Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.

A month passed since I have arrived at Rotterdam as a participant at Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs program. And I would like to share my experience with you because I believe there is a bunch of my friends who want to open their own business but still not sure how, when and where.  Erasmus is here to help!

So while I was graduating from the University I was facing the same exact question that every single one of us faces – What will I do next? The answer for me was to hustle and open my own business one day. But saying that I want to open a business and actually doing it is two VERY different things. The fear of failing, not knowing where to start, not having enough money to invest and not having proper skills to do it, is a big scare when you put it all together. So I had to do something to overcome these fears and gain confidence in myself and my idea as well. So I started looking for opportunities to learn more about business and entrepreneurial skills, and I have stumbled upon this amazing program!Image result for erasmus for young entrepreneurs

Erasmus For Young Entrepreneurs is a program designed to encourage young entrepreneurs to learn new skills and gain experience from small business owners abroad. Since the program is financed by European Commision, everyone accepted to the program gets an opportunity to choose the country they want to go to for the program. There is a huge list of European Countries as well as few new participating countries such as USA , Singapore  and Israel  ! The program can last up to 6 months and you are provided with a financial support as well.

For me, this was a great opportunity because I already had a business plan that was lacking knowledge in certain areas, and this mentoring experience enables me to move forward with my business development way faster than I was expecting. I have chosen to go to the Netherlands since I am quite in love with this place, and I have found an amazing host organisation – Charlotte Wooning Jewellery Company. I have also chosen to do only 2 months of the program since I feel like it is the best time frame to learn about everything I want to know and gain some experience in the meantime. Since jewellery business usually doesn’t run big projects, I had to find my way around it and see what is the best way to learn and gain skills during these 2 months. The biggest benefit of the program for me is that my mentor – Charlotte, is open and able to answer all my questions and helps me to develop my business idea as well.

I feel truly lucky to be part of this program and after only one month of working here, I already gained the necessary knowledge and more importantly confidence to go forward with my own business. I feel way more mature and insightful after these crazy 30 days in Rotterdam, so I am dedicating November for hard prep and making contacts with retailers and suppliers, and putting all ideas that’s been sitting in my head, to the Word file!

42631182_1020483111444533_2114738387838566400_o.jpg

If you are interested in this opportunity as well you can get more information on it here, thank you for reading those Silly Stories!

#EIW2 #Erasmusforyoungentrepreneurs #EYEprogram

Saule.

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam so far.

Hey there, so few weeks passed since I moved my bags once again. I moved to the Netherlands for the second time, but this time is completely different from what I experienced while living in Amsterdam. While Amsterdam is full of tourists going all possible directions and absolute lifestyle madness, Rotterdam is filled with locals and you can feel Dutch culture way more here.

Let’s start with the city.

I could google all the stats for you, but I rather tell you what I make of it while living here so shortly. Firstly its a city of creative architecture. Probably all architecture students dream, each part of the town differs with eye-catching buildings as well as an interior design that you can see through big windows. Aside of architecture, Rotterdam has a lot of galleries and museums with first class art and exhibitions that is constantly changing, so you don’t feel like going to Tate modern and seeing same stuff for 5 years. I really appreciate the cultural vibe in this town. It seems like art is all around and it never leaves you bored while walking the streets.

Besides lively town vibes, it is the first time I can feel like a real outsider in this culture. It seems that everything I live by is done differently here. From tiny things to more psychological ones. Let’s start with tiny things. Dutch people keep their bread in the freezer at all times, and always eat sandwiches for lunch so they have to defrost it in the morning, so they are able to eat it at lunch. #careforbread

Secondly, Dutch people wash dishes in a sink full of water. And I really don’t understand how it works. You fill up sink with water and soap and then they wash dishes and put them to dry… but its soapy! So for past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to hack the system of saving water but having not soapy dishes. #blondnologicsorry

