Elžbieta Janušauskaitė | Bring Together Lithuania stories
My name is Elžbieta Janušauskaitė and I am a student of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Although I was born in Vilnius and lived in Lithuania until the age of 6, the rest of my childhood and adolescence was spent living abroad in various European capitals. These included Minsk, Belgrade and Brussels, where I attended international and European schools. Due to my interest in international relations and socio-political change-making, I am currently interning at the European Commission Representation in Lithuania.
Growing up in such a multicultural environment brought forth many benefits, however, it also largely disconnected me from Lithuania. I joined Bring Together Lithuania with the primary goal of reconnecting to my country of birth and establishing personal and professional roots. However, from the very first week, I realized that I hoped to achieve much more during my two-month stay. I wanted to forge friendships and find professional connections that would incentivize more constant visits and would perhaps, lead to my eventual return.
I wanted to complete an internship at the European Commission Representation in Lithuania because I believed it would broaden my understanding of both Lithuanian and EU politics and how they impact each other. This exciting, yet challenging opportunity thus, provided me with the ability to understand and examine how the roles of national and supranational governments intersect and complement one another.
The most memorable part of the internship was the opportunity to participate in the preparation before European Commission President’s Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Vilnius. Through discussion with my colleagues and my own assignments, including writing reports on her visit, I gained a first-person experience of the breadth and importance of European engagement for Lithuania. It also provided me with a work experience that was singular and taught me skills I hope to use in the future. None of it would have been possible without the help of the Bring Together Lithuania team or the Kazickas Family Fund, both of which I am very thankful for.
“Bring Together Lithuania” is a fantastic opportunity for students with Lithuanian heritage to reacquaint themselves with modern Lithuania – with its infinite professional opportunities and lively cultural atmosphere. It is an exciting and innovative program that fulfills its professional, cultural and academic aspirations and allows its participants to do the same. The variety of events, ranging from meeting with heads of government to interactive visits with leaders in the private sector, are unique and worth the 6-week stay.
Throughout the duration of my stay, many of my preconceived notions of Lithuania and what it means to be a young member of the Lithuania diaspora radically shifted. As a consequence, I have become much more open to not only moving back to Lithuania but in being part of a larger movement for positive social and political change to remake Lithuania for the better.