1. PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION
I am …. ……, I am from Kaunas, my address is Baltijos seventy-nine, flat nine, I was born on the …..th of …… in Kaunas, thus I am nineteen now. I am male, and still single as I think I am not mature enough to marry. Thus, I have no children. I am Lithuanian, and of course I am a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania. My parents are administrative employees of the Municipality, but I am still uunemployed as I suppose I have to get a university degree first. I am going to be a management specialist, but that is not sure as you can never tell what may happen in the nearest future. At least, I am willing to study managerial sciences. Nominally, the majority of the population of Lithuania are Roman Catholics, but to the best of my knowledge churches are usually empty. I declare nothing; I believe that God exists, but I do not tthink that any religion might understand the mystery of God. There are other interests in my life. First of all, I am keen on driving. I also admire downhill skiing in winter and sailing in summer. I believe everyone should hhave a hobby in order to relax from everyday chores. In fact, some people even take up golf, however, from my point of view, watching cabbages grow is still more interesting. Good hobbies are always active, and they should be different from one’s job activities. Say, if my job is bureaucratic, in my leisure time I should mostly do something active outside. I would also like to mention that people frequently overestimate the importance of one’s looks. Well, it is important if you want to show fashion clothes, but no beauty will improve your professional skills or make you a better husband/wife.
2. EDUCATION, SCHOOLING AND LEARNING
It is impossible to imagine life without learning. First of all, we get acquainted to tthe world by ourselves, and later, at about seven, we start going to school. There are three stages of secondary education: primary school, basic school and secondary school, and the further you go the more abstract complicated it is. Secondary education is also provided by gymnasiums; these are schools for pupils specializing in a particular field. I am proud that I am studying at Saules Gymnasium which is famous for its traditions in mathematics. After graduating from gymnasiums or secondary sschools, most pupils want to enter higher schools and get university degrees. However, at whichever level you study, you are assisted not only by your teachers but by your computer as well. It serves not only for composing and editing texts but first of all for organized search of information. During holidays, on the other hand, many pupils play computer games. Holidays are great as long as you are not a graduate, but during the final year, you experience no breaks, no weekends, no holidays, and the whole year is tests and exams and the fact that we have thirty-two lessons a week says nothing. If I have to account for my favourite sciences, for example, computer science or English, that’s alright but if it is something I dislike, it takes much effort. The best pupils are honoured after graduation, but I will hardly get into the list. Some pupils attend various clubs at school; they say it is very interesting, but I have never tried. I believe they dance, paint, discuss and so on. That’s alright but only in case you have time. If you succeed in state exams, wide and straight ways to the future are open, but iif you happen to fail, life may get hard. I am doing my best in order to fall into the first category.
5. FAUNA AND FLORA; CLIMATE AND WEATHER
I live in Lithuania, which is situated in the central Europe, East of Poland and North-west of Byelorussia. My native town, Kaunas, is located almost in the middle of my country. There are few kinds of large mammals in my country – mostly elk, deer and wild boar. In some forests, some brown beers and lynx may still be found. Of course, there are plenty of smaller predators, such as wolves and foxes in Lithuania. Beavers are still quite common, as well as badgers and hares. The basic kinds of trees are oaks, lindens and birches, there are plenty of ferns in the forests. If you favour fishing, you may go catching pikes and trout. In the Baltic Sea, eels are the favourite species of commercial fishing. On the whole, there is a large variety of fauna and flora in Lithuania, but undoubtedly it cannot compare to the rich kingdom of animals and plants in tropical countries. The climate is moderate here. Summers are quite warm; the averages for July reach some ttwenty-four degrees centigrade, and the temperature rises up to plus thirty-five on the hottest days. The rainy season is mostly October and November, it is wet and freezing cold then. In winter, we get some snow, especially in February. Last winter, we had heavy blizzards even in spring. Winters are not very cold; in fact, the temperatures seldom fall below minus ten. Tomorrow, I think, the weather will be great, it will be dry but cloudy, and the temperatures will rise to about some plus twenty-four. I hope the weather will improve substantially in the next few days.
