international sporting scene in their respective ways.

Different access to rights in the two nations

In Lithuania, the protection of minority rights is governed by the Constitution and other specific legislation. The main ethnic minorities in Lithuania are Poles, Russians and Belarusians. However, it should be noted that the majority of Lithuanian society is made up of ethnic Lithuanians.

The Lithuanian Constitution guarantees the right to preserve the cultural identity of minorities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic origin, language, religion or other similar criteria. Minorities have the right to use and develop their own language and culture, and there are legal provisions for the protection of the linguistic rights of minorities.

In practice, however, some minorities may face challenges in accessing education in their mother tongue or public services in their language. Efforts are being made to promote inclusion and equal opportunities for minorities in Lithuania, but improvements are still needed to ensure full participation and effective protection of minority rights.

In France, the issue of minority rights is addressed within the framework of the principle of equality and non-discrimination set out in the Constitution. French society is characterised by significant ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, with ethnic and religious minorities such as people of North African, African and Asian origin and other communities. France has passed anti-discrimination laws and set up institutions dedicated to promoting equality and combating racism and discrimination. However, unlike some other countries, France adopts a secular and universalist approach, emphasising citizenship and social cohesion rather than recognition of the specific rights of minorities.

The issue of identity and cultural diversity in France is complex and sometimes controversial. For example, there have been debates around the practice of wearing the Islamic veil and issues relating to the integration of immigrant communities. France values the ideal of a unified society, where all citizens are considered equal regardless of their ethnic origin, religion or culture.

It is important to note that approaches and policies regarding minority rights may evolve over time in both countries. Governments and civil society actors are continually working to improve the protection of minority rights and to promote inclusion and equality for all.

To sum up, Lithuania and France have marked cultural differences in many areas. Their histories, languages, cuisines, social customs, general attitudes and many other aspects reflect the particularities of each country. However, it is important to note that these general descriptions may vary from region to region within each country, as cultural diversity is also present at national level. These cultural differences enrich Europe’s heritage and contribute to diversity and mutual understanding between peoples. Here’s an overview of what you need to know for your work placement in Lithuania. If you need any advice, there’s only one thing to do: contact us! And if there’s still something you need to make up your mind, check out Teddy’s account of his placement in Lithuania with International Horizons.

For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.