Kaunas University of Technology

All ESN Lithuania this weekend met for the last time before well-deserved summer holidays. Meeting has united 13 HEIs of the country, representatives of Lithuanian NA together with guests from Vilnius Design College applying for the position of a candidate section. For the first time members of the organization were welcomed in Kaunas city municipality what made 20th National Platform even more special.

Program, which has lasted from the morning of 14th to the late Sunday’s afternoon, has involved variety of presentations about present projects of the network as Erasmus in Schools, reports from the past events as AGM Milano 2014, CNR Krakow 2014 and NBM Athens 2014 and various discussions concerning the future of ESN Lithuania. During the time dedicated for Small Sessions, members of the network could develop SocialErasmus strategy, discuss the future of Responsible Party and PureCom as well as deepen their knowledge in the field of the social media and use of Facebook. 

NP20 was filled with special moments for the whole Lithuanian network. ESN VDA was officially accepted as 13th section while the status of candidate was voted upon ESN VDK to become already 14th member of ESN Lithuania in the near future. 6th National Board was also elected during the event with 14 candidates present. NB taking over from the 1st of October will consist of:

President – Tomas Tamulevičius, ESN KTU;

National Representative – Indrė Kasiliauskaitė, ESN VGTU;

Communication Manager – Audrė Chudinskaitė, ESN KK;

Project&Events Coordinator – Rasa Jakeliūnaitė, ESN VGTU;

Partnership Coordinator – Aidas Masaitis, ESN ISLB;

National positions will be taken by Edvinas Jugelionis, ESN Vilnius University as WPA, Agnė Babelytė, ESN VGTU as SocialErasmus Coordinator and Aistė Zentelytė, ESN VGTU as ESN Sea Battle Coordinator for the upcoming term. 

ESN Lithuania keeps growing and changing. With growing support of Education Exchanges Support Foundation, new and motivated people in the upcoming Board and many new ideas to accomplish ESN Lithuania has proved once more to be worth recognized as one strong, united and efficient organization. 

    

ESN LT Alumni months ago has presented an initiative under the name success story. 1st  of it was told by present ESN LT Alumni Head Coordinator Julius Zaburas. Today is time to listen to another important person in ESN Lithuania's history. Let us to present you - Giedrė Gelšvartaitė, former president of ESN Lithuania, Head OC of the international Summer Camp'11 and much more. So here you go: her success story.

“You are one of 6 milliard people in the world, you won’t become successful by accident”, don’t remember who told me that, but it made me clear - I have to do something.

So it started back in 2008, I decided to go to Erasmus program. All my life I was very excited about traveling and exploring, the word INTERNATIONAL sound magical for me and I knew there are much more in it than just the meaning of different countries.

That time I chose Italy and of course I was very happy because of that, I got to know and experience one of the greatest ESN sections - ESN Padova, they were really hard working team, a great example and a perfect place to get to know Erasmus spirit from all sides.

All my life I had this crazy feeling that I need to do more, that somebody needs me and I need to be useful otherwise it is not interesting to live, but I never knew how and what to do. And there in Italy I finally realized the meaning of the word – Volunteer.  So when I came back I knew I had to do something here, we already had ESN started in 2 cities – Vilnius and Siauliai and something like this going on in Kaunas. From the first day I knew I have to join them and help them create something amazing.

I met some really wonderful people who were thinking the same, that moment I knew these people are the group who is going to do a very good job here and I have to be a part of them.

I remember our first official ESN meeting, we all gathered together for a coffee drink and one girl of us, was just back from the meeting in the international office, so she brought us news: “guys we need to elect the president”. The first election, it went fast and was so funny, someone just said: “does everyone agree that our president will be Giedre”, and everyone said YES, rose their cups, congratulated me and we continued the evening. It was easy for them, but for me I knew that I just got a great responsibility, I have a perfect team, we have got to do something here.

I was really proud of our team and our work. I can honestly say we did a good job. For me the basic thing for first year was to build a big team, I concentrated on motivation seminars, team building, and making the national group stronger and bigger.

After one year we already had much more sections in Lithuania, international level got to know us and we did projects that really rocked it.

