We spent one amazing week in Lithuania. It was the first time the Faculty of Economics and Management of the Vytautas Magnus University organized an intensive course of the Nordic and Baltic Business Innovation Network, and they succeeded very well.
The week was organized by Vytautas Liesionis, his student assistants and Pirkko Varis from TAMK. Totally 30 students from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Lithuania joined the intensive week “Business in the Nordic and Baltic Countries”. TAMK students Pia Dag and Päivi Majamaa (TAMK Virrat) and Enni Jaatinen, Heidi Kuivajärvi, Ekku Ristilä, Juuso Saastamoinen, Joonas Samposalo, Laura Tiainen, Aki Vainio and Minna Vanne (Proacademy) took part in the intensive course.
We travelled to Vilnius on Sunday and met other Nordic and Baltic students from Denmark, Norway and Estonia. From Vilnius we travelled to the first destination of our stay where the Lithuanian students joined us. The first evening, night and day we spent in Liskiava. It is an old place with an interesting history, a beautiful church and buildings. We had such a good luck to get the opportunity to start the programme in that kind of a place.
We began to get to know each other better through funny games and competitions. It was nice to notice that even though I have taken part in many international projects during my studies there's always something new to learn, starting with the getting-to-know-each-other games. In the beginning of the course, all teams presented their countries, universities and study programmes and in addition, some greetings in their own languages, too.
After Liskiava, we travelled to Kaunas and got an interesting assignment from Tele2 company: the idea was to create tools for the company to increase its sales and expand its customer base. Once again it was wonderful and interesting to work with people from other countries.
Most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday were spent with our assignment. The teams worked hard and took the assignment seriously. There were many good ideas and, in the end, it was really hard to pick just one and start to work with that. On Thursday, we were all interested in hearing what the judges were going to think of our ideas, and who was going to be the ”winner”. It was also good to see the work of the other teams. Every time you have many teams working on the same assignment, it's funny and interesting to recognize how differently people and teams think. The presentations were really good, and the ideas behind the presentations were even better. Brainstorming and hard work usually transforms into good and colourful results!
On Thursday evening, the winning team was announced during the Lithuanian evening. Our hosts had organized a wonderful evening with original Lithuanian food and music. And that was really an amazing experience!
On Friday, it was time for feedback, reflection and reports. Then we all travelled back home.
The week was tough but enjoyable. I think we all learned new things from each other, and I think the differences between Nordic and Baltic people are not that big. We are once again richer with the new things that we learned and the new friendships that we got.
Text: Pia Dag, student of Marketing and International Business, TAMK Virrat Campus
Photos: Pia Dag and Karoline Rafter, Tromsø University Business School, Norway