Topic 3 Local success story of woman TCN – presentation, discussion

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A brief overview of the success story

Tetiana Ponomarenko Lithuania, 2022

Tetiana is from Ukraine. She is the Programme Leader of the Parallel Studies Programme at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) in Kaunas and currently finishing her PhD. She also teaches pedagogy and other subjects, participates in conferences, and volunteers in her free time to teach Ukrainian refugees Lithuanian language. Tetiana speaks fluent Lithuanian because she use it every day at work. However, she had to overcome some obstacles once she moved to Lithuania.

Tetiana decided to move to Lithuania from Ukraine after meeting her future Lithuanian husband. However, since they were not officially married, she enrolled in higher education and started studying at Vytautas Magnus University in order to stay in Lithuania. As Tetiana had a temporary residence permit for her studies, she was not allowed to work for the first year. The biggest challenge for her was that she felt unintegrated because she had no job and could not work.

Tetiana strongly believes that learning the language is very important for integration. She started studying Lithuanian language very intensively attending two different courses at once when moved to Lithuania. However, only the second year she gained courage to speak Lithuanian with others.

She says it is very important to be open and to take the opportunities that arises, to not turn down chances to learn something new or to gain knowledge and work skills. Finding balance in different jobs or hobbies as a back-up options also helps to feel more secure and not afraid of losing job in one area.

  • “I would encourage them to enroll to study, to acquire knowledge and become independent.“
  • “If you don’t get a job, create your own job or get self-employed!“
  • “Don’t be tied to any one workplace and always have at least a few back-up options where you can work or create a workplace for yourself.“
  • “Another tip is to find a hobby and do some extra activities, and try to interact with Lithuanians as much as you can, don’t limit yourself to the expat community.”
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Questions for discussion

  1. What is the most important lesson I have learnt from this story?
  2. How can I adopt the success story to my current employment situation?
  3. What does it mean for me being integrated in a job market in a new country?
  4. What inspired me the most from this story and what advice can I take from it?
  5. How this story can contribute to starting my own business?
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