My name is Lina Kvizikevičiūtė. I was an active member of ESN Vilnius University from very start of 2014 to... the moment I went for exchange by myself.
Usually, stories of joining ESN start with the end of exchange, but mine was different. I started being a mentor for exchange students, but step after step (had a pleasure to fulfil duties of SocialErasmus, HR coordinator, vice-president and local representative) I became a president of ESN Vilnius University at January 2015, after previous president of the section left for Erasmus internship,. One of the duties of the president is to participate in Annual General Meeting (AGM) in ESN to represent the university. After this event and all attention our section had from the administration of the university, I was invited to join international relations team at faculty of economics. Even it meant that my path in local level had to end, I kept working with international students. I was still active in national (created and led national HR committee) and international (working in Network committee) level of ESN, I became non-formal education trainer at Eduk8 Starter Timisoara in 2016 and kept delivering training both in and outside ESN. Nevertheless all activities with members of ESN, I missed this Erasmus feeling by myself and people around me kept teasing me: “Lina, so you are international relations administrator, working with exchange students every day, but you haven’t been on exchange by yourself. How it is even possible?” I feel that exchange is an essential part of studies, so decided to jump into driving away train and take the last opportunity of exchange. During the 4th year of my studies I went to Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and it marked the end of my career as international relations administrator and ESN member.
As people say – ESN changes lives. I think that ESN itself does not teach you anything. It just creates possibilities and you are the one to take them. I took everything I wanted and learnt a lot. Constant stepping out of comfort zone taught me the importance of communication, taught me to defend my opinion, make decisions here and now, to speak publicly without a fear. All those little steps led me to the person I am now and shaped my values, my view of the world, my future career path. Any volunteering experience is a great start of journey of meeting true yourself.
My name is Živilė.
I joined ESN Vilnius University after I got home from my exchange in Belgium. I learned about ESN there, and had an idea to check if there is one in Lithuania – and wow, there was, founded even in 2003! I sent my application, went to auditions for becoming a mentor and an ESNer, and in 2014 June I joined the local board of ESN Vilnius University by becoming the coordinator of Partnerships and Leisure affairs. I was terrible at finding partners, but organizing the “after-school” events was the main thing driving me here. Not only that I had around ten mentees as a mentor from the very first mentoring semester which in total was around twenty or more, I met probably five times more the most crazy, nicest and adventurous people from all over the world, and they all still have a special place in my heart.
It’s incredible how fast you can climb the career ladders in ESN. Second semester already and I became the Vice-president, which also led me to becoming the President of my section for the 2015-2016 academic year. I got leadership, team building skills, finding compromises in the most difficult situations. Being the example that people would follow was my main personal goal. Being the person that people would come for any advice, the person, who would be working both for exchange students and for the good of organization was my goal of the position I had – whether I succeeded or not, it is up for you to decide.
ESN gave me opportunities to meet dozens of people from all the continents, to be the part of an enormous international family – it may sound silly, but the feeling of unity while standing among hundreds people from other cultures gives you goosebumps and the realization, that we are indeed united in diversity.
If you ever join ESN, do not make it your whole life. Make it a tool to improve your best personal skills, to get new ones, to learn about the world and most important – find friends. I succeeded at that and I left ESN with a big smile on my face, because it was one of the best decisions in my crazy life. Though, once you become a real ESNer, you stay ESNer for your whole life - not by showing your fancy ESNcard, but by always having it in your heart and soul. And in the end, what matters is finding comfort and support from those who let you be a part of their world.
I am Darija.
I joined ESN Vilnius University in 2012. At first I was just a simple mentor with a bunch of mentorees from different countries of the world. But that was not enough for me. Soon I joined Responsible Party team and became Responsible Party ambassador. That was not enough as well and after my first semester in the organization I became leisure affairs coordinator - board member. Guess what? It was not enough! After two more months I became a vice president and later a president of ESN Vilnius University. My “carrier” in ESN VU ended in June, 2014 and at the moment I am the head coordinator of ESN Lithuania Alumni.
Representing ESN VU in Youth in Action project in Romania, organizing tons of ESN VU events, solving expected and unexpected issues, representing ESN VU during CEP in Slovakia, establishing cooperation with ESN-EYE Lodz, working with totally different people, representing ESN VU during AGM in Italy, mentoring 27 students from 9 different countries, teaching others, participating in 8 ESN Lithuania NP’s, organizing 2 NP’s of ESN LT, cooperating with other sections, agencies, companies… All of that and even more just in 2 amazing years with ESN. It was the best time of my life and I can safely say that ESN changed my life.
I am Renata.
My ESN story started in December 2010, when I participated in my first mentors training of ESN Vilnius University. When I found out that our university has such an organization as ESN, I knew, it was exactly what I was looking for. Communication with foreign people, helping them and using foreign languages, the three things I liked doing a lot in my free time. I started volunteering as a mentor in spring 2011 till spring 2014. While mentoring foreign students for 2 years, I felt a necessity to do something more than that. I wanted to help ESN Vilnius University and its members. That’s why I chose to be a Senior Mentor. In spring and autumn 2013 I had a great time coordinating groups of Lithuanian mentors, advising them on all questions related to mentoring foreign students. It was a nice experience sharing my knowledge with new members of the organization. After some time I thought of becoming a Human Recourses coordinator. An idea of selecting new members, organizing trainings for them, taking care of other members’ well-being seemed to be an interesting and challenging activity. So, I was lucky to be elected for this occupation for autumn semester in 2013. Eventually, elections of new board members in spring 2014 came. After constant work with mentors and ESN’ers, I needed something more serious and more challenging. At last, I tried to become a vice-president of ESN Vilnius University and I succeeded! I was happy to help our organization in a totally different higher level. Since, I believe, all sections have many things to work on, to develop, to improve and to be better at, because there are no limits for perfection; my wish was to see ESN Vilnius University members feeling proud of being a part of this organization, and also grateful for getting various amazing opportunities and experience from it. To conclude my story, the slogan that came to my mind once: “We care, we help, we share!”, in my opinion, depicted mentors job the best and so it became a slogan of ESN Vilnius University. I feel proud of being a part of this wonderful ESN section.
