Mentoring Program at VTDK
Meet our team of mentors 2019-2020 who take care after our Erasmus+ students!
I am a coordinator of the mentors’ team. I am enjoying this role very much. All the experiences that I gained working both with Erasmus students and mentors, means a lot to me. Joining the team as a coordinator made me to go out of my comfort zone much more often than I had expected it, but I liked it, because it helped me to grow as a leader. I challenged myself with a task to create a powerful, well trained team with a strong bond between each other so that to be able to help the international students. And I think I have managed to achieve it. Besides of working with the team, I also got in contact with the local Erasmus Student Network (ESN) in order to collaborate with them and co-host events so that we would have more diversity among our Erasmus student group and also to expand the network of foreign and local students.
I find myself very passionate to make these activities all happen. What makes me happy most is the bright faces of our international students who come to thank us for all our efforts for making their stay at the college enjoyable and fun.
One of the most memorable experiences for me from my involvement in the VTDK Erasmus+ club was participating in the volleyball tournament. The event took place at Vilnius University (VU) sport facility and it was organized by VU ESN branch – it was one of many events that our club joined in. To be honest, our team “The Waiters” – 3 erasmus students and 3 mentors – was not made of the best volleyball players, but nevertheless, what made our team strong was our passion for group work and the volleyball! As the team captain, I can honestly say that I’m proud of every single one of the team members, because despite of having so little experience as a team, we still managed to have a lot of fun and spent our time with great amusement. Despite only one of four rival team got served by ours, we are still the champions in my heart. #the_waiters_ftw
Coming with Erasmus+ programme to Lithuania doesn’t only mean that students are getting to know our country’s culture. We, Erasmus mentors, are interested in getting to know foreign cultures as much as sharing our own. One of my most memorable memories was greeting two students at the airport that came from Turkey. We had pretty tough time getting back to dorms with all the luggage. Despite all the struggles and hurdles the girls had to overcome during their trip and withdrawal exhaustion, they still wouldn’t let me go without tasting traditionally made Turkish coffee as a nice first time meeting gesture. I was amazed by this kind of hospitality, especially when they were the ones travelling over here. These little moments let us put everything in perspective and get to know your nationality and the personality that comes with it, which is the most efficient way to bond.
I have been in VTDK Erasmus club for almost four years now and I have so many good memories – it is even hard to choose for describing the best ones. My first experience with Erasmus students was a nice picnic in a park. Maybe it sounds like nothing special, but to hear their own stories, the histories of their countries, play some funny games and just have a good time with them was amazing. Those people inspired me later to go study abroad with Erasmus+ program myself. To be honest, the students who come to study to Lithuania are always so nice and they participate in all the events that we organize. We always had fun with the amazing Erasmus students that I have met during my years in the Erasmus club. I believe that some of them will stay my friends for a lifetime, even though we’re living in different countries.
I think every mentor could agree that being a part of such a diverse and big family is something that you can experience once in a life. It’s a superb feeling to connect with people you wouldn’t ever meet without Erasmus given opportunities. As a mentor I feel obligated to care for our mentees as they do the same. They share their stories, cultural aspects of their countries, experiences in various fields of education or their life abroad. It’s good to see how different and alike we are at the same time. The first big event that I was a part of was a PubCrawl and it was the most exciting and thrilling event that I have ever been to. Me and another mentor Šarūnas even managed to infiltrate in one of the groups as the Erasmus students. We had so much fun and when the truth came out we shared some laughs with the mentees themselves. I was able to meet other mentors, mentees and make some new friends. I’m a first-year mentor, but seeing how much our team has accomplished till now, I’m safe to say, that from here it just starts getting better and better. Every event or a meeting is meaningful just as our teams’ job here. I’m happy to be the part of this family and I look forward to the new adventures and opportunities to grow.
It all starts with us, the mentors, exchanging messages with our new friends, Erasmus students, before their arrival to Vilnius. When they arrive here, we meet them at the airport, accompany them to the dormitory, and answer all their questions that they have for us.
And all the fun afterwards begins at the events. The first one is the introduction day where all the mentors introduce themselves to their mentorees. This day stands out with a lot of laughter, awkward silences and new friendships with the students from different countries. In the following meetings and events you get to know those students more in person, you learn from them and also find out various new things with them that you didn’t seem to know they would even exist. And that is why I find it so amazing to be a part of this Erasmus mentorship program!
During my mentoring period I discovered from another angle how different cultures and hobbies of people can be. I started to look at things differentely. The best part of my participation in the mentorship program were the events. During the Introduction Day you immediately understand how friendly the foreign students are. You are amazed by their expressions during the trips, when they see cultural objects for the first time or taste Lithuanian food and are very much surprised about it. You are amazed when they laugh while trying to say Lithuanian words as if from a joke they heard for the first time and you think that there is nothing special here for us. And then you realize what a joyous experience it is to travel around other countries, to see other cultures and the everyday lives of the people that live there!
I became an Erasmus club mentor in autumn 2019. This was an awesome opportunity for me to upgrade my own Erasmus experience and it gave me a possibility to see how Erasmus looks like from another perspective. In the beginning, my job was helping Erasmus students with casual things such as: how to get to the dormitories, find shops and other services. We have created an Erasmus survival guide that was distributed to the Erasmus students, which made the process of their integration easier.
I was a reporter at the Welcome Party, and I presented Lithuania with the help of other mentors. I also did a quiz for international students and organized ice-breaking games. We collaborate in creating the events with other universities. In this way it is great to make friends from other countries! Overall, I can say that joining Erasmus mentors group it is the best experience possible if you don’t want to go abroad for Erasmus studies or practice – in this way you can learn about Erasmus program and benefit from it while hosting the international students.
I have joined the VTDK Erasmus+ club in autumn 2019 and I am the newest mentor in the team. I will never forget the feeling that I had when I met my first mentee. Even though I had some experience with other Erasmus students before, I was very excited and worried at the same time about my new responsibilities. Despite of that, after meeting my mentee for the first time I saw that there was nothing to worry about and immediately we became friends. It is a great feeling to help others and to teach them about our culture while learning about theirs at the same time.
By becoming a mentor you have an opportunity to feel like you are travelling around the world through meeting new people from different parts of the world, while actually staying at home and enjoying your time with Erasmus students!