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A new home across the world

Mindaugas+U%C5%BEkur%C4%97nas+%28far+right%29+and+his+family+on+vacation+in+Latvia.
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A new home across the world

Mindaugas Užkurėnas (far right) and his family on vacation in Latvia.

Mindaugas Užkurėnas (far right) and his family on vacation in Latvia.

Mindaugas Užkurėnas (far right) and his family on vacation in Latvia.

Mindaugas Užkurėnas (far right) and his family on vacation in Latvia.

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TOWAMENCIN- The transition from middle school to high school is hard, but when you are new to a country and have to start in a new school, it is even harder. Mindaugas Užkurėnas, a junior at North Penn High School, moved from Vilnius, Lithuania to Lansdale, PA at the end of the 2017 school year. The trans-continent move was 4,384 miles, and he is now facing many new challenges. During high school, many teenagers encounter obstacles but will have friends to help them through it. Mindaugas now has the challenge of overcoming all these obstacles while trying to make new friends.

“It was hard [trying to make new friends] because you are going into a new environment where people know each other and have inside jokes while you are the outsider… it is like I am trying to get into a circle or door but I don’t have the right key.” said Užkurėnas.

It was hard [trying to make new friends] because you are going into a new environment where people know each other and have inside jokes while you are the outsider… it is like I am trying to get into a circle or door but I don’t have the right key.”

— Mindaugus Užkurėnas

However, he has found the right key here in America and seems very relieved about the many things he was worried about. Užkurėnas has adapted to his American life very well finding hobbies such as going to the gym, playing basketball, and of course, hanging with friends. One transition that was most worrisome was how much harder school is in America compared to Lithuania, which it turns out, was not true.

“In Lithuania, they give you a lot more individual work and homework, whereas in America everything is learned in class. School is definitely a lot easier here. Actually, this past summer my friends in Lithuania had to read six books with a minimum of 300 pages,” explained Užkurėnas.

Sophomore year proved not a challenge for Užkurėnas as he conquered it with a 3.7 GPA. Another challenge that he overcame easily was the switch to speaking English as much as Lithuanian. He has been learning the language since he was five through some interesting ways.

“In Lithuania, Cartoon Network was in English, so when I was young and learning English I did not understand what that the TV was saying, but then I began to pick up words. School, Cartoon Network, and Youtube helped me really learn English.” said Užkurėnas.

Life in America is going great for Mindaugas and he is excited for the opportunities the country can provide. America provides many options for when students finish twelfth grade, however, not all countries are able to provide the same opportunities.  

“I am really glad to be here in America. It is an amazing opportunity, even my Lithuanian friends are like ‘You are such a lucky guy [to be able to go to America],’” remarked Užkurėnas.

With so many opportunities and career paths to choose, Užkurėnas hopes to become an accountant or computer programmer. He doesn’t know exactly where he wants to go to college yet, but he plans on staying in the area. Mindaugas visits his family on major holidays which helps keep Lithuania fresh in mind. Although he loves his home country, he plans on staying in the U.S. permanently. Coming to a new country is no easy task, but Mindaugas Užkurėnas has conquered Lansdale and cannot wait to conquer the rest of America.

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A new home across the world