Stupid things aside, the biggest difference in the culture so far is work ethics. All my work experiences in Lithuania, Iceland and England has been crazy working hours, a lot of work and feeling like you have so much work you will never finish it. Endless emails, phone call, working overtime, doing other peoples work, etc. In Lithuania especially we are raised to think that you have to do hard work to be great. And even praise someone who worked all day, multitasked and got super tired doing so.  Here, on the other hand, is another world. So the first week I came here, I was so lost in the office I didn’t know what to make of it. Everyone was doing their jobs, with no rush and sweat. Everything was quiet and calm. No flying papers, no running all over the place and most importantly no bragging how hard the work is. After first week feeling like an alien, I finally understood what’s going on! Companies are hiring enough people! So marketing doesn’t need to do press, and goldsmiths don’t need to answer phones. Everyone has their own tasks and they are not overflowing with other work because there is no people to do it. This is something new for me. Usually, business owners try to hire as little people so they save money and think that one person can do all of it alone. This was the case in all of my work experiences. Firstly, I didn’t know what to make out of it, since I love work, and multitasking 24/7, but more I am here, more I understand that this relaxed work environment gives you time to be more creative, and to talk to people about life, and make you happier than a pile of papers do. I’ll let you know how it goes but for now, I still can’t adjust to this ‘non-madness’.

After all, I am finally understanding what being an outsider means. I always felt in my place wherever I went, but now I am sitting at the lunch table with people speaking Dutch, and feeling invisible. I wake up early, go to work, go home, cycle, read a book, and try to make the best of this. And I am learning from this experiences more than I’ve ever done from the comfortable environment ones. Because it’s all not like I used to, but it gives me so much to think off.

I don’t know. It’s weird, but it’s happy.

2018-09-29 16:47:09.998

Thank you for reading THOSE SILLY STORIES.

 

SOMEWHERE ELSE

So it goes like that – I grew up in Lithuania while travelling here and there for a bit. Seeing all those places my geography teacher were talking about. It was always great, no accidents, no missed planes, only the dream to travel and see places.

At the same day I handed in my last exam paper in high-school I was sitting in the place to Iceland. I have found a job in one of the most amazing places on earth and I went. Young and hungry for adventure I started my first proper job in the Glacier Lagoon. Living in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of strangers for 4 months. This one started the whole shabang that I’m about to explain.

 

So after shitty job in the most beutiful location in Iceland, I went on to study in Leicester. (Don’t ask me why there) The first year of studies went by and as I got myself feeling at home I started travelling, and used the opportunity to catch cheap flights from London. During 9 months I’ve visited a bunch of new countries and backpacked Marocco, Italy and France.

 

 

The time studying was so fast that I was soon to move back to Iceland. I spent another 4 months there working my ass off and earning money that I will be surviving on while studying. Moving back to Leicester was hard, since I have been living with storms and rain every day for the whole summer, going back to English weather was a good depression starter for sure. The second year at Uni was going great but then I decided to leave again. I packed my bag after the first semester and moved to Amsterdam for an Erasmus exchange. I have changed my home once again as well as the university. It was filled with people wanting to party and get to know each other and in the meantime I was trying to understand where is my home. I didn’t maned to do that, but I made a couple of good friends and lived in possibly the best city in the world. Oh I forgot to tell you that I fell in love as well! And then… i had to pack my bags an move again.

 

So broken heart and I’m of to Iceland again. This is my third ‘fake’ summer. I have managed to find a way better job in the East Fjords working in a proper kitchen with the most amazing group of people. Living these 4 months in the house that’s facing the sea. Walking in the empty beach and getting chased by angry birds. Experiencing real Icelanding slow life while still working 13-hour shifts. Somehow I made it alive and learned more than I was expecting. It’s 2018 September by now and I am used to my huge backpack and wrapping my broken luggage in plastic. I’m used to waking up way to early for the flights, and getting all soaked in sweat after dragging my stuff to the check-in desk. I’m used to giving my stuff away because they don’t fit in my bags. I’m moving back to England baby.

