Discovering Lithuania through an internship abroad is a great opportunity. This Baltic country has plenty to offer you, and you might be surprised by the discoveries you make: between the covered Russian markets, the pomegranate stalls as far as the eye can see, a motorway with more lanes than it takes to line up all the cars in the country… there’s no shortage of surprising facts in this Baltic country. In Lithuania, we only send you on placements in the two largest cities, namely Vilnius, the capital, and Kaunas, a huge student city, which has undergone some major renovations since it became the European Capital of Culture in 2022. Both offer a wide range of activities, so you’ll have plenty of fun during your work placement in Lithuania!

Budget for your work placement in Lithuania

Lithuania is a very inexpensive country, and €500 a month will be enough to cover your travel costs, accommodation and food: this is an important detail when you want to gain experience abroad! We can’t advise you enough about the need to be financially comfortable for your work placement abroad, so that you can make the most of what your destination has to offer. Because, if you’re going to do an internship abroad, it’s better to be able to enjoy the country than to stay cooped up: in that case, you might as well stay in France and binge-watch a Netflix series.

Accommodation is really cheap, whether you’re sharing, staying in a youth hostel or renting a studio. Obviously, sharing is the cheapest and most profitable solution: it’s a good opportunity to make a group of friends and explore the city at first hand. The country has changed a lot in ten years; I was very reluctant to open it up at first. The first time I went there, in 2012, I was sleeping in a youth hostel: we bumped into a local West Indian – I can’t remember his first name – who panicked out of the room. Because he was black, it was difficult for him to buy food, even in the supermarkets… sad. Fortunately, however, tourism and changes in mentality have greatly reduced racism. However, as a person of colour, you have to expect to be subjected to reflections, and it’s not uncommon to be confronted with racism in this country. Amnesty International denounced it in a report in 2022.

Apart from accommodation, food is really very affordable in Lithuania. Supermarkets, restaurants… you just have to avoid the restaurants in the old town, which are mostly tourist havens, but otherwise the prices are relatively the same everywhere, and seem to us Western Europeans to be very inexpensive. Gastronomically speaking, it’s a far cry from what we’re used to eating, and that’s precisely the point of the blog on culinary specialities in Lithuania: if you want to get your mouth watering, you can check it out.

Transport is also very inexpensive. In fact, whether it’s local transport within a city, transport to get from one city to another, rail and bus, or transport to get out of the country and visit the surrounding area, it’s all free. And if you want, International Horizons can also give you some ideas for exploring the country and its surroundings in the blog article: I’m in Lithuania: Where to travel during my work placement abroad? Then, depending on your location, you can probably do everything on foot: both cities are on a human scale, and it’s great fun to explore them!

What you need to know

Lithuania has recently emerged from the USSR, but still bears the scars: just look at who holds most of the country’s key positions. Oops. During the Second World War, Lithuania suffered a terrible fate, one that I don’t see enough of in our history books: around 36% of the population of Vilnius was deported. Of the 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania at the time, 70,000 were murdered in just 4 years. The Vilnius Genocide Museum preserves the memory of these terrible events, with a room in which all the names of those massacred are kept; it’s really very disturbing.

Lithuania was an early educated people, and is even the country with the oldest university in the East in Vilnius. While the country has been a model of tolerance for years, recent history runs counter to this reputation: LGBT communities do not have the same rights as heterosexuals – there are very few gay venues in the city – and racism is still relatively strong. However, there are no more homophobic attacks in Lithuania than in other European countries, and in fact it is one of the safest countries in the European Union, with a very low crime rate. But young people are coming into their own: more and more friendly bars are opening, young elected representatives are publicly opposing racist and homophobic ideas, associations are springing up, and there’s even a gay sauna in Vilnius. Lithuania is still torn between the political influence of Russia and that of the European Union, which makes certain mentalities harder to change.

Your work placement in Lithuania

Finding an internship in Lithuania is not always easy, but International Horizons is here to help! The country has recently opened up to the global economy and is growing fast: you’re bound to find your place in this small Baltic European country! As with all work placements abroad, there are a number of things to consider before you leave:

  • Your school’s educational expectations: because it’s important to respect them, this is what will enable you to defend your placement in Lithuania through an oral exam and validate your placement period abroad.
  • Your desires: what skills you want to work on, in what context, through what types of assignments
  • Your language level: if you already speak good English, your assignments will necessarily be more complex and richer than those of someone with a lesser command of the language. Your assignments need to be adapted to enable you to progress and have fun during your placement abroad, and above all not be depressed because you find your placement too hard.
  • The country: Lithuania is a country where there is racism and homophobia. It’s important to be aware of this before you go, to avoid feeling bad or excluded when you’re there. Even if rights are improving, they still lag behind those in Estonia.

If it’s the Baltic countries that appeal to you, but you’re still hesitating, you can check out our blog on internships in Estonia, or the one on internships in Latvia: these two countries are very different from Lithuania, if only in terms of social issues. And if you’d rather get a bit more sunshine, then you need to go a bit further south, and do an internship in a Balkan country like Greece or Bulgaria. Ready to head off to Lithuania for your work placement abroad? Then prepare your CV in English and French. Then International Horizons will give you a call and we’ll put together the best possible plan to make your placement a success! Together, we’ll maximise your chances of finding a rewarding work placement that will develop your skills. Find out more about our experience: we were there during the summer!

To conclude, as I said earlier, I hesitated for a long time to open Lithuania, because of the racism and homophobia. But if I’d left Lithuania closed, I’d also have had to close Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and so on. In fact, that’s what I did, before reversing my decision more than a year later. These countries are particularly well known for their lack of tolerance towards black people, immigrants and/or people from the LGBT community. But they are safe, and no more dangerous than France. And I firmly believe in the value of mobility as a vector for encounters, tolerance and learning about others. In conclusion, Lithuania is just as safe as France, Italy, Germany and so on.

Convinced that your next work placement is in Lithuania? You’re right, contact us – it’s free and without obligation!

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