The International Scientific Students’ conference Forum of Ideas, organised by the Faculty of Arts and Education of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, gets a lot of attention every year. This year, moved to virtual space, it seems to have attracted even more interest. Participants from Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Turkey, Spain, and Lithuania gave 100 presentations at the conference, and almost 200 people listened to them. Besides, 13 virtual personal and group exhibitions were opened, where the audience could get acquainted with the works of young artists studying design, fashion design, image, decorative plastic arts, and photography. Jolanta Bareikienė, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Education, who announced the beginning of the conference, emphasised that communication has become particularly important in the context of the pandemic. Therefore, such events, where participants and listeners from different countries of the world have the opportunity to meet, are significant and meaningful.

The international conference started with an inspiring presentation, “Emotional intelligence – the missing link to success”, by Dr Elena Trepule, Associate Professor at the VMU Academy of Education.  The speaker emphasised that it is not only academic education that is vital to achieving professional goals. “It is emotional intelligence that is particularly important for high performance, and according to research, it is twice as important as intelligence,” observed Dr Trepulė. She argued that the statement that a person either has emotional intelligence or not is incorrect. “We can develop it. And it is necessary to do so because emotional intelligence helps us select which feelings nurture us and which make us feel depressed and distract us from reaching our goals,” emphasised Dr Trepulė.

In her presentation “Entrepreneurship and creativity: the “Vinted” success story”, Milda Mitkutė, the founder of the company, shared her experience of creating a business. The speaker emphasised that the attitude prevailing in our society that it is fallacious to make mistakes, stand out and draw the attention of others is flawed and needs to be changed. “Everybody wants success and fame but rarely thinks about the challenges, the hard work they will have to do.” “Vinted” has a very high target of making second-hand shopping buyers’ first choice, which will take a lot of time, effort and continuous improvement of the international platform that employs 700 people. “We are ready for both successes and failures along the way,” said Ms Mitkutė.

The German photographer, designer, and philosopher Jurga Graf shared her success story in her presentation “Specialising in pipes”. “The pandemic has had a negative impact on many fields, and the art of photography is no exception. Many of my colleagues were forced to take up other professions because they could no longer survive. I could have been one of them. Why was I lucky?” she asked. “It is vital to be open to change, learn, acquire new skills because it allows you to be independent. When you change your lifestyle, the only thing that can help you survive is adaptation. That’s why it’s important to be flexible, positive and not scared of change.”

The plenary session was concluded with the presentation “International student since 2007. I started at Kauno kolegija” given by Arman Orman, a philosopher and traveller who is currently studying for his PhD in Prague (the Czech Republic). The philosopher highlighted the central theme of his presentation – peace and friendship – by talking about his personal experience of studying in Lithuania, volunteering in Poland, the United Kingdom and other countries.  Having visited 55 foreign countries and tried to get to know the people of each country, their culture, and customs, Orman encouraged the students attending the conference to choose studies and internships abroad. “Being an international student means being ready to make mistakes and look different, but this experience gives you the opportunity to change, grow, and improve. I am grateful to Kauno kolegija for being the start of my interesting path,” said Mr Orman.

In the second part of the conference, participants were invited to the panel sessions, where presentations on languages and translation; the development of social-emotional intelligence in early childhood; design and research on it; medical technology and business; and other exciting and relevant topics.

Those who were unable to attend the International Students’ Conference “Forum of Ideas” can find access to the presentations of the plenary session here.