Ana Raposo Fragata from Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave/ Portugal

Laba diena, Olá, I am Ana Fragata, a Graphic Design student from Portugal and this was my first abroad experience and first time leaving my country.

My experience as an Erasmus student was extremely gratifying. Not only Lithuania as a country captivated me with its beauty, but my knowledge and independece also extended themselves in ways I had never learned before or had the opportunity to.

In my university in Portugal, IPCA in Barcelos, despite it being a great course, with a lot of information and learning techniques, it is also quite more difficult in terms of organization of time, since it’s less but bigger projects instead of smaller ones in short time like in VTDK. I appreciated that a lot since I managed to explore not only my ability to come up with ideas on the spot and develop my creativity and also did a lot more projects, expanding my kowledge in diferent areas of studies. I had never gotten such a oportunity to work on an art office, where I could literally use presses and try different manual techiques, that was one of my biggest pleasures while studying here in VTDK. Also, the fact that some of our projects were featured in real events of the country, like Tindiris animation festival and a Poster for Digital Christmas for the city of Vilnius recognized by the European Parlament, made me extremely proud of my works and inserted on the community as a graphic designer. Also, I had a lot of freedom regarding my creativity and the teachers were always available to give smart advices to make my work better and to improve my previous knowledge.

My favourite thing to do on my free time was get coffee somewhere and explore the city, I was always looking for diferente places to explore and travel too. That whole experience on a new city and exploring brought my inspiration to a whole new level and I always had time to go around and try new things. I advise Cuproom, Circle K and Caif Caffe for some good coffee by the way. Also, the transportation through the city is quite easy to understand and cheap, especially if you have the ISIC card, so money, in terms of transportation, was never a problem. Also, the snow, ice skating and the whole mood autumn/winter time brings, loads of people playing in the snow, going on walks families having fun, lots of forests to visit and green spaces, lots of gardens, all of this was all so new to me that there was no way not to love it.

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Our mentors were also quite nice, they helped us with anything we needed and were always creating some events for us to participate. Because of Covid-19 some of the things we couldn’t do, but we had a dinner in a Pancake restaurant and it was an experience that left me happy because of the restaurante initiative to accept workers with genetic disorders like Trisomia 21. We did a picnic/barbecue on the Green Lakes, we had a virtual reality experience and it was amazing, absolutey incredible, also, we did Christmas Decorations for the trees using different materials and it was such a comfortable enviroment, I always felt a part of the group and listened to regarding whatever questions I had.

I would recommend this institution especially because the freedom you have, the teachers, and the interesting projects they give you. People are quite respectful too and the classes go by quite fast, they are quite soft and I never felt pressured or stressed while working. There is also a lot of communication and teachers really listen to you. It has great spaces too, very modern and clean, with students exhibitions that make the corridors full of life and you have a gym for free during the week on the basement of the college.

My Erasmus experience is something I will never forget, it opened so many doors for my future, expanded my horizons and made me see there is so much to live for and through. It’s an experience I would advise anyone to do, it was so beautiful and made such a big difference in me not only as a student but also as a person, I will always remember this phase of my life with so much adoration and feel gratefull for the oportunity I was regarded with. Vilnius is a city full of life and experiences of a life time. I absolutely want to come back here sometime during my life, I felt at home and extremely praised, also, I had so many opportunities that it made me realise how easy it is to do something if you put your mind to it. I grew in this country, in this Experience, it will always be of great impact during my life. I hope everyone takes this chance when they can, and enjoy it as much as I did.

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