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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye

My last week in Lithuania was pretty crazy, like I mentioned in my last post. On Monday morning we had a new professor in our Marketing class and found out that we would be doing a case study on H&M and would be presenting a 20 minute presentation on Thursday. It was a lot of work and so we worked on it every day during class and also in the evenings, along with working on our project management project. It was worth it though for two reasons one of which is that Denise and I had the chance to work with two of the Portuguese guys, Joao and Guilherme (I have no problem spelling the names but I still can’t pronounce them the way they are supposed to be).  We often discussed more than just H&M, we talked about how in Portugal they learned that there are only five continents as opposed to seven (they combine North and South America and do not include Antarctica), we showed them pictures of Denver and the mountains, they showed us pictures of Porto and the beaches, and they taught us how to say “Onde รจ a casa de banho” (where is the bathroom) and “amo-te” (I love you, I figured that since I knew what it was in Lithuanian, I may as well know it in Portuguese).  The second reason the project was worth it was that our professor told us afterwards that we had done a good job, especially having been such a mixed group.
Part of the reason we study abroad is to have a cultural experience but before I came the only cultural experience that I thought that I would have would be with Lithuanian culture. In reality I got so much more than I expected. I did learn a lot about Lithuania but I also learned a lot about Ukranian since we roomed with Maryna who is from Ukraine and also about Portuguese culture because more than half the class was Portuguese and many of them were staying at the same hostel as us. As important as everything I learned in class was, I feel like that was one of the most important things that I learned while studying here. I could keep going on and on about all the different cultural aspects that played into our day-to-day lives while we were there but then no one would finish reading the post. I think that you get my point.
In addition to the presentations that we did we also had to study for our final exams. Needless to say besides the afternoon venture to the Duke’s Palace that I told you about, most of our evenings the last week were pretty dull consisting of studying and more studying. In the end we all felt pretty good about our International Project Management final but the International Marketing final was much tougher than we imagined. Regardless, we were all very excited to be done with the classes. That night all of us got together with Maik and Ruta, the two people who ran the program and whom we all got to know pretty well. They presented all of us with certificates for being the first every ISM Summer University students and we had a bittersweet night of reminiscing over the last three weeks and saying goodbye.

The next day was my last day in Lithuania and I was finally able to go to Trakai, the Island Castle. Maryna and I enjoyed walking around the castle thinking about the fact that real people used to actually live here in these rooms that we are walking through. We also walked around Vilnius more, up and down streets that we had never been on, getting lost but not really caring. That night Denise and I walked Maryna to the bus station and bid her farewell then walked around Vilnius more taking night pictures. When we got back, around midnight, the Portuguese invited us to have one last dinner with them (yes, they were having dinner at midnight). 
At four this morning a cab came and picked me and three of my Portuguese friends up to go to the airport and I had to say goodbye to them all as well. As I was boarding my flight to leave Lithuania I looked out and couldn’t decide if I couldn’t believe that it had already been three weeks or that it had only been three weeks.  Either way, I saw my last glimpse of Lithuania before it all disappeared under the clouds when we took off. Goodbye Lithuania, until next time!

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