How long were you living abroad and what did you do there?
I lived in Italy for seventeen years and another year in Ireland, where I worked to improve my English. I was always learning and often spent time volunteering, I considered volunteering to be the easiest way for me to settle in after coming back to Lithuania.
What did you miss most about Lithuania while living abroad?
My grandparents. And Lithuanian nature. Sure, Italy has great nature as well, but I missed those real Lithuanian landscapes that are easy to reach from the cities. I also like to eat very healthily and doing that in Lithuania is a lot cheaper and easier than it is in Italy.
What was the main reason for you to return to Lithuania?
The centennial celebrations of Lithuania were getting close, and I thought that this was a great chance to come back. While growing up in Italy, I used to hear wonderful stories about Lithuania, so I decided to experience it all myself. I also wanted to help solve some of the problems that people have here.
What surprised you the most after moving here?
The sheer number of events and cultural activities: you always have something to do here, somewhere to go. It is easier to eat healthily in Lithuania, but it is also much more comfortable to exercise since there are gyms that work 24/7. In Italy, such gyms – if they would not close at 8 pm – would be insanely expensive.
How did the quality of your life change after coming to Lithuania?
My life has improved a lot. Italy, like most countries in Western Europe, has many old and unmovable traditions, which together with all the bureaucracy often makes you feel blocked. In contrast, Lithuania is a rapidly growing country with more and more opportunities as well as choices. I feel completely free here to do whatever I want.
What do you do in your current job position?
I am a marketing specialist. Now I am spending most of my time on a personal project – a tool for sales information. It improves communication between sales engineers, company representatives, and the buyers.
Which recent project or other achievement are you most proud of?
I am actually most proud of the fact that I found this job. I thought that it would be tricky in Lithuania. However, my current employers looked beyond my modest CV to also understand my real abilities and strengths.
Was it hard for you to find a job here?
No. When I finally decided to look for a job on my own, I found one right away. I saw a “Work In Lithuania” ad on Facebook, and sent my CV to Festo. Even though I was applying for a position that was based on speaking Italian, the company took interest in my marketing abilities during the interview and invited me to join their Marketing Support department.
What are the biggest work-related differences between the two countries?
The work environment in Lithuania is much calmer, which is why there is less work-related stress. Also, I like the organisational system here.
Leisure time in Lithuania and in Italy. What are the strengths of Lithuania?
Lithuania has beautiful nature close by the big cities – the lakes and forests are easy to reach. Obviously, spending time with your friends and loved ones here is quite a bit cheaper too. I am a big cinema fan, and the prices in Lithuania are realistic enough for me to go to the movies often. Another definite strength is the well-planned, reliable system of public transport. You can go places without any worries. In addition, the buses and trolleybuses always arrive on time.
Which common stereotype about Lithuania is not true?
That people here are grim. Through my volunteer work and now at my current job I have met hundreds of sweet people who work hard to improve something or help someone. They only spread positive emotions.
“I don’t know whether I should go to Lithuania”. What would you say to someone in doubt?
I would advise them just to try it. Lithuania offers many possibilities, and if you make a choice that doesn’t seem to be the right one for you, it is not at all difficult to find another job.
If a friend was about to move to Vilnius, what advice would you share?
Don’t start thinking about owning a car just yet. You can go everywhere on foot or use public transport. I would also mention that people who are into good food have a lot to choose from here – even the most selective Italian gourmets will find many wonderful places to dine.