On May 16–20, Kaunas University of Applied Sciences had guests from five European higher education institutions: Arcada University of Applied Sciences (Finland), UCL University College (Denmark), TTK University of Applied Sciences (Estonia), ViA – Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Latvia), VIKO International (Lithuania).

Together with the students of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences of Business Faculty, international students participated in the Nordplus intensive programme “VAKEN Sprint Week 2” and improved their soft skills competencies by solving real business issues – a special case of the Open Air Museum of Lithuania.

As the museum representative said: we are interested in the idea and opportunity to grow, and to see how students and youth see us in the future is very important to us, their input is very important.

Participants of the project, thirty students of various study programmes such as finance, marketing, logistics, communication, fashion, sales and international affairs, worked in mixed groups, and tried to complete the task using the help of coordinators and the 9-step VAKEN system:
Preparations, discover and interpret, ideate and focus develop and prototype, midway pitch, feedback processing, refire and adjust, prototype to final solution, presentation and feedback.

The VAKEN project is focused on improving students’ soft skills in real life situations, with the help of coordinators. Programme coordinators believe that tackling real problems that occur in the Lithuanian ethnographic museum during the period of 5 days really helped the students to deepen their skills in creativity, problem solving, critical thinking as well as the soft skills mentioned above.

VAKEN project coordinator, Kaunas University of Applied Sciences Business faculty lecturer Indrė Kvynienė can’t wrap her head around the fact that students took no time at all to bond with each other. „At first they seemed kinda shy and it was going real slow, but the language barrier just quickly disappeared and they started even meeting during free time“ – she said.

Friday, the 20th of May, intensive work was crowned by presentations that students had to present to the representatives of the museum. Rasma Noreikytė, the representative of the museum, said that „although the winner wasn’t decided, we really liked the idea of one team to organize a food festival and to collaborate with the Cultural ministry initiative, to make the museum free on Sundays.

The VAKEN project first took place a year ago, in the Danish city of Odense, in November. The project coordinators mentioned that they are not planning to stop and want to continue the partnership with the programme.