My YGA Year: Silvestra Valciukaite

We asked some YGA’s to tell us about their year of being a Youth Goodwill Ambassador of Denmark. And here is one of the exciting and encouraging experiences from a young talent Silvestra Valciukaite, student at Roskilde University. She shares a story of her 1 year journey of being a YGA where she reflects upon how this experience enriched her life.

Almost a year has passed since joining the YGA - Youth Goodwill Ambassador of Denmark program. Time went by so fast – it is hard to realize that together with YGA, the first year of my master program is over too. With these two ‘overs’ and with the summer that is just starting, I begin to wonder what did I learn, where did I do well and where should I try more.

When I started to put my notes on a piece of paper, I understood how much I achieved in terms of getting ready for the professional life in the labor market. I know I had the anxiety as many other of my fellow international students do about what will happen after we graduate, how exactly we will find jobs, how to shape our university projects towards something relevant for our career, how to meet companies and collaborate with them.

These were just a few problems that I was concerned about until I saw a game-changing post on Facebook about Youth Goodwill Ambassador program. It offered career events and a great network of people from various universities that are in the same shoes as me: being international, studying in Denmark and not knowing what the future will be like. It felt like finally we will meet under one roof and take some action to solve our concerns. I remember, for me it felt like an amazing opportunity to network, to meet companies, to attend conferences, get inspiration and maybe if I was lucky – some relevant contacts for my future place of employment.

When reflecting now, I think it was way more than that. But before explaining the key excitements of my experience, I would like to argue why it is important. In fact, career exploration and network creation takes an awful lot of a time, especially if you are loaded with semester projects and exams. Without the YGA program, I would have struggled to research and choose job fairs that are relevant for my future career. At least I know if I attended any it wouldn’t have been that efficient as it happened during the YGA conferences. There are few points to add to that; most of the job fairs are in Danish or it is often hard to figure out which companies are seeking Danish talent and which ones are for international talent. Job fairs are obviously great opportunities in finding a job or getting in contact but if you’re not very well prepared it could be a waste of time. Besides that, there are bunch of other things that one should acquire. For example, personal skills as how to approach and talk to people. How to tell a great story about yourself, how to establish contacts that could be useful in the future etc. Also, job fairs are not always very inspiring and entertaining.

When I joined YGA, after the conference it was clear that it was so well organized I just had to attend and use my skills that I’ve gained to meet the companies. The program started with a bunch of events and workshops where all the ambassadors had to learn about personal branding, LinkedIn, CV’s, Danish culture, body language etc. Once we were equipped with relevant knowledge, we were given the opportunity to attend the Arla Conference in Aarhus, followed with another international talent conference in May at the Danish Royal Opera House. It was an amazing opportunity to experience these workshops and conferences. It was not stressful, and very straightforward – companies were organized in different workshops zones where we were assigned to meet two companies. We had to perform different tasks and engage in the discussions. I remember a workshop with Nordea, an interesting discussion about digitalization and value changes held by motivating and bright people that were encouraging us to discuss changes in the organization as if we were employees there. Also, I received pretty straight CV advice from the KPMG recruiters which was very appreciated. Not to mention inspiring talks by people from Singularity University, Mærsk, Microsoft, Nordea and of course Søren Pind, the Minister of Higher Education. Also, the HRH Prince Joachim made very good points about being an international in Denmark, he gave very guiding and warm-hearted tips and motivational ideas about life and career here.

I can’t be happier than now when I had this experience because together with different workshops and conferences I am ready to stand strong and motivated to start the last year of my masters & begin my amazing career! Here is my mind map of the main learnings and achievements I had during YGA.