Monika Grikštaitė: Experience Coordinator and an Artist
Monika Grikštaitė works as the Experience Coordinator at LCC International University. She only started working here only a couple of months ago but claims that she already feels appreciated and welcomed by colleagues and staff.Monika was born in Klaipėda but has lived outside of the town in a small village. There she had a chance to appreciate Lithuanian nature at its best. As a child, she would start and finish her days outside.After completing high school, she studied at Vilnius Academy of Arts. She says that her passion for drawing and adventure led her to study art. Her main source of inspiration is nature, which she admires and finds comfort in. After her studies at the Arts Academy, she also discovered a passion for the hospitality business. She then tried to combine her knowledge of art with the hospitality business.Even after just a couple of months of working at LCC, Monika admits that she already has made some significant memories. She appreciates the people she is surrounded by. “Although I find the process no less important than the result itself, every book that we finish writing, every trip we come back home safely from is worth nothing without people around me.” Another aspect of her job is seeing how excited the new students are and how they love to learn new things about Lithuania and other cultures.Monika shares that LCC feels like a whole new world. She says, “It was surprising that here at LCC I felt like living in a whole different universe compared to other places in Klaipėda. A short 15-minute bus ride every morning brings me to the bubble full of positive, kind, and curious people.”At LCC she works as an Experience Coordinator, and her responsibilities include taking care of the exchange students who come to LCC short term. This includes Study Abroad Lithuania (SALT), Erasmus, and the International Exchange program participants. “I get the opportunity to know SALT students before they arrive. Starting with paperwork and finishing with tips and tricks, anxiety management, and support. One week before classes start, we have Orientation Week full of activities in Vilnius, Palanga, Klaipėda and on LCC campus.” The traveling happens not just at the beginning of the semester. The exchange students get to travel to Russia, Georgia, or Ukraine, but a lot of them tend to take additional trips by themselves, apart from the rest of the group additionally. The Center of International Education makes sure to inform the exchange students and share program tips with them. Monika states that the LCC Student Leaders help a lot to make the exchange students’ experience more meaningful and pleasant.When talking about her coping mechanisms, Monika says that planning everything and anything ahead helps her to avoid anxiety. She jokes, “You may call me an obsessive planner. Therefore, the best way for me to cope with difficulties and challenges is to have every possible scenario in my mind planned. Even though I would never be able to think of all the possibilities, the idea that I am ready for everything keeps me going.”Monika has a few hobbies besides creating art. She says that one of them is trying new things whether it is exploring new places in Klaipėda or trying out undiscovered cuisines, art, or architecture. “My life passion is art in architecture, site-specific art, murals, and sculptures. I love spending time in historical churches, museums, and galleries. Sometimes I come back inspired and make art myself. I paint, draw, glass paint, and do mixed-media art. Recently I started to test my skills by making small sculptures. At this point of my life art is my way to talk to my inner self.”For LCC’s 30th anniversary, Monika's wish to LCC is, “To not stop growing as a dynamic, vibrant, and caring community. Also, that every student – local or international – would find a home here in Klaipėda."Some of the pictures are taken from Monika's personal archive. Make sure to follow her on Instagram to see more of her art.