Mobility in Turkey (Nigde)

16–20 May 2022

On May 16-20, a delegation of students and teachers of VGTU engineering lyceum participated in the mobility of the project “All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue!” (Young Entrepreneurs!) in the Turkish city of Nigde. Teams from Spain, Greece and two Turkish schools also participate in the project. This is already the third mobility of project participants and the second in which students participate. The goal of the project is to develop students’ entrepreneurial skills, to help students recognize not only their strengths and abilities, but also to learn to formulate their future goals to achieve successful professional opportunities.

To implement project work in any field as professionally as possible, it is very important to understand the cultural differences between countries. Therefore, the goal of the first two days was to get acquainted with unique traditions and expand the comprehensive cooperation of international teams. The mobility program provides to produce traditional Turkish handicrafts, an excursion to Turkish caves, swimming in the sea, a general conversation in a restaurant of a local family really helped to form a harmonious, cooperative, united team. If there were still some misunderstandings or language barriers left after the first day, after these creative and cognitive activities, people of different nations started to think in the same direction of entrepreneurship.

The third day started at the craft fair of young entrepreneurs, which can safely be called a factory for generating profitable ideas. At the fair, students were introduced to medicine, art, design, engineering, robotics, electronics, mechanics, music, farming, and service business solutions that are created with warmth and love. Some engineering or business solutions are already successfully used in local fruit factory, store marketing or school activities. Later, the students discussed the characteristics of a profitable, creative business idea, created hypothetical board game sales companies, analyzed the responsibilities of different business company departments, their preliminary costs, and revenues. Later, a real example of entrepreneurship was visited – a Turkish fruit juice factory, which started its activity in a village house by producing this drink in small quantities and selling it to neighbors. Now 30,000 bottles of this drink are produced every hour, and sales include not only Turkish cities, but also other countries in North America and Europe. The activities of the third day of mobility were crowned by a visit to the Nigde student education center, where the students learned the peculiarities of glass jewelry production.

The fourth day of the entrepreneurial project began with the search for resources used in the production of artworks in the impressive regional parks of this country. The project participants visited the factories of ceramics and precious metals and onyx jewelry. The main task of the students during each trip was to feel not only the role of a producer or entrepreneur, but also the position of a buyer. Students were encouraged to recognize elements of linguistic expression and non-verbal language characteristics used for profitable sales. It was also suggested to think about the connections and values ​​between impulsive and deliberate buying/selling/making. There was discussion and practical efforts were made to answer the question of whether demand shapes supply or vice versa, and to define the concept of market equilibrium price.

The fifth day of mobility was crowned with presentations of students’ business ideas, which impressed with deep observations and reflections. The Lithuanian and Spanish teams included tasks in their presentations, thanks to which everyone worked in teams and could again feel the wonderful fruits of sincere cooperation. The teachers discussed the individual tasks of each country’s teams, set deadlines, and set priorities. The Lithuanian team was entrusted with the design and publicity of the project’s attributes. At the end of the mobility week, several historical-architectural objects were visited: Roman pools (an excellent example of entrepreneurship, which shows that we can extract free resources for our business from nature and encourages us to be attentive to the surrounding environment) and ancient aqueducts, thanks to which water was transported. These bridges are another impressive architectural structure from the Roman era, proving that human creativity is infinite. The fifth day helped to understand that profitable business ideas do not have to be based on high costs. Project participants were inspired to look around, release creativity and gain knowledge from their nature, environment, and the Earth. Everyone was awarded not only with certificates, but the real reward was the human connection established by the project participants in such a short time – everyone started breathing in the same rhythm, became like one big consciousness, made up of all our different points of view and goals.