6. TRAVELLING AND TRANSPORT
The most common way of traveling is commuting. Well, I live in Silainiai but my school is located in Zaliakalnis; that is why I have to go to school and back every day. Almost all people have to commute either by public transport, private cars, or just cover some distances on foot. In the centre of Kaunas there are plenty of tourists these days, and you are often asked the way. I try to be very patient with travelers and to explain them, say, that the Cathedral may be found if you go to the end of this street, then
turn left and proceed straight. Public transport is really convenient in Kaunas, there are many routes of busses and trolleys, but some more trolley lines are necessary, for example, there should be a trolley line to Silainiai. Tickets in Lithuania may be purchases either in kiosks or on the bus. For intercity communications, you can buy tickets in advance or buy them on the bus as well. Coaches are quite modern and convenient, but trains are mostly uncomfortable and extremely ccold in winter. When going abroad, we need no visas when traveling to the countries of the western world, but customs offices still exist. However, it is very hard to get visas to the USA, but visas to such countries as Russia, Romania or India are very easy to get; they just cost a lot. I think these countries lose a lot of potential tourists this way. When traveling, I usually have nothing to declare. We still need to exchange ccurrencies, but the Euro is due to come to Lithuania in the nearest future, probably in twenty-oh-seven, and then we will have the same currency as the whole European Community; this will be highly convenient.
3. FOREIGN LANGUAGES
In modern world the ddistance is nothing and communication is everything. This saying reflects the reality, and as we chat or have businesses with representatives of other nations, we use foreign languages. Most people acquire these skills at school, college or university, and foreign language teaching starts at the age of about eight all around the world. It is not surprising thus that many people are fluent in one or more foreign languages. I usually had three or four lectures a week, and I hope my knowledge is enough to study some subjects in English at university. Hopefully, my knowledge of English will improve in the future. I know that there are some levels of language knowledge: beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced and mastery. II don’t think that a foreigner might be equal in language skills to a native speaker, but my aim is to become fluent in my professional field as well as in any everyday situation. Apart from English, other languages are also important in modern world, first of all Spanish and French, but in Europe English will do anytime and anywhere. I’m glad there is a universal language. I know that in the European Union, there are language passports showing one’s sskills, but I haven’t seen it yet. Our parents were fluent in Russian, and they would get high grades, but this language is of little value in the west. English is spread really widely; it is spoken in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia with some thirty countries having it as the state language,. I’m glad I can speak English.
4. HOUSE AND HOUSING
My home is my fortress, English people like to say. We love our homes because it is the only place we can feel at ease; that is why there is a saying “feel at home”. In Lithuania, most people in cities live in flats, but a large number of people live in private or detached houses. Cottages are common, but no skyscrapers with private houses have been built yet. A flat usually consists of a kitchen, a few sleeping rooms, a sitting room, a hall, and a bathroom with a lavatory. In Lithuania, people tend to have much furniture, but in the west it is common to have wide spaces and few furniture items; the way of furniture arrangement differs as well. There are many home utensils, starting with the vacuum cleaner and dishwasher, and ending with the wwashing machine. These things do help, but they take so much space that there is a problem as to where to keep them. Of course, they help to tidy the flat, but they really take too much space. After I finish school, I’m not going to study in Kaunas; that is why I shall rent a room. Rooms are charged a lot, but the price is worth the independence and tranquility. Finding a good room in Vilnius is really difficult. When I’m grown-up, I shall have a large detached house with a garden around and a garage under the house. Only modern houses are good, five-storey and nine-storey houses built during the soviet times are worth nothing. In a large house, one can keep a pet, even a large dog and to feel free knowing that no neighbours will have any objections. A new house is great, but one needs to work hard in order to get it.
Although the post is quite outdated these days, but it still sometimes happen to send a letter or a package, or to receive one, and it usually occurs while being away. The problem is that not all locals understand such questions as ““I beg you pardon, where is the nearest post office?”; the post office staff does not always speak English, either. Calling from abroad is usually easier, especially if it is possible to use the mobile phone. Unfortunately, sometimes these systems fail, and tourists have to use ordinary phones. The basic problem usually is to find out the international codes. A far more interesting thing happens whenever you call abroad and have to say “I’d like to talk to Mr. X”, but the person you’re talking to understands nothing in English; then you have to repeat the name of the person you’re calling. Sometimes people speak exotic languages when calling your office; then you try to explain that you’re connecting them to the secretary. Telegrams are not written any more, except for formal cases. To the best of my knowledge, Lithuanian Post has closed down this service. I believe, in long-forgotten times they were received in twenty-four hours. Currency exchange is much more common, especially if you have to travel a lot; then “Can I exchange Dollars” is a common question. Sometimes you’re robbed and need to call the police; then you say “This and that was stolen”; the police usually
understand but cannot help. A different thing is with medical services. Doctors try to explain you in the local language and show something with fingers, but they do not understand such questions as “What regimes should I keep?”. It happens to call for help, either on the road or in case of fire and so on. In such cases, the most important thing is to talk in common words and terms, and it’s alright; the problem is settled.
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