My mobility experience at National LGBT Rights Organization in Lithuania was very short, yet very intense. I had the exceptional luck of having some of the best flatmates you could ever find. I shared most of my experiences with them and I always knew that, once I got back home, I had a friend there for me.
It was no bed of roses, though. Since day one, it had been very challenging to balance work, being tired because of it and wanting to see and explore and enjoy the culture that was hosting me. Speaking of which, the Lithuanian culture that I had gotten thrown into was at first quite hard to handle and process. Now, I wish I could go back to the me of the very first weeks of my mobility and tell her that everything was going to stop being so confusing to me, that things were actually going to become natural, new habits were going to take over and that even those little, big quirks that felt so very annoying were soon to become stuff I would have grown attached to.
This kind of hardship was something I had to face also in my workplace, confronting behaviors I was so unused to and that were so easy to misinterpret. Still, here I was able to really challenge myself, forced to be independent in my line of work and to search for motivation only from within; to recognize friends and build supportive, affectionate and yet constructive relationships in the work environment. I confess I did not do as much as I wanted or expected to, as I was not given the chance to, but I can fairly say that I am proud of all the times I go out of my comfort zone without blinking twice (the first blink of anxiety is something so human that I cannot hold it against me – and I won’t) and of each time I could actually notice myself doing something I would have been too scared or
embarrassed to do just one month previous.
To tell the truth, that is something that applies to the entirety of the period I spent abroad for my mobility. One of the greatest satisfactions was to have people who met me on my first days in Lithuania further telling me they were proud of me for overcoming my fears and be more me.
So, if I were to sum up my mobility, I would use a few words: hard, nerve-wrenching, fun, challenging, fascinating, scary, exciting, liberating.
The gift I received from this mobility was to discover what I am made of, to uncover the layers and layers of fears and preconceived ideas I had of me and of the outside world. To give up bad approaches and to grow personally and professionally. It’s something I would do over and over again, for nothing else than to feed the curiosity about what else I could discover, and of how many more layers of me I would be able to bring to light.
Alessia Florimo, student at Università Ca’ Foscari of Venice