Getting ready to celebrate International House Vilnius’ one-year anniversary

Time flies when you’re helping foreigners achieve soft landings in Lithuania’s capital. Just ask the team at International House Vilnius (IH Vilnius), which is preparing to celebrate the service centre’s one-year anniversary this 11 November.

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With an average of 1,500 people served each month, over 2,000 participants attending online and in-person events each quarter, and super high levels of satisfaction, it’s safe to say that IH Vilnius’ inaugural year was a great success. To reflect on these achievements and get an idea of what the future holds, we sat down with the IH Vilnius team to get some answers straight from the source. 

An approach to service inspired by Vilnius itself

Vilnius is not-so-quietly making a name for itself as a bold city that encourages innovation through collaboration, and that’s exactly what IH Vilnius represents. The centre brings experts from various government agencies together under one roof so newcomers to the city can get answers to any and all questions in one place. Needless to say, this approach has been extremely effective and for the IH Vilnius team and has resulted in tons of lessons and memorable moments.

“Seeing customers come to us feeling lost and tangled in bureaucracy, and then watching them leave with a smile on their face because their issues have been resolved is something that never gets old for me,” says Agnė Camara, Head of IH Vilnius. “We spend a lot of time analysing the needs of newcomers in Vilnius and then developing strategies to best meet those needs, so seeing our ideas come to life and make a difference for others is an endless source of satisfaction and motivation.”

“Being open to any challenge and doing whatever we can to solve customer issues is what IH Vilnius is all about,” says Project Manager Agnė Goldbergaitė. “After all, Vilnius is our home, so helping others make it their home is something that is close to our hearts, which in a professional setting is super rewarding.”

And as far as the collaborative spirit behind IH Vilnius goes, it’s something that everyone can be a part of. Just ask Project Manager Yana Khromiak. “What I love most about being part of IH Vilnius is that everyone’s opinion matters, whether it’s a newcomer with ideas to help us help you, or one of our team members,” she says.

When asked what she thinks the best part of the IH Vilnius experience has been thus far, Digital Communications and Social Media Manager Laura Matukeviciute is pretty straight to the point. “The fact that it exists in the first place is the best part,” she says. “I’ve lived abroad for over ten years, and if something like IH Vilnius existed in Spain or the UK, it would have made my life a million times easier.”

Great expectations after a solid first year

Maybe the one problem with hitting the ground running with a new initiative like IH Vilnius is that now the bar is now set pretty high in terms of what’s next. Still, the IH Vilnius team has big plans to grow and make the experience for newcomers even smoother while making it even more appealing for anyone else considering the move to Lithuania and calling Vilnius home. 

“We have big plans, and our work never stops,” says Agnė Camara. “On the practical side, we are currently developing a welcome pack for foreigners moving to Vilnius, which will consist of a PDF with the most important information they need. We’re also going to give them a few exclusive perks, but it’s still a secret, so you’re going to have to stay tuned to find out exactly what I mean by that!”

When asked about her ambitions for their second year of operations, IH Vilnius’ Head says, “We want to keep improving and being relevant. We have so many plans for the future and even if we only get to implement half of them, we’re going to do great.”

Agnė Goldbergaitė has a more metaphorical outlook. “Just like a one-year-old baby, all I can hope for is that we keep growing, making new discoveries, learning, finding new ways to conquer our professional world, and of course, having fun while we’re doing it,” she says.

Given her role as IH Vilnius’ Administrator, Ana Zubkova has a more practical outlook for year two. “I just hope to welcome even more visitors, expand our services and have our awesome team keep making a difference for people coming to Vilnius!”

One thing that everyone at IH Vilnius can agree with is that even though they’re the experts, they have learned so much by helping the people who have used their services, which has ultimately made their services even better. That cycle of bouncing ideas around, collaborating, and inspiring new ways of looking at the same old things will definitely play a role in making year two of IH Vilnius a success. It’s all about the people they serve – the newcomers in Vilnius who are also contributing to where the city is heading next.

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