Last year in my BA started great, lots of cool tasks and assignments that started generating new business ideas for the future and really got me thinking what should I do next. Besides the crazy university schedule, I managed to get a job in one of the greatest kitchens in Leicester. I was studying in the morning and working in the evenings. Trying not to mind the grey weather and demotivating people around me that keep on bragging how busy they are. I have somehow pushed through 6 months of studying. And guess what? It was time to move again! haha if only I was kidding. So I packed up my bag and went to live in London for a month. Yap. It was in the middle of my grad year. So I completely ignored a month of uni and didn’t even start my dissertation, but I am unpacking in my new home in London. I have also got an internship in the Universal Music, Decca Records where I was working with the coolest musicians and professionals. So the month past pretty quick as London has a tendency to suck your time. Sleeping 4 hours each night for a month certainly didn’t do me much good, keeping in mind my empty pages of the dissertation that is due in a month.

 

I pack my bags and move back to Leicester to grab the uni by the balls. By some miracle I finish all the paperwork on time and I graduate with a First degree honours in Arts and Festival management or as named by me ‘BA in how the hell did I managed all of this’.

 

So since this chapter is over, and thinking about working 230 hours a month in cold ass Iceland gives me shivers, I decided to head back home and chill. So I pack my ‘home’ and leave. I am now living at my mom’s place in Lithuania with my stuff still in the boxes, because these past 3 months went so freaking fast with house maintenance, construction and part-time job that I decided to get because I obviously can’t just chill.

It’s now September and In a week I am leaving to Rotterdam with Erasmus Entrepreneurship program. I don’t know how to explain the feeling I have for moving again. When travellers say their home is where their heart is, I will never understand that. I think that travellers are over exaturating it because they have home where they go back every now ant then to repack their stuff, leave what they dont need for next 3 months and lay in their own bed. I think that moving home should not be compared with travelling, because I do not travel, I live just in more places than usual for 22 year old. I absolutely hate the feeling of not having proper home, and endless packing. I hate thinking if i can buy the shoes I really like because they might not fit in my bags, getting the parfume thats less than 100 ml otherwise it will be taken away from me at the airport. And most of all I hate it because it becomes almost imposible to be with someone and get into a serious relationship. Living this planned and at the same time sponatious life is not easy but its also what I somehow not able to avoid so far. When I find a cure for moving home ill let you know. But besides all the bad stuff, I love the opportunities I have to learn and experience everything I ever wanted to. I have been so lucky with all the work and travel opportunities that I hustled for years, and one day when it will stop im sure im gonna miss it all and leave once again.

But for now its just another packing in few weeks and another room to call it home.

Thank you for reading Those Silly Stories.

UP UNTIL NOW

22904931_10211045908206354_5072113700219370391_o

I START this because I have so many things I am learning and things I’ve already learned, so I would like to use this platform as a source for all these stories.

I am writing it to myself, so I can look back and remind myself of this beautiful life, but its also open to you. Although I’m a pretty bad writer, I will try to post when I am inspired by something as well as to tell stories about previous events that made me a person I am.

For the start I wanted to write about myself and explain how I got to this point in time.

I am now 22, originally from Lithuania. I have just graduated from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. Although its one of the shittiest places to live and study, I have managed to love my studies and learn about the culture and creative businesses. I used to volunteer and work in contemporary dance and music festivals before I started studying Arts and Festival Management, hence the degree choice. It slowly turned into a paradox since more I’ve studied it the less I became interested in it. I was inspired by 3D printing, people doing wood-work and architecture while I was writing 10 thousand word essays on why people pirate music. And I guess it sticked with me, all these creative people working around me, and being in such an open-minded culture allowed me to dream creatively of things I can do in the future. I left uni thinking about owning my own business inspired and empowered by strong women. So I rested during the summer, scratched few things off my bucket list, grew up a little more and in few weeks I am moving home once more. To the place I love dearly.

This is just to say hi, and next time I tell you more of those silly stories.