After one year I went to international level, don’t get suspicious, this time I was elected with all the rules. And here I was also very successful because once again a got a good and strong team. The most interesting part for me in ESN was always the national level, because the people I met here were always able to do something special, we were small and we wanted to get big, so this is what we were working for.

Not even we managed to raise the quality, become strong, but also to organize some international events, which was also complimented by other countries.

So now I am retired, in ESN words I joined the alumni team, I knew that these years for me were enough because I know that I left ESN in a great hands, we all are different and we all have different understanding of the actions that should be taken, but we all have the same dream and the same goals.

This entire success story wasn’t just me, it was the team that I had, those people who did something incredible, and they still keep doing this, I am very proud of all of them, including myself.

One very smart person once told me: “if you see that you won’t reach your dream, don’t change the dream change the actions you make”. I think this is what we were doing, we had same dream but different actions in our minds, putting them all together and sharing them helped us get closer to the dream.

I was very successful and I still am, and these 3 letters ESN that changed my life, wasn’t just the place to do something it was a place of strong motivated hard working and creative people that taught me a lot of things, that helped me be successful and showed me what can be done while working together.

Always believe in others, no one ever did big things alone, help the others and they will help you reach your dreams, chose the right actions.

written by ESN LT Alumni Club

Usually it takes a long time to get there. Once you do that, there is never enough: of ESN, of people you meet and spirit you feel. Official description tells you that it is the main decision-making body of ESN International. Well, it is. And it is much more at the same time: future cooperations, knowledge transfer, gathering information, sharing experiences, developing ideas, creating personal long-lasting relations, simply having fun and believing in ideas of the network. 

The idea of AGM is to gather together around 600 current and former members of ESN from international, national and local levels. 36 countries – numbers only prove how broad our organization is. And while wearing different colors and realizing slightly different projects we manage to keep unity in diversity. 

ESN Lithuania also was a part of it – 12 delegates representing 9 sections of ESN Lithuania together with NB delegates and NR in front of. Great purple cloud took over the city of Maribor for 4 days starting from 11th continuing to 14th of April. 

Thursday, 11th of April

While our NR Simona Patašiūtė was catching a breath after intensive and productive pre-CNR delegation of Lithuania was slowly starting to appear from different corners of Europe. The fastest ones were invited to explore Maribor – former European Capital of Culture 2012 during guided sightseeing tours, which invited to share “Brez objemov” or “Free Hugs” with the citizens. Surprised, smiling faces and a bit scared ones from too high dose of Love, but after all – socially aware ESN greeting for the city, which hosted the biggest event of the network. 

Opening ceremony of the event was soon to come so after making few more circles in the city time for preparations to meet Mr. President of Slovenia Borut Pahor. After his speech even more greetings followed by ESN AISLB president Emanuel Alfranseder, partnerts of the network and even Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Ceremony was opened and closed by Slovenian singer performing anthem of ESN SB – “Don’t You Worry Child”.

Afterwards delegations were invited to enjoy traditional Slovenian dinner together with songs and dances followed by Responsible Party where RP ambassadors were taking a great care of ESNers while providing them water and other goods.

Friday, 12th of April

From 7am in the morning participants were invited to enjoy the breakfast and so prepare for the following sessions when procedures of AGM were presented, chairs were elected, agenda approved and presentations of the candidates for 2013-2014 IB were heard. 

Later the action was moved to the Technical Faculties, where local Slovenian people together with the members of ESN were invited to participate in the Uni-market which has lasted for 3 hours and has invited to get to know more than 300 universities across entire Europe. 

After the market was finished ESNers were invited to attend the variety of workshops starting with the diplomacy lessons taught by Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister ending up with project management and team building. Impressions and lessons which were learnt were shared during the National Platforms, which invited to talk about candidates for the IB, about AGM itself and to prepare for the loud and colorful flag-parade. 

Parade which took for more than few hours and was captured by various media representatives ended up in Festival Hall Lent where the Eurodinner took place. Crazy night with loud music, various goods from different countries of the world leaded to the one of the most important days of AGM.

 

Saturday, 13th of April

The 3rd day of AGM invited to the sessions where the most important decisions were made. OCs for the future international events were elected:

• AGM Milano 2014;
• CEP Košice 2014;
• CND Lodz 2014.

