I am Sam and this is my volunteering story in one of the coldest but most lovely countries-Lithuania.

A year ago, I had enough in Armenia to keep myself in a comfort zone. I had my car, my job, and all my family members there. However, one day I decided to begin from the beginning, more precisely, from the scratch. 

At that time, I was studying at Yerevan State University to earn my master’s degree in European Studies. Since there were only 3 months left to defend my thesis, I found traveling and living in Europe a great environment to grow as a professional and a researcher in the age of remote education. Truth be told, I didn’t have a specific choice about the country. Soon I got an email that I’m invited to have an interview with a Lithuanian organization. Now you have the answer whether I chose Lithuania or Lithuania chose me? I am not sure yet though.

Anyway, started searching for an Armenian organization to help me in this process. I found Irina and Tigranuhi who convinced me that the future is in their hands (ha-ha). Thanks to these amazing people and other amazing people on the Lithuanian side (yes, Thomas, this is particularly about you), and thanks to Mother Earth I arrived in the land of long winters and rainy skies. 

My volunteering was at a school, with more than 300 pupils. I experienced unexplainable relationships with them. Despite organizing some activities and events for children, teaching them English, and playing some chess (don’t get me wrong, during the chess lessons only), my job was also helping the administrative staff in a very challenging period that we all went through with masks and covid testing. 

Volunteering taught me to take care of others, work with children and teenagers, and do a job without waiting for the last day of the month because it’s volunteering (you got my point). On the one hand, I experienced a cultural shock, challenges, a new lifestyle, and 2 shots of Covid vaccine, on the other hand, I got new connections and met people whom I would have never met without this experience.

I don’t want to tell you about the day when I received a call from Yerevan State University and got informed that I am expelled and not allowed to defend my thesis just because I was not living in Armenia. I am not telling you about that day because this is a success story. So let me mention the success that was born thanks to that absurd failure. 

Long story short, I applied to Vilnius University, to earn a new master’s degree with the hope that this time I will succeed to complete it. 

I told you; I had decided to start everything from the scratch, and I did so. 

P.S. If anyone wants to thank me for the story, address it to Irina who never gave up reminding me about this paper.