Lithuanian students‘ feedbank on LTT in Turkey

According to Salomėja, who participated in the mobility, “the trip left a great impression!” It is really a project of self-discovery in different areas, where I had the opportunity to learn to cooperate in a group, make decisions and find compromises. The idea of ​​entrepreneurship revealed itself, we observed how business and sales are conducted in another country, what strategies are used. The most memorable way to sell a product is to prepare a personalized product before the buyer knows about it. This was used to sell plates with our photos on them. <…> So, I really learned something new. I traveled with the most wonderful group in the world!” Salomea also agrees with Dalius: “This trip left a great impression on me. On this trip I learned a lot about entrepreneurship, what it takes to have a successful and secure business, and where to be careful and thoughtful. All newly met people, foreigners, and Lithuanians, were friendly and very polite. It was easy to find a common language and get to know them. From this trip, I bring back not only adventures, jokes, good impressions, but also newly learned facts, lessons about entrepreneurship, the country itself and Nigde.”

Kamilė also shares her impressions: “I think we will all remember this week for a long time!” She added to our knowledge of entrepreneurship and gave us the opportunity to see everything live! Showed how the business works and how to operate it. However, on the trip, we not only got to know the branches of entrepreneurship and how everything is done, but also learned about Turkish culture, traditions, customs, food and, of course, the people themselves. It was a very memorable experience to visit Turkish families and see how life happens not only in school, but also outside of it.” Victoria also mentions the importance of human relations to understand the nuances of entrepreneurship: “One of the best and most instructive experiences in life. My cheeks hurt from the first day because of my tireless smile! The Turks welcomed us very warmly, showed us their country and nation in the most beautiful colors, introduced us to entrepreneurship from a completely different angle than I expected. All the activities and excursions made us think deeper, look further than we were used to. The fact that everyone came from different countries and cultures contributed to everything. As a result, I heard a lot of interesting and useful insights, I was able to understand how business works differently in different countries due to different markets. I won’t lie, maybe at the beginning of the trip, while we were still at the airport, I was a little scared to fly to a foreign country with people I didn’t know very well, but I quickly realized that there was nothing to worry about – the teachers were extremely responsible and warm and the entire company – the best and funniest people in the world I don’t think this experience would have been the same if at least one person hadn’t been there.”

Benediktas noticed the warmth and sincerity of the local people: “This week was really unusual for me, I experienced so many events that I still cannot fully recover and forget for a second what was happening around me.” During this trip, I approached Turkey not from the position of a tourist, but as a local resident. All the people were very warm and kind to me, and you could see the joy in their eyes because of our curiosity. All lectures and educational trips were, in my opinion, very interesting and meaningful. <…> This trip improved me as a person.” The students and teachers who participated in the project plan to continue participating in the project’s activities with great enthusiasm. As Miglė says, “As a first-time participant in Erasmus+ program mobility, this trip was a completely new experience for me. In it, I not only had the opportunity to deepen my entrepreneurial knowledge and skills, but also to get to know the culture of the country itself, to learn to develop international relations and connections, to communicate despite cultural and language barriers. I hope that the useful experience gained will also serve in developing activities and preparing projects in our own lyceum.”

Everything can be summed up by the thoughts expressed by Luke: “This mobility really exceeded my expectations. It was very gratifying to see that entrepreneurship was integrated throughout the trip, and the activities themselves were interesting and meaningful. I especially remembered how entrepreneurship was taught. Instead of theory, we saw more how people trade, develop their businesses. Personally, it is more convenient for me to remember various sales methods and similar information through practice, so I value and will value this experience very much. I also feel that I have achieved personal victories in this mobility. During the presentations on Friday, I felt very confident and relaxed, which is not usually the case. For me, this is like a victory in the fight against stage fright, which I have been fighting since first grade. I also think it happened thanks to the teachers. We were encouraged, sympathized, and helped throughout the week, which, in my opinion, brings a lot of confidence in ourselves and the teachers and the desire to improve. I want to add that throughout the week the teachers were willing to help me and Kamila with the presentation, it was nice not to be afraid to ask for help and finally, I really enjoyed socializing and learning about different cultures. Evenings with Turkish families were very interesting! Everyone welcomed us very warmly and closely, which I really did not expect. Well, our team also surprised me a lot, because I never thought that such a harmonious team could be formed. As Victoria mentioned, I think that if someone hadn’t been driving, everything wouldn’t have been so fun. I can assure you that I am looking forward to other projects with these teachers and all the students who went on this mobility.”