Later on budgets were discussed and presentation about the work done by IB 2012-2013 was given. As well as standing orders were changed with the biggest innovation – bringing the chairing team to the CNR meetings, which from now one will be made of CNR Administrator, Secretary and Technical Assistant. 

44Changes for the Visual Identity Manual were also introduced with a suggestion to allow the use of ESN logo in full solid ESN Colors, including ESN Pink/Cyan/Orange/Green/Dark Blue. The next day proposal was approved by AGM, so from now on we have even more colorful and flexible visual identity of the network! 

AGM was continued by presentation of the Board Action Plan for 2013 – 2014 with concrete actions how to improve the structure, budget, work of secretariat and strengthen up ESN Brand. Promotion of the mobility, concentration on the projects as ESNSurvey, PRIME, Erasmus Impact Study will remain. Will be working on strengthening up the Eduk8, Alumni network, working with facilitation of international jobs, traineeships and volunteer opportunities for ESN members.

During the rest of the day international ESN projects were presented: ESNWiki, Responsible Party, where ESN Lithuania takes the first place by the number of RP parties organized! Time for the session was coming to an end so lots of discussion points were delayed to the coming day. 

UV Youngle Party followed afterwards, where with the help with OC, IB and NewYorker everyone was dressed the same – T-shirts of ESN, which later on were covered by the layers of ultraviolet sensitive paints. 

Sunday, 14th of April

New day, new challenges and huge amounts of information! Projects as ESN Satellite was presented with having a first look to the new version of it and promise for it soon to come. ESN Survey was analyzed, recent results of Eduk8 were presented continuing with the presentation with the rest of projects as Erasmus in Schools as a Flagship Project for this year, Social Erasmus as the latter Flagship Project of ESN, Section Quality Development, Section Cooperation, ESN Galaxy, ESN Card, Ride for Your Rights, ExchangeAbility presentations. 

Reports of CNR, CND, Committees, Liaison Office and Network itself followed together with presentation of commercial, institutional partners.

Alumni were also invited to the stage to present their new work done during the recent year, attempts to gather all national Alumni coordinators to one place and to share their knowledge and possibilities between each other. More information about Alumni network might be found HERE. Also traditional Alumni grant was given. This time it was ESN Rijeka which was awarded by 500eu for the innovative trainings for ESN members of their section. 

Also that day IB for the next cadency was elected:

• President – Stefan Jahnke;

• Vice-president – Dominique Montagnese;

• Treasurer – Jonathan Jelves;

• Communication Manager – Robert Klimacki;

• Web Project Administrator – Salih Odabasi.

After the reports of the auditors and vote of AGM event was officially closed. Only Gala-prom was waiting for the participants.

Gala this year was different. The idea was to have a prom date like in the times of finishing high school. That was the reason why everyone that night came by two. High heels and ties, dresses and suits – that night we’ve proved  how different we can be – from dirty t-shirts to fancy look, from crazy parties to Social Erasmus. That’s what ESN is about.

15th of April

Then the sun started to appear in the morning of 15th AGM came to an end. Lots of goodbyes were told during the breakfast, many free hugs made to each other hoping to see each other again. Once more hundreds of people from different parts of Europe spread apart to work for the same ideas and values only through different projects and venues. Work for the local, national and international community. Spread responsible and socially aware ideas.

Every time we meet, something changes. In statutes, standing orders, VMI, but the wish to ESN your life always remains.

Pallomeri, dear members of ESN!

More photos HERE!

On the 20th of March the event WEEK WITHOUT SNEERING took place in Kaunas J. Grušas Art School. ESN KTU team together with international students from Azerbaijan, France, India, Italy, Pakistan, Turkey and Sought Korea of Kaunas University of Technology went to secondary schools in order to spend a day with pupils, have discussion about the importance of tolerance and cultural differences. The beginning of the day started with tour around the school. Expositions of crafts and folk art were shown in small museum of the school. But the greatest part of the tour was shopping at a market where all dealers were children of age 7-12. Cookies, candies, jewelry, paper flowers – most of the goods are made by their selves. Great interest was seen from pupils taking activities, playing games and listening presentations. Each representative of the country shortly presented the place where they’re from, told some interesting facts about their lifestyle. During the workshop of learning languages, international students taught pupils some phrases in their mother language, such that Hello, How are you?, You’re beautiful and etc. the work in the groups of few Lithuanian pupils and one teacher – international student – was really fast and efficiency. Pupils were trying to learn as much as they could. Everyone was happy – pupils, students, teacher – spending their day and enjoying the time all together. We’re looking forward to meeting again. ;)

More photos HERE.

