Where are you from and what is your background?
I am from France, where I spent most of the time living in a city called Lille. I have studied everything from business marketing to digital marketing.
What was the main reason why you chose to move to Lithuania?
I came here for one semester through the Erasmus program, and then had the opportunity to do an internship for another six months. I decided to stay here and work at a small startup because I saw the potential that Lithuania had at the time – it was growing fast, adapting, working more and more with international companies, and doing it better every day. I also liked all the efforts that the government was putting into attracting foreign professionals and making the country a stronger player in global markets. I wanted to stay in Europe, so I saw Lithuania as a solid place for me to develop my career.
What surprised you the most after moving here?
I was not that surprised, so it is hard to answer that. I just did not know a lot about Lithuania, because for a long time our countries were living on different sides of a massive ideological wall. But it was great to see Lithuania growing, so I knew I had made the right choice.
Has the quality of your life changed after moving here?
It has improved, actually. When I look at where I am right now, I know that I probably would not be able to live such a life in France because of the prices, the amount of competition, etc. I was living in Paris for some time, and it is too big of a city for me, to be honest. Even if you have enough money there, you cannot really enjoy the city that much since you spend most of your time in Parisian traffic.
What recent achievement or project are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my own growth within the company. I started working at Deeper as a country manager for France, but now I am the head of a successful team of people responsible for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We are now growing sales and increasing awareness of our brand in fifteen countries in that region. And it is really nice to work in a company that has created a product that no one had before.
How did you find this job?
My friend was working at Deeper, and one day she simply asked me whether I knew any French people who would be suitable to join her team. At that time I was happy with the job I had in Lithuania, but I had already been working there for two years and there was no space for me to grow, so I decided to try something new and more exciting. I sent my CV, I visited the place, and I really liked the project. I do not see my current job as a job. I see it as raising a baby.
And what are the biggest work-related differences between France and Lithuania?
Oh yes, there are some. French people are known for complaining a lot, but everyone is used to that there, so it is just seen as regular feedback, notes, or even a typical conversation. Most Lithuanians tend to keep such things to themselves, and I think they could be more open about their feelings and realistic about expectations in the workplace. For example, it is better to say “I will not finish the project on time” to your boss than to just blindly agree, nod your head, and then deal with missing the deadline. No one should be scared to express himself or herself at work. You can always find a way to do it properly.
That is very true. And what about leisure time? What are the strengths of Lithuania?
You can make daily decisions so quickly here, and this makes everything much easier. For instance, after work on a Friday I can just decide to jump into the car with my friends and go to the seaside if I want to. I do not remember a time when I would do that back in France – driving for three hours on a Friday just to get to another place. Also, it is very refreshing that you can reach beautiful nature in a matter of minutes.
I like how connected people are to each other here. Perhaps it is because of the size of the country, but it does make everything go more smoothly. The cultural life is getting more active as well – I can see the improvement over the six years that I have been living here.
What common stereotypes are not true about Lithuanians?
Previously, I did not know much about Lithuania, so many things about the country or its people were new to me after relocating. After that, I heard about the stereotype that some foreigners keep mistaking Lithuania for Russia or Latvia. That is, of course, not even close to the truth – this country has a separate, rich, genuine culture with all of its elements.
“I don’t know whether I should go to Lithuania”. What would you say to someone who told you this?
I would suggest coming here for one weekend. Find some locals that will keep you from the tourist traps and can show you the best places. The people that have visited me – my family and my friends – have really enjoyed their time here in Vilnius.
If a friend was about to move to Vilnius, what advice would you share?
Bring both a swimming suit for the hot summer and a warm coat for the cold winter! I feel safe and comfortable here, and so will you.