The weekend of 21st-23rd of November was dedicated to fostering mobility among young volunteers in already third Mentors' Days conference organized by ESN Lithuania and Education Exchange Support Foundation.
First mobility conference in Lithuania, under the Mov'in Europe sign, was attended by more than 100 participants including devoted and prosperous volunteers from the Network and ESN LT Alumni, representatives from Education Exchange Support Foundation as well as a special guest from International Erasmus Student Network, Icelandic Hero, Mr. Patrick Doodt. Set in the largest Lithuanian resort city Druskininkai, within the walls of Grand Spa Lithuania Hotel, the weekend promised comprehensive presentations and fruitful discussions.
Even though the outside grounds were covered with the first snow and frost, inside the participants were turning up the heat from day one in various get-to-know-each-other games and teambuilding activities, concluding the day with international film night.
On the following day, in all day long plenaries, everyone learned more about international exchange learning possibilities, had a glimpse into the lives of International Board of Erasmus Student Network and engaged into discussions of intercultural voluntary possibilities provided by such exchange programmes as European Voluntary Service and always growing Erasmus+. Long anticipated appearance of our international guest Patrick Doodt was more than captivating. Patrick shared the idea of Mov'in Europe Ambassadors and highlighted the importance of this flagship project, as one brand uniting all the mobile people and possibilities. Seemingly, every doubt about us not being mobility generation vanished after this presentation. After all, mobility is a lifestyle.
Guests and ESNers delivered efficient workshops and small sessions on topics such as implementation of Mov'in Europe project in the local level, successful future career opportunities and reenacted an impromptu job interviews with employers of desirable positions. All these activities were highly appreciated by the participants and with lifted spirits and motivation boost everyone went to enjoy the refreshing pleasures of SPA and waterworld without having to leave the building. Saturday closed up with first National Responsible Party this semester.
After nutritious breakfast, Sunday morning kicked off with more personal interactions. ESN Lithuania members were invited to have small sessions with the National Board to discuss the future of the Network as well as engage in the further shaping of already highly acknowledged communication committee PuRe Committee.
They worked hard and moved like Bernies taking back home knowledge and experience which will improve the new generation of mobility ambassadors.
Written by Karolis Kriuka, proud member of PuRe Committee
Over the weekend of 12-13th of April, delegates from all 12 ESN Lithuania sections, as well as representatives from ESN Alumni, gathered within the welcoming walls of Mykolas Romeris University in the capital Vilnius to attend already the second edition of ESN Lithuania’s National training programme – Survival KIT Vol. 2.
ESN is all about improving, motivating and aiming higher. That is why the second piece of training cake had to be bigger, better and with an international taste. ESN Lithuania HRC Tomas, who was nurturing the idea of National trainings for quite some time, remarks: “I was very happy to see such activeness among the sections: the number of applicants was increasing each day and every spot was taken”. Four ESN Eduk8 trainers from Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Czech Republic shared their knowledge on time planning, leadership, constructive feedback and conflict management. Let’s take a short look back over the things that inspired members of ESN Lithuania this past weekend.
Day 1, Saturday
After a short opening word, trainers took the initiative into their hands leading a series of vibrant and dynamic energizers and teambuilding activities that allowed us learn a thing or two about each other and feel more comfortable working together. Later on, for workshops to be more effective and productive, participants were divided into three smaller teams and from that very moment members of ESN Lithuania are better known as cherries, strawberries and watermelons. Three out of four fields were covered during the first day of trainings, involving a lot of practical assignments, role playing and discussion.
In leadership and time planning workshop, instructed by Ludo “the Lazy Lizard” Coudray from ESN Switzerland, participants learned how to recognize different types of leaders, what strategies to apply in order to ensure effective section-work and progress; how to prioritize and plan your schedule. Communication expert Robert Banet from ESN Poland performed valuable workshop on delivering and receiving constructive feedback, which is an essential part in maintaining an operative ESN work from local to international levels. Members were taught some methods of positively delivering criticism. At the end, everyone were only left craving for more.
The day was not over yet as OC from Mykolas Romeris University had prepared a challenging surprise. ESN’ers and trainers participated in a scavenger hunt and discovered the secrets of Vilnius. Afterwards everyone met up to have some refreshments.