Just before Christmas, when the first snow has covered streets of Kaunas ESN KTU (Erasmus Student Network Kaunas University of Technology) team with international and Erasmus students went to Vilijampole Social Care Home. Vilijampole Social Care Home takes care of the young people which have physical and/or mental problems. With warm hearts, energy and the presents donated by students for this event, everybody went to visit the youth with special needs.

Accidentally or not the chosen day was magical 2012 12 12. Due to the magic number or the warmth of students’ hearts – that afternoon there were a lot of smiling faces.  Comfortably sitting on the carpet, youngsters with foreign students created a Christmas city. While coloring details of the Christmas city everybody forgot all the problems and enjoyed the time together. It was a surprise to see how easily children found connection with the foreign students despite the language barrier.  When the painting was finished everybody had a chance to enjoy the sounds of guitars which accompanied the famous song for children ‘Naktelės žiedai’. Some children from Vilijampole Social Care Home also showed their singing and dancing skills.

The children were especially happy about the Santa Claus Cat (thanks to KTU Career center) which umused the kids the whole afternood and finally awarded them everyone with presents. The greatest present - special medical hygiene items - bought with the donated money, went for the kids with difficult health problems.

Eventually, students from Azerbaijan and their traditional dance crowned the afternoon. This event was an unforgettable experience for the international students and the ESN team. It was a great reminder to pay attention to the small things and people who surround us and make our lives worth living. Moreover, students had a chance to meet another foreign people who have volunteered in Vilijampole Social Care Home before.

ESN team wants to say a huge thanks for Vilijampole Social Care Home personnel who warmly welcomed us and  everybody who participed and spared time and energy to create the biggest magic in the world – a smile!

Last weekend was really special to ESN KTU (Erasmus Student Network Kaunas University of Technology) team. Current members and freshman were going to spend their weekend together in homestead not very far away from Kaunas. The main reason of this weekend was to make our TEAM BUILDING.

Every semester ESN KTU awaits many new members different in age and specialties. A lot of them have not been acquainted before but one thing attracted them to ESN Organization – to help Erasmus students! In order to work for Erasmus we need to have a strong team which everyone of us can always trust in occurred serious problems. Therefore, team-building weekend was organized for strengthening relationships between ESN KTU members.

Day one started with personal trainings which were presented by KTU Career Center representative – Eglė Šliurpaitė. Many questions were discussed such as „How to compete with fear of public speaking“, „Why do we need challenges in our life? “, „How to do works in time without physical exhaustion?”. During the day ESN team was learning communication, time planning and working together skills in various practical activities.

The most remarkable and extraordinary exercise was a walk in silence. 20 minutes all people were going by the road without talking to each other at all. Of course there were many ways how to communicate without speaking – emotions, gestures, text on mobile phone and etc. but the silence test was passed – no one was talking.

Activities of responsibility also took place in training schedule. Students were learning how to lead people with their eyes closed tight and how to be leaded when you can’t see anything. The answer was CONFIDENCE in your friend. There were many temptations to leave the partner somewhere on road, mislead he/she but hopefully, no one was injured during this training and everyone happily reached home.

After all day works the evening part started when all ESN KTU team decided to relax and enjoy they time grilling sausages, chatting or simply resting. But the night wouldn’t be interesting without something unexpected happening. First time in ESN KTU history freshman were baptized in real members. They solemnly swore to ESN KTU president to love and respect Dovilė Žemaitytė, be obedient and do all works they are asked to do. All novices are full-fledged ESN KTU members now and are ready to work for Organization.

On the day two a lot of information was provided to members about ESN work. Some of it was known and some of it was new. Sandra Baltkojytė, Public Relations Officer of ESN Lithuania, presented ESN Organization and its activity in national and international levels. Members were acquainted with all positions of National and International Boards, International meetings, projects and etc. Sandra’s presentation truly inspired go working and changing Erasmus people life.

