The beginning of my SPEAK journey

My first professional traineeship abroad was 3 years ago at SPEAK, as a full-stack developer. I’ve already talked about how I ended up in Portugal in my first blog post. Now I want to focus on how challenging it can feel going abroad not for studies but for a traineeship. That way you’ll understand why I decided to start SPEAK Kaunas.


Narmin in Porto, Portugal

Moving when you’re not a student

It’s much easier for the students to adapt to a new city. Student organizations and universities organize a lot of activities, events for newcomers, and even assign a mentor for each student so they can get around easily. Of course, it has its own challenges as well, but anyways you get to meet people like you in dormitories or at classes. 

When moving to a new country for other reasons than studies, you don’t get involved in all these activities easily. You have to find your way around by yourself, and even small cities seem big so that you feel really lost. 

I was lucky to arrive in a new place to work with a company that focuses on helping newcomers to easily adapt to the city. I attended SPEAK events, learnt Portuguese, and had the opportunity to meet people with interesting stories and different backgrounds – professionals, students, refugees.


From SPEAK intern to founder of SPEAK Kaunas- Narmin Pub Quiz
Narmin Pub Quiz

It all started with pub quizzes

Then I kept thinking about Kaunas, the city I live in. It’s more like a student town of Lithuania. But where are all the people who are not students? Why don’t we meet them? Even students meet only foreign students, and don’t get to meet and be friends with locals most of the times.

Despite the fact I worked only 2 months with SPEAK, I’ve been always following the updates after. As I saw it growing, I felt really honoured to be part of something big. Even if it was fixing just a small bug in the portal, now that is being used by hundreds of people daily 🙂

A few months after coming back to Kaunas from the traineeship, I decided to organize pub quizzes in English every week. They were open to everyone and became our traditional meetup place. Quiz is my passion anyways, and sharing it with others while bringing people from different backgrounds together makes me feel happy. 


From SPEAK to founder of SPEAK Kaunas- Old Town, Kaunas
Old Town, Kaunas

SPEAK Kaunas

Kaunas might be a small city, but there is much more to do, and many more people to connect – migrants, refugees, expats, locals. When moving to a new country, language is usually the main barrier. SPEAK believes in democratizing language learning. Lithuanian language is hard for foreigners to learn, but what if we all learn it together in a fun way? It’s not just limited to Lithuanian.

SPEAK works as a culture and language exchange program where anyone can