Day 2, Sunday
Starting off the last day with some powerful energizers, participants headed to their last workshops. Working side by side, Lukas Oppermann from ESN Austria and Stanislav Stanek from ESN Czech Republic delivered crucially beneficial session on conflict management. Before starting, participants were asked to share their expectations on the upcoming workshop. Two hours of strategic actions, performances and analysis of real-life conflict situations both in daily and ESN life caused great discussions in the room. For most, expectations raised at the beginning were fulfilled or even exceeded as from now on everyone will keep in mind that avoiding conflicts is not an option.
It did not take long for the trainings to prove being worthy as towards the end of day 2, motivated, eager and fruitful with fresh ideas, ESNers brainstormed about the future projects of ESN Lithuania. Hoping that planted ideas will soon harvest into prosperous and large projects participants reviewed this notably productive weekend after which Eduk8 trainer Stanislav Stanek had this to say: “It was very inspiring to see how motivated the participants are after the Survival Kit training. As a trainer it is a best reward you can get. I hope that we encouraged them to be hungry for new knowledge and they will spread their enthusiasm in every section!”
And spread they will. There are already some new ideas pursued throughout the network. It is safe to say that everyone left with bigger baggage than they came with: knowledge of new fields, motivation, inspiration and promising new acquaintances once again ignited the spirit of ESN!
Huge thanks on behalf of ESN Lithuania to Živilė and the whole MRU team who courageously stepped up in organizing and hosting the Survival KIT Vol.2 National trainings!
P.S. People say, all of them took a good selfie...
Yesterday students who are studying in Vilnius were invited to join, not the first time organized, Blood Donation Day. This time it has become a grand event because not only the majority of the ESN sections in Vilnius united for the common purpose but on the same day the action took place in Kaunas and Šiauliai as well.
Blood donation campaign’s goal is to draw public attention to the lack of blood donors in Lithuania and encourage young people to become more involved in this voluntary activity.
The best thing was that not only compatriots participated in the event, but also foreign students who are studying in Lithuania actively involved themselves too. They were extremely active as wanted to encourage other by showing their example of becoming donors in Lithuania. When asked do they are afraid to give blood for the first time, almost everyone answered that they are not afraid to do this and event they are doing this not for the first. Students encouraged and supported each other, so the results was amazing: in 6 hours 40 students donated blood - most of them – foreigners.
The event was divided into two parts and the students had the opportunity to choose the convenient time of arrival to Blood Centre by the bus. The first group came at 12 AM (there were over 50 students) and the second – 15 PM.
Visitors were greeted by not only the organizers but also had a chance to take part in well prepared an interesting program, were invited to have some refreshments. Participants had the opportunity to play table football, various table and movement games, join guided tours of the blood center, contributed to the picture painting, which later was left as the memory in Blood center. They even watched the movie "Blood Road"! Also, each participant was awarded not only with the gifts of the sponsors but got some presents from their universities.
Vilnius must be proud of this success of the event when vast majority of the sections contributed to the project: ESN VGTU, ESN VU, ESN MRU Vilnius, LEU ESN , ESN VDA, ESN ISLB.
After the event, everyone was invited to come to the Responsible party which was organized by the ESN members in University's pub and urged young people to have responsible celebrations.
We hope that this will become an annual event and more ESN sections in Lithuania will join this beautiful idea in the future!
by Viktorija Mažonaitė, ESN LEU
Thousands of liters of blood per year are used for people to recover after surgeons (23%), internal diseases (15%), accidents (8%) and various different reasons, which cause blood loss. Only volunteers can bring back those people to life. It takes only 15 min of time and 450 ml of blood to do so and to become a hero.
This is the reason why ESN Lithuania together with 11 sections representing different higher education institutions of Lithuania have united for one common purpose – organizing national Blood Donation Day. March the 6th is the day, which will encourage local and international students join the action in 3 biggest Lithuanian cities – Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai. Vilnius event will show you how to donate in a very pleasant way. If you will not be able to donate blood you are still invited to come to Blood center, join organized activities and spend some time with other students. Activities as excursion in Blood center, watching the movies, listening to lecture ,,Why blood donation is important'' or listening to the memories of the person who survived only because of donors blood along with various health tests, lunch and fun activities will be waiting for you.
