Month full of adventures

Hello everyone! I am Kotryna from Lithuania and I am an Interreg volunteer in Lithuanian Countryside Tourism Association. Currently I am working with AGRI-HERITAGE Project. I started this volunteer experience in the middle of February and it will last for me till the end of July.

Today I wanted to tell you why this month is very special and interesting for me. In the beginning of May my Association and Latvian Countryside Tourism Association corporate event “Open days” (rural version) took place in both countries. This event is the result of Agri-Heeritage project so I was working with it from the beginning. This event took place in Lithuania for the second year in a row, so my colleagues were quite aware of what we needed to do to succeed. So with their help I was working with this project and mostly with its advertising, marketing. As well I needed to find different participants from rural areas to join the event, I made advertising strategies for them, I communicated about them in our social media and in our official website, I helped to create the map of those areas and to spread it all over the country, etc. I loved this work, because every day I was doing different things and I gained new experience in different fields.

In 11th-13th of May this event took place in Lithuania and I with my colleagues decided to visit few objects and to make a little trip for ourselves. On Friday all of us (8 people) visited 3 different places and had a great, funny time. The weather was amazing so the mood was great as well. All of us needed this journey to relax form work and stress.

The first place we visited was Creativity and Busyness “Stuba” where we met great women who told us about her idea and motivation to work with kids and families. We had morning tea at her place, we took loads of photos and after that we visited nice church which was near and moved on.

After that we visited really nice farmstead with even nicer host. We spent few hours here, traveled around farmstead’s area. We enjoyed swings, cable which we needed to pass (rope tight in the air between two trees) and traditional Lithuanian snacks.

Our last stop was restaurant in the Manor house. We had amazing lunch, sincere conversation and after that we had the opportunity to visit exhibition in the Manor house. We were the first people to see the exhibition, because it was about to open just next day. Our trip ended here and we headed home to enjoy the weekend.

Then, in the beginning of next week, I needed to finish my Bachelor’s thesis. And I did that! It was quite stressful time but my colleagues supported me and I made it on time. Also in the middle of that week Lithuanian Countryside Tourism Association had Season opening event.

For three days I and my colleagues went to our Association member place (“Dvarčėnų“Manor, about 2 hours away from our office) where we organized really nice event. The first day of our visit there was only work for preparing (building photo wall, getting ready registration place, creation of nomination gifts and etc.). Second day we woke up really early, had breakfast and started the event. I was working with registration of people; more than 150 people came to our season opening and I needed to welcome them, write down credentials and to redirect all of them to specific place.

There were 4 seminars/notifications, contact fair, outside was scene with singers and dancers. A lot of important and interesting people came to our event to say greeting’s speech.

After official part we had lunch and trip to three farmsteads. (To tell you the truth, I wanted to stay in one of them for longer time. It’s the paradise on earth).

After trip we came back to the Manor and had unofficial part (dinner, Dj, nomination part, boat trip, ect.). In the morning we settle everything up and went on another trip to “Čepkelių raistas”. Even it is in my country, it was the first time I was here. It is a swamp with really nice viewing platform, paths for walking. We had the guide so it was really interesting to visit this place.

Before going home I with two colleagues stopped near the Pyramid of Merkine. It’s a spiritual place, so after all of rushing, emotions and just a little of sleep it was an amazing place to stop by and to think everything over and to say thanks for everything.

And after this active week (from 11th of May till 17th of May) I got the day off from my boss. During this rushing with bachelor and work I had too little time for myself and I thought that events in the Association are over. But next Saturday I went to Vilnius to “AgroBalt” 2018 exhibition.

In this exhibition me my mentor and other colleague represented Lithuanian Countryside Tourism Association. As well we waited for two volunteers from European Commission. They took some photos of us and took the interview about our experience as volunteers and about our project. For me it was really hard to talk with them because I am afraid to talk in front of the camera even in my native language and here I needed to talk about project, my volunteer experience in foreign language. It was quite a challenge for me. After filming our interview they promised to make a nice video and to share it with all IVY community.

So I wanted to tell you my experience with these three events which gave me a lot of new feelings and memories. Everything happened in one month so I realize how much is going on in my life and that most of it is because of IVY. I am really grateful of this opportunity; I can see how much it gave to me already. For me very important part is that I could wrote my bachelors thesis and to work with new project at the same time. (Next week I hope I will defend my Bachelor’s thesis and I will get a degree. Hopefully). And after that I believe I will experience more with this volunteering program and I hope it will help me to understand what I would love to do after this summer.

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