From a computer screen to a garden
While studying computer engineering in Lithuania, Šarūnas Kaunelis never imagined that his educational and professional path would one day change course so markedly. But that is what happened and embracing a new challenge, he took the plunge, flew to Denmark and became a gardener.
“For a new graduate with no work experience it was quite difficult to find a well-paid job in Lithuania two years ago. So I decided to look for a job abroad. I first had an experience in the United Kingdom, as I took an unskilled job there, but my friends suggested I should also try EURES to find job opportunities abroad,” says Šarūnas.
The first step that would change his life was taken at the EURES office in Utena, where he met EURES Adviser Virginija Jaruševičiūtė. A Greenhouse Gardener Study Programme in Denmark that she had suggested seemed like the sort of challenge Šarūnas was looking for. Putting his educational background on hold, he would soon have the opportunity to enrol in the two-year programme, while working at a Danish farm at the same time.
EURES Adviser Virginija Jaruševičiūtė contacted her colleague S. Michael Jørgensen, from WorkInDenmark, who was able to find the work-study placement for Šarūnas.
“The EURES Adviser provided all the information about the programme and living and working conditions in Denmark, so I could make my own decision. It seemed interesting and challenging at the same time, as it was a completely different field from what I had studied before. I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to give it a try,” he enthuses.
Learning a new language
It was not the first time Denmark had taken centre stage in his life. Šarūnas had already spent a semester in Denmark under an exchange study programme. “I really enjoyed the country, its working and studying culture and I was keen to learn the language and live here again,” he says.
Learning the Danish language was one of the requirements following his enrolment on the study programme. According to Virginija Jaruševičiūtė, “the language course is essential for jobseekers to become more competitive in the Scandinavian labour market.”
Reflecting upon the job hunting process, Šarūnas underlines the key role of EURES Advisers. “Even if you’ve already got a job offer abroad, you have to prepare yourself for all possible situations, gathering information on your rights, registration procedures, etc. From my experience, EURES Advisers were always willing to help jobseekers and their advice was truly valuable,” he says.
The experience has proved successful and Šarūnas is confident when recommending it to others. “Working abroad broadens your horizons, gives you a taste of independence, helps you build up your self-confidence and broadens your network as well,” he concludes.
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Text last edited on: 02/2013
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