ESN VMU, ESN KTU and ESN KK together with LSMU Blood Clinic have prepared lovely activities, which will be revealed on Thursday, and grants cozy morning/afternoon for all determined to become a hero in Kaunas.
ESN ŠU will be waiting for all interested in Šiauliai University. All students are i nvited to join the national Blood Donation Day, meet new people there and spend some nice time together. After the event all are more than welcome to enjoy some tea and share their blood donation experiences.
Donate blood and save a life already on Thursday!
Vilnius Organized by: ESN VGTU, ESN VU, ESN ISM, ESN MRU Vilnius, ESN SMK, ESN VDA, ESN LEU; Where? Blood center (Santariškių st. 2), Vilnius; When? 12 am - 6 pm; Attending? Official event.
Organized by: ESN KTU, ESN VMU, ESN KK; Where? Kaunas University's of Technology IIIrd palace (Laisvės al. 13); When? 10 am - 3 pm; Attending?Official event.
Organized by: ESN ŠU; Where? Social Welfare and Disability Studies of Šiauliai University (P. Višinskio g. 25); When? 10 am - 2 pm; Attending? Official event.
National Platform of ESN Lithuania which has started exactly one week ago gathered more than 80 participants for the first time in the history of the country. ESN KuK faced a challenge to welcome 13 delegations of the sections, ESN LT Alumni team, NB, special guests from ESN Italy and even former ESN International president Emanuel Alfranseder. “Coming back to Klaipeda 2 years after the last NP organized there, helps to understand how far ESN Lithuania did go and what a great family it did become when all NP used to fill only half of the Aula back then and nowadays even additional chairs are used” says one of the participants.
Agenda also can be called richer than it has ever been. Feedback from various international events as CEP Košice, CNR Florence, SECM Prague, NBM Timisoara and the recent one CND Lodz was given. ESN Lithuania has beaten its own records having more than 20 delegates in international ESN events during the last quarter. Presentations about national and international ESN projects were given, work of international ESN Committees was presented, ESN ways of communication of various levels were covered. ESN Italy shared experience of their work while Emanuel presented specifics of working in international level of ESN. Small sessions and workshops were organized for better implementation of the knowledge and developing of some new ideas. Rumor has it that Responsible Party may have its new era coming!
While waiting for rumors to become official announcements it is worth to appreciate real changes which were made. 11th section of ESN Lithuania was approved under the name of ESN SMK. Vilnius Academy of Arts became second candidate section and from now on holds ESN VDA name. Few more changes concerning the names of NB positions were made. Public Relations Officer from now on is called Communication Manager and Projects Coordinator was changed to Projects&Events Coordinator. Newly old candidate for the latter position was reelected: NP was greeting Sandra Rimavičiūtė for the second term. Without all of that the one and the only ESN LT mascot was finally presented – Gilius LTU!
National Platform No. 17 was closed in the evening of December 15th with many wishes for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hopefully holidays will be useful and inspiring break before the new grand season which will definitely bring many changes. Are you interested how we are going to look like in one year? It depends only on us, so let’s do our best.
During the last weekend of September (28-29th) National Platform of ESN Lithuania took place under the roof of Vilnius University. More than 15 hours of discussions and decisions resulted in getting to know each other better, gaining experience and ideas from other sections since 9 of them were participating, together with ESN LT Alumni, our candidate section ESN SMK and ESN LEU, which has just applied for candidate status. New members, ideas and suggestions, negotiations and problems solving – 2 days full of ESN Lithuania policy making.
28th of September
On Saturday after sections from Kaunas, Šiauliai and Klaipėda have reached the capital and people from Vilnius have gathered together National Representative Simona Patašiūtė together with CT Vytenis Danyla have opened the Platform with motivating speeches and inspiration for every single ESNer in Lithuania. Afterwards CEP and CND were presented together with opportunities to join them and gather some international experience there. Later on some local experiences were shared with the entire network while ESN VGTU representatives gave a presentation about Summer Camp’13, organized already for the 3rd time in ESN Lithuania history and probably not for the last one.