I am Kornelija.
My ESN story started in 2012 – I needed changes and ESN offered me even more: a challenge and opportunities. I began as a mentor and then joined SocialErasmus activities. In this committee I’ve gained a lot of experience in organizing and promoting social actions, met amazing people and…I was encouraged to go further! So, the next semester I was elected as a Human Resources coordinator. After that, I went to Poland to be an Erasmus student and someone‘s mentoree myself! It wasn’t enough – after coming back to Lithuania, I became HR coordinator once again. During these two years, ESN helped me to learn a lot of new things. I am really proud that today I can share my experience and knowledge with new mentors and help them to prepare for an amazing adventure called mentoring. If you want to experience something new, improve and gain more self-confidence – ESN is the place to be!
I m Kristina.
I joined ESN family in 2012 after my Erasmus semester in France - 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. 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, so I decided to be the one, who will motivate Lithuanians to reach higher in SocialErasmus activities and during autumn National platform I was elected as first national SocialErasmus coordinator. Visiting schools with the project „Erasmus in schools“, collecting coins for charity, filming videos, painting benches in the city center, plating „Erasmus forest“... – we have implemented lots of meaningful projects! Erasmus exchange students are extremely happy having opportunity to discover Lithuania while participating in social activities... and after my experience in ESN I can assure that me, and other ESNers, 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. „Reach higher! Go further! Go Social!“ – SocialErasmus moto became a moto of my life.
I am Inga.
People say that if you have friends, you are rich. Then I could say that I‘m a millionaire.. J
My ESN story started in 2010. I was a nerd who‘s life included only studying and playing the violine. But one day my friend opened my eyes. These four years should be a new page and the best in my life, because they will never come back, only memories will be left. I realised that it is true and it is not enough to be just a student, a student who perfectly knows many formulas and can tell a lot about few figures, but doesn‘t know what is living in diversity, being a part of pot of cultures when all the walls are going down and you never know what country tomorrow you will have to move to or what nationality will be a person you will have to work with. ESN was what I exactly needed. At first it looked like one huge party, but later it surpassed all my expectations. It was not about watching from the distance, it was about learning by doing. I not only improved language skills, met people from all over the world, but also learned many things that were and still are usefull in my real life every single day.
I am Justas.
I started my path in ESN as a simple mentor. I enjoyed it so much that when the opportunity came I became a Senior Mentor of ESN VU. Having seen what it is like to be a member of ESN as a mentor, I wanted more so I joined the Social Erasmus committee in which I found what I wanted to do. Spread ideas and thoughts of being socially active and of course how Erasmus students are caring and thoughtful, at the same time I wanted to make ESN VU a fundamentally sound organisation. In order to do that I co-wrote the regulations of ESN VU and the contract for mentorees. Not to speak in terms my job was to plan and coordinate the policy and strategy of ESN VU. Now I am a part of ESN Lietuva Alumni. Everything mentioned here happened because I started as a small cog in a superb organisation called ESN. ESN helped me a lot, so now I am going to give it all back as a member of ESN Alumni. It may have been hard, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
I am Augustė.
When I joined ESN Vilnius University family, I was a 2nd course student at VU, I was studying Lithuanian philology and Finnish. The main reason for joining an ESN mentor program was a strong desire to improve my English speaking skills and I did it! After a year, I joined the SocialErasmus committee at ESN Vilnius University and became a coordinator of language tandem ELL – Enjoy Learning Languages, organized Movie Nights. Afterwards I started to coordinate a new language teaching project Multilingual Lithuania. Now, after 2.5 years being a part of ESN I can say that it was more than just gained English knowledge. During this time ESN became my lifestyle, ESN helped to realize myself and helped me grow as a person.
I am Julija.
I started my journey at ESN Vilnius University in 2009 when I was chosen to be a mentor and after that, I never looked back. After a year of mentoring, I became a Senior Mentor and a member of the National Board as a Project coordinator. In the same year we started to work with Responsible Party project. With time passing by I had more and more duties which included being a Senior Mentor, Vice-President of ESN VU and Project coordinator of ESN LT. After doing my best for the semester, I had been reelected as the Project coordinator in the National Board and the Vice-president of ESN VU. During this time I was a big part in the inaugural meeting of Lithuania‘s ESN network that is now called „Erasmus studentų tinklas ESN Lietuva“. I signed in the documents as the secretary of the organisation. At the beginning of the next semester in 2013 I became the president of ESN VU and that led to my resigning from the National Board of ESN LT. In December of 2013 I ended my wonderful time in ESN Vilnius University. That never stopped me. Right after leaving I joined the Alumni club. On 2013 February 1st I solemnly participated in the Inaugural meeting of ESN Lietuva Alumni in which we started our work as an official part of ESN Alumni and we‘ve grown ever since. Not to forget I was a Vice coordinator in ESN LT Alumni. To sum up ESN is in my blood.