Welcome to my personal website, which contains my blog and portfolios from different activities: journalism, translation, research, and policy evaluation.
- Selected articles for Lithuanian and international media are posted in this portfolio; new updates on my journalistic activities are posted here.
- Key information about my research activities is provided on this page, and all updates from my research activities are posted under the category ‘Academic‘.
- Key facts and highlights from my career in policy evaluation and consulting are provided here.
I grew up in Kaunas, Lithuania, where my formative years passed at the city’s best high school, KTUG. This was when I abandoned my dream to be a nuclear physicist and developed interests in languages and economics. I was also allowed to audit Japanese language classes at Vytautas Magnus University. I had my first trip abroad as a team member delegated by the school to a Baltic competition in economics, which took place in Riga, Latvia.
I studied Political Science at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University. I was an active member of Students Scientific Society and its chairperson in for a year. We organized various conferences, including an international conference to discuss elections in Russia in 2004, and I had a chance to work as a research assistant/ intern with two research projects: Welfare and Democracy (2004) and Map of the Civil Society of Town X (2005).
Shortly my teenage dream to go to Japan came true – I was selected to represent Lithuania in one of two European youth groups invited to a Study Tour for European Youth in Japan. Erasmus was becoming a thing by then, and I, too, went to study at Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Plus, I took part in the university’s Debate Club and students’ radio. My last student job was when I worked as a student-researcher at the Center for Studies of the History and Culture of Eastern European Jews. These three summers showed me that Political Sociology was my favorite subject, and helped me choose my MA studies.
From 2005 to 2008 I worked at the foreign news desk of the Atgimimas weekly and later contributed to the newspaper as a columnist. In 2007, I was selected for a field trip to Ukraine by the European Journalism Centre, and the report from Kiev won the European Young Journalist Award “Enlarge Your Vision” (Lithuanian language). During the winners’ trip I learned about Cafe Babel, where I subsequently volunteered as a blogger and reporter from 2008 to 2013.
While studying Sociology and Social Anthropology at Central European University in Budapest, I was a volunteer at the Human RightS Initiative (HRSI). I returned to Lithuania to start a career in EU policy analysis at Public Policy and Management Institute, but in spring 2009 I left again, this time for Tokyo, Japan, where I was a visiting research fellow at the University of Tokyo. The experience resulted in two academic publications and a series of articles for the newspaper I was working for at the time. Soon after I received a scholarship to spend an academic year in Tel Aviv, Israel, where I was a research student at Tel Aviv University and volunteered for the African Refugee Development Center. I learned Hebrew quickly and later used the experience for very interesting tour guiding gigs.
In parallel, I was continuously searching for opportunities to turn my passion for languages into a career. For this reason I undertook a translation and communication traineeship at the European Parliament, DG Translation in Luxembourg. I continued working with PPMI until January 2014, when I joined the Centre for Asian Studies at Vytautas Magnus University. I was responsible for, inter alia, projects with South Korea and Indonesia, as well as cooperation with European partners. Although embedded in complex academic bureaucracy, the dynamic work environment at the research center helped me further expand my network, as my job was to engage social partners, foreign diplomats and alumni to help develop our academic offer with very limited resources.
Many think that I was made for an academic career, but the truth is, I always thought about various back doors to return to journalism. In 2013, I became a freelance Baltic reporter for the Equal Times, which was the first opportunity to investigate various political and societal topics and present them to foreign audiences. With this enhanced portfolio in English, I made new contacts and got published in The New Internationalist, The Guardian, Politico and elsewhere. I also got three scholarships – a Minority Rights Group grant to report on ethnic minorities in West Thailand, an International Journalists Program (Germany) scholarship for an internship at Der Spiegel in Hamburg, and a Media4Change grant for investigating the social care system for people with mental disabilities in Lithuania. This experience and resulting publications showed me that the ice age is over and it’s time to pursue my dreams. In January 2016 I left academia to work as a freelance journalist, fixer and researcher.
Not for long. When I saw a vacancy announcement at the People for Change Foundation in Malta, I knew immediately that I cannot let it pass. So in January 2017 I started a new chapter – being a researcher at a human rights NGO.
My multiple careers and personal interests allowed me to visit 39 countries on four continents and learn to speak in six foreign languages. I continue searching for opportunities to be able to spend most of my time working in my areas of interest.