During the rest of the morning NP was listening to different kinds of reports and presentations given by ESN LT Alumni network, which have even prepared awards for every section for their best project of the recent period. Tomas Tamulevičius has shared his experience in Eduk8 seminar Trainings 4 Trainers, which has happened more than a month ago in Romania and motivated him to apply for the HRC position in the NB. National project coordinator Sandra Rimavičiūtė has presented previous and made an introduction to the present ESN Sea Battle stating clear that it is still one of the most successful ESN projects ever, always sold out within first hours. One more successful project of ESN was presented by the guest of our NP – Xrisa Soulele from ESN Greece, who has presented us SocialErasmus and Erasmus in Schools initiative in her home country.
After the lunch all the rest of the time was dedicated for the reports of the sections and their activities of the recent quarter: welcoming weeks were presented along with mentors activities, which are playing the main role during the first days of exchange students in Lithuania. Presentations were followed by the open discussion initiated by the CT where sections shared their thoughts about the work done by the colleagues. After closing it together with the first day of NP everyone was invited to meet up in the city centre for non-formal activities.
29th of September
Day for the decision making has finally come. After listening to 10 different reports, questions and comments one thing became clear, that NB 2012-2013 deserves one huge THANK YOU for the time they have invested with no return, for the skills for helping to improve ESN Lithuania, patience and comprehension, attempts to inspire volunteers of the network and to help them with going further – for all of it and much more NP expressed their gratitude for the President Gintarė Vaiginyte, National Representative Simona Patašiūtė, Public Relations Officer Sandra Baltkojytė, Project Coordinator Sandra Rimavičiūtė, Marketing Coordinator Simas Ivanauskas, IT Coordinator Laurynas Rašimas, SocialErasmus Coordinator Kristina Selezniova, Human Resources Coordinator Vydūnas Pakrijauskas, Sea Battle Coordinator Karolis Sakalauskas and last but not the least Responsible Party Coordinator Indrė Kasiliauskaitė.
Not only members of the latter NB gave their presentation, but also a special guest from our partner Scanbalt Experience has arrived to present himself and to discuss possibilities for future cooperation. After the last speech it was already the time to start voting for the new NB and other important matters.
After sections have expressed their will it came clear that the new Board for 2013-2014 goes as follows: President – Vytenis Danyla; NR – Simona Patašiūtė; HRC – Tomas Tamulevičius
PR Officer together with the Project Coordinator stay the same until the next National Platform.
If National Platform one day would decide to limit National Board to one person it would be this position remaining. Position taken by the same lady two years in a row. She has seen, done and experience a lot during these years – from the presentation of her candidacy online to becoming the president of ESN Lithuania, reviving ties with Education Exchanges Support Foundation, organizing Mentors’ Days 2012 and establishing ESN in Lithuania as an official organization. What does it take for Gintarė Vaiginytė to keep organization moving and what does it mean to be responsible for the great part of that? Let’s hear Gintarė answering to all of these questions.
Hello, Ms. President! How does it feel to know that it is your last month as a head of ESN Lithuania at least for now?
I have never thought about that before. Hmmm. I am happy, I got a lot and I gave a lot to ESN in Lithuania. I am sad at the same time too, it`s hard to leave the “family” and it`s doesn’t matter how many hard, complicated moments I had. I feel like a student during the last night before an exam. I know that I did as much as I could, but at the same time I had a feeling that something is still not perfect enough. Maybe my mark will be the best at the end.
Are you planning to stay in ESN for longer? What do you think about our ESN LT Alumni network and former members joining it? Are you planning to become one of them?
At this moment I don’t have any plans with ESN, but I don’t what God plans for me. As my friend from Czech Republic repeated me all the time: never say never. Well, my opinion about ESN LT Alumni… The idea is sweet and I wish all the best for this project. As I said, at this moment I don’t have any plans with ESN, but I don`t know about tomorrow.
What thing within two recent years as ESN Lithuania’s president you are mostly proud of?
I am proud of my colleagues. Without all of them, anything would never have happened. I am proud of how big and strong ESN Lithuania grew up in general. I am proud of ESN LT being a lead by many aspects for the other ESN countries or sections.
How does it feel to take your position? What features should have perfect president?
For the first second it feels just awesome, for the next second OMG! What have I done? And for all the rest of years – come to this position and you will see how many feelings at the same time it gives. The perfect president: The leader by nature. Complete extrovert. The realist and of course a friendly person.
Has the time in the National Board helped you to improve personally? How much?
