Tuesday, June 4, 2013

If I’m lucky, I’ll go back to Lithuania someday. Until then, iki!

Even after nearly a month home from Lithuania, I still think about it every day. My experience interning at the US Embassy was incomparable and I really value the opportunity I had to learn about diplomacy as well as the culture, government and history of the region.

My 12-week experience in Lithuania really flew by. I stayed busy and had the opportunity to do a myriad  things, from representing the Embassy at cultural programs and outreach visits around the country, to leading discussions at movie nights, and even dancing around Vilnius for Violence against Women awareness.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to several towns and cities, including Kaunas, Kėdainiai, Tytuvėnai, Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Rokiškis, Trakai, and Marijampolė

I saw inconceivably beautiful cathedrals, frozen lakes and rivers, astonishing forests, and fascinating museums and cultural sights. I learned about an array of things, including the path to the restoration of independence in 1990, the Jewish history, the thriving art scene that exists in Lithuania, and so much more. This internship marked my third trip to Lithuania, but I continue to learn about and love Lithuania more and more with each stay.

My favorite part of my experience in Lithuania by far was the people. There is truly something special about those who I had the opportunity to meet in Lithuania, whether it was local staff and local interns at the Embassy, the attendees of the movie nights and other events, or the numerous students and teachers that I met during outreach visits. There was a human spirit and feeling of hospitality that is unlike anywhere else. Some of my best memories are times spent with local staff at the Embassy, like spinning eggs on the floor around Easter time and even just drinking coffee and hearing their stories. 

I was provided insight about the history, language and culture that would be impossible to learn from a class or museum, and my colleagues at the Embassy really became some of my best friends by the end of it. These relationships are invaluable and they made my internship experience and time in Lithuania all the more enriching.

This was a great opportunity to expand and grow, personally, academically and professionally. What I gained while I was there was more than I could have ever imagined or wished for and I hope that all future Embassy interns and visitors to Lithuania will have a similar great experience!

If I’m lucky, I’ll go back to Lithuania someday. Until then, iki! J

// Sara