In the end of the weekend all team was exhausted but also was happy. New friendships came to ESN KTU and we are expecting that it will even strengthen the team in future projects organization and implementation.

April 27, 11:00 am everyone wakes up and starts to prepare for the “Culture sauna party” that’s how it should have been, but as always Spanish were more “lazy” than anyone else so they were taking they time to wake up and prepare for the event. 11:15 am I reach second dorm doors expecting that there will be a bunch of people and we will be able to move to the bus stop, but I was wrong. Outside were standing only 5 people. Naturally all the mentors were worried where are  the students and right about when we were thinking to go inside the second dorm to wake everyone up. Like the rain from the sky a lot of students from the 5th dorm came in the meeting place. So with the calm stone in our hearts we were able to move to the bus stop. We left a few mentors behind to wait for the other Erasmus students (most for the Spanish). So everyone was a lil bit sleepy but excited and thinking about they adventures in the trip. After “early morning walk for about 1km”, the ship dock were reached and everyone could take a deep breathe of relief. Viktorija (the Head of the event) met us at the ship dock and carefully counted us as we would be her little ducks.

When registration was over we entered in the “Caribbean pirate” ship, put our stuff in the corner and quickly took our seats in a deck. The journey with the boat took something about 1 hour or more but it felt like it was 10 minutes. The greatest thing was the heat of the sun and terribly good weather, so that most of the students were chilling outside, taking sun bath with cold drinks.
 
Some of the students were singing or playing with the guitar, so we had some live concert too! 2:30 pm we reached our destination for handcrafts, get out from the ship in the place, where you could see plenty of trees and untouched nature by humanity. At some time you could really thought that you are scouting somewhere far, far away from the loud noise of the city and cars. Everything was so calm and relaxing and you could even hear the beautiful melody of birds. Yes, we have reached our first goal “Rumšiškės”! Every Erasmus were attracted by old houses, which were brought here 100 years ago, big fields of freshly cut grass and fantastic smell of the forest trees. By the lead of good experience we get to the center of handcrafting place and separated all Erasmus into 2 groups: first group went to make some pots, animals or any other figure from the clay; second group went to make traditional Lithuanian candles from wax. 
 
From the picture above you can see what kind of stuff were made from the clay and how people were interested in making of candles. Little by little our cold drinks “went off” because the day were very hot. Thank goodness we manage to find a refill were we could refresh our thirsty bodies and to wet our dry lips. With knew refill, went to explore a lil bit more of “Rumšiškės” and you will not believe than I will tell you that most interesting or I should say unseen thing was outside toilet. Yup, yup the real wooden outside toilet, which, for most Lithuanians, who are living in private houses, are still quite natural thing, for the Erasmus it was like an archaeological finding which was extinct from the earth more than 100 years ago  After such an “amusing” finding we went back to “Kauno marios”  coast with the smile on our face and good memories from handcrafting and more. Near the ship were waiting the captain and his one person crew with the warm smiles, which were saying: “Welcome back from successful journey my adventure warriors”. The trip back home to where we started was also relaxing and full of sun bath with a brilliant seaside view. 5 pm reached the ship dock were the bus was waiting for us take to the last trip destination “Šaltupys” homestead. After about a half an hour we were standing in front of this beautiful homestead which personally for me was like a dream hose just with the dancing pole inside :D The ground of the yard was covered with well-rounded wood and smooth stones. Here we were waiting for the last attraction – traditional Lithuanian dances, songs and games. The professional traditional dance group “Gauštauta” arrived at 7 pm so we had exactly 1h before our dinner was ready. “Gauštauta” kindly introduced us to old Lithuanians dances and games. Probably most funniest dance was “Bear dance” because you need to join the hands with other person and scream like a bear: “Urgh, urgh, urgh …”. In the picture below you can see how our Erasmus succeeded to dance this dance.

In the end of the show/presentation we took a group picture to remember each and every of us who were in this wonderfully crazy day. 
 
After that, took our dinner and shared our experiences of the trip. The food was great and cold drinks were really refreshing. Later everyone had an opportunity to enjoy traditional Lithuanian sauna, hot tube and to try dance po…. Heh hem it’s a different story.

Written by Evaldas Jankus

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