This week Her Campus Leeds talks to Patricija Rutkauskaitė, who is the co-founder of Leeds' first ever Lithuanian Society.
Hi Patricija! Thanks for chatting to us. Tell us a bit about yourself...
I am Patricija and I'm originally from Lithuania. I am a second year student doing a Human Resource Management degree. I moved here from Lithuania almost 2 years ago and am now enjoying Leeds to the fullest.
Why did you want to start the Lithuanian Society?
From my first day here in Leeds I have been in contact with a lot of local Lithuanians - we used to meet once a week at least. One day, me and two of my friends realized that there are probably way more of us in Leeds and that in order to bring everyone together we would need to start something like the society. Also I remember that my first few days in Leeds were quite scary because everything was new, but newcomers will have people to help them so that they don't have to go through the same thing. I want to create something where a fresher Lithuanian can seek for support. And of course, we want to familiarize everyone in Leeds Uni with our country, our amazing local traditions and incredible food (my British housemate is now addicted to Lithuanian food!).
How did you go about setting up the society?
Once we had decided that this was going to become a real thing, we started spreading the news around our friends and introducing them to the idea so we could see if people were interested in such a society. Then we had to collect signatures; for this we organized a couple of the events – one of them was a bonfire night celebration. There we talked about our goals and aims with students, so that they knew ‘what they are signing for’. After that we had few meetings with the Activities Exec and then there was our formation event – a Lithuanian quiz and food tasting night. It went really well, a lot more people turned up than we were expecting and the feedback was very positive. Now we are waiting for the union to decide whether we can move forward and make it fully official.
What is a typical week like for you?
As we are still waiting for the answer from the union, we don’t do much about the society these days. Usually I work every week day at a little sandwich shop called Ciabatta House (come and visit me!!). I used to work on the weekends too in the first semester, therefore did not have a lot of time to do any extra activities. Now I am just looking forward to my upcoming exams and living in the library everyday…
What are your hopes for the society?
My biggest hope is that the society will continue developing even after when we, the founders, leave university, and that passionate people will be willing to take over and work towards a bigger and better society.
Anything else to add?
I just want to invite everyone to join our society next year! It is so much fun and you will learn a lot!