Notes from Baltic: post-EVS reflections and thoughts
It has been one month since I came back from Lithuania. I almost don’t believe it myself. I have spent a full year there volunteering in an EVS project in Biržai, at a regional museum. A lot of things happened in a year. Almost too many to count, remember, and write down.
One of my biggest achievements was learning Lithuanian. Ok, yes, I do speak a very broken Lithuanian, often without cases, but what matters is communication. I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn the language of the local community. This helps you make friends and integrate faster. I will not lie, at the beginning it seemed like a mission impossible to me. I almost gave up and then suddenly I was speaking Lithuanian.
I learnt to live in a small town and to be in touch with nature. Before I knew it, I was enjoying long solitary walks around the lake and in the forest. Nature had a calming effect on me and helped me better understand myself and my surroundings. I am not going to deny it, there were times when I craved the hustle and bustle of a big city.
When this would happen, I would go traveling. I visited eight new countries in one year. Words can’t describe how happy traveling makes me feel. I will forever remember the fairy-tale like Tallinn, imperial Saint Petersburg, and elegant Stockholm. Every meal, scent, shape and form of all these beautiful places I have visited is engraved in my memory.
I enjoyed immensely volunteering at the museum. I curated two exhibitions, created several different workshops, organized and managed annual Museum night event, worked on improving visitors’ experience, lead tours and beer programs in English and Spanish, and managed social media. This valuable experience has given me a new perspective on museum work and possibilities.
Ultimately, all of this would not be possible without all the amazing people I was lucky enough to cross paths with. These people have become my second family, people I can trust and confide in, people I laugh and cry with. That is why, if I was to choose again, I would choose Lithuania again.
Ačiū už viską. (Thanks for everything.)
Gorana Sekulić, EVS volunteer, Svitac (Firefly)