Absolutely YES. It did a lot.
How would you describe typical ESNer?
Look at yourself, are you typical ESNer? It`s impossible to describe, for ex. I could ask you to describe typical human being, could you? Of course no, human could be a girl or a boy, with long hair or bold and so on… It`s impossible to do it, everyone is the one and the only. Being a Volunteer – only one unifying feature of all of them, this is a typical ESNer for me.
How you would improve that image? What ESN Lithuania you would love to see in the future?
You should ask the new ESN LT President. All answers coming in the future.
What are things you would love to do if you would start ESN career from the very beginning? Is there something what every ESNer should seek to try?
I did or even I tried to do everything what I have planned in the beginning. Every ESNer should go for Erasmus studies and internship.
Maybe some more thoughts left?
Thank you very much to my board: Sandrai, Kristinai, Sandrutei, Simui, Simonai, Vydūnui, Laurynui, sections, Augustei, Orintai, Vytenui ir Justinui, Ievai, Giedrei and VGTU URD.
Thank you very much!
You have just read an interview with our present ESN Lithuania President Gintarė Vaiginytė. We hope, you have enjoyed it!
ESN Lithuania and its Public Relations have grown a lot during the recent few years. Now is the time to step further and to try something new and innovative.
It is an official ESN Lithuania's Newsletter, which subscription was released only few hours ago inviting all the network to unite and to have basic knowledge of what is happening in Lithuania under the sky of ESN.
With the help of ESN Graphics Team, work of ESN LT PR Officer and inspiration of ESN LT NR the project hopefully will be successful enough to encourage all the rest of the network in LT to participate and to add their own details into this initiative.
First news will be released in Lithuanian language. In case of high interest from abroad, language might be changed to English.
Responsible Party is a project implemented all across Europe. It’s about smart and simple tips everybody actually knows but doesn’t use while drinking to avoid getting totally wasted. Most of people miss opportunity to join these parties because of the wrong opinion. They say that Responsible Party is the one where the use of alcohol is prohibited but it is not like this. Every RP ambassador would tell you that it’s even healthy to have a glass of wine during your meal every day. And drinking in parties is also available – we just want to stop “binge” drinkers.
The most interesting thing of being a part of this project is organising parties. Preparing everything from the very beginning is like one huge creativity game. First of all we choose dates, then party themes. After theme is chosen we start brainstorming about party activities. It is really nice when ambassadors meet for their first times in their lives just for this project and they start relaxing together, hanging out with one goal – to make the best party each time. We had really great ideas which made us enjoy our parties such as ambassadors “disco” dance, which attracted people not only to watch but also repeat our moves and make not planned flash mob inside of the club.
Really great experience was parties in other Lithuania’s towns. It was like team building for ambassadors because we spent a lot time together while preparing to go there. We were singing and taking “Responsible Family” pictures, preparing perfect dinner before the party and then going to rule the club! Of course, we couldn’t avoid challenges. On the way to one party which took place 400 km away from Vilnius, one of our tires burst but we didn’t stop, we have reached the party and spread RP spirit.
This project taught all of us many things. We can react fast and smart in critical situations, we know much more people, our point of view to drinking and partying has changed. Some ambassadors learnt a lot about drinking, health, humans’ body, some of them found new friends, good friends, some – their second couples.
After small ambassadors quiz with a question “What is Responsible Party for You?” almost everyone of them answered the same. They said, that this project gave opportunity to understand how important could be good company, socialising, having fun by feeling free and making such a games as craziest photo competition or looking for your second half. We became one big nice and strong family experienced in organising events.
We do not say stop partying, we do not say stop drinking, we say ENJOY ALCOHOL. That’s what we actually did during whole year.
by Indrė Kasiliauskaitė, National RP Coordinator
After half of the cadency and the recent report of ideas realized during it National Platform was cheering for the work done by ESN Lithuania SE Coordinator Kristina Selezniova. Visiting schools, collecting coins, filming videos, contacting tens of people that projects would become real and even writing articles after all of that – this lady could teach us a lot about multitasking.
Today we will try to steal some of her time and find answers to questions why ESN and why Social Erasmus?
How did NBM in Dijon go? Came back with lots of motivation?
NBM was the great opportunity to see once again all the motivated and ESN-inspired personalities. People from different countries, different positions, with various experiences and ideas, but the same goal - ESN. The most motivational thing was Dijon OC team work – they were amazing! They thought about all the details and made our time in Dijon unforgettable, what once again proved, that together people can really do incredible things.
But it’s not your first international event. How the SE meeting in Brussels helped you for career in ESN?
I was elected as ESN Vilnius University social committee head in the end of 2012 spring. During few months of action I’ve realized that I really enjoy social activities, and during the summer I started to think about national position. But I still had questions and doubts – what it is and won’t it be too difficult to work on national level. But during SECM I was so impressed by what others are doing in their countries that I decided to be the one, who will motivate Lithuanians to reach higher in SE activities… and one week after SECM we had NP, where I was elected as first national SocialErasmus coordinator.
How does ESN Lithuania look in International context of SocialErasmus?
Recently we have uploaded one video-project (for “Global education week” 2012) on internet and international SocialErasmus coordinator Tarek Keskes commented on it: “ESN Lithuania ROCKS”. I think that what he really meant was that Lithuania really implement lots of various and original projects, in that way promoting SocialErasmus Lithuania activities much more than it was ever done before.
I believe that Lithuania really needed national SocialErasmus coordinator, but not because that sections were not realising social projects before. No. What we were really experiencing – lack of visibility – in local and International level. New ideas as well. And now we really work to make us visible – we write articles (even small ones on Lithuanian Ministry of Science and Education page), post photos and videos on Facebook and ESN Lithuania web page, upload videos on YouTube.
Which of the projects is your most favorite?
Difficult question! I like them all. But if I have to choose… I really like “Erasmus Unites” video, which was created for 2012 “Global Education Week” (because Erasmus students are speaking in Lithuanian and it’s perfect promotional material for “Erasmus in Schools” project implementing) and also our spring semester “Erasmus Post Cards” project, which, I hope, will become tradition of ESN Lithuania, because it is very simple and involves Erasmus exchange students into social activities from the early beginning.
What are the biggest challenges you face while coordinating SocialErasmus over entire Lithuania?
I think the biggest difficulty for sections and at the same time challenge for me, is too frequent changing people in local SE positions. It negatively affects transfer of knowledge about SE activities. But I try to compensate this by creating some guidelines about already implemented projects, by workshops during NPs and SocialErasmus coordinators’ meetings (we had one, but I hope there will be more of them in the future).
Who or what inspires you not to stop, to reach higher, go further, go social?
I think that the main motivation for me is my SocialErasmus coordinators team, who are realizing really wonderful ideas. After one and a half of semester I can bravely say that Lithuanian SocialErasmus coordinators’ team did a huge step forward – we are searching for new partnerships with other organizations or associations, we are not afraid to try something new, we try to be visible and share our experiences with each other. I’m really proud of my team ;)
For sure, another inspiration – active Erasmus exchange students, who are extremely happy having opportunity to discover Lithuania while participating in social activities. When in the end of semester Erasmus exchange student says me, that “SocialErasmus activities were the best moments of my Erasmus in Lithuania” I really believe that it’s worth doing.
What skills and character features should the following SE coordinator have to continue your successful work?
Inspiration and deep believe into this project – the best ideas come if the person believes in something, not forcing himself just to do one’s duty. That is the most important for SocialErasmus coordinator, whether on local or national level. And then – creativity – to have new ideas for projects, patience and flexibility – to transfer the knowledge and experience for new coordinators and finally, lots of optimism, to motivate ESN’ers and foreign students to be social.
And finally: why ESN and why SocialErasmus?
Thanks to ISI (International Student Initiative) — organization working like ESN in SciencePo de Grenoble (France), which helped me to discover France, its culture and people during my Erasmus exchange in there. After this wonderful time I decided that I also want to help others to discover Lithuania, but I never expected that my experience in France will lead me to such activity as SocialErasmus.
After my year experience in ESN I can assure that me, and other SocialErasmus coordinators, we not only help to get acquaintance with Lithuania to foreigners. We also experience it in new and unexpected ways by ourselves. And it is the biggest discovery for me.
On behalf of ESN Lithuania Board and entire of the network we thank Kristina for the successfully made effort during all the recent months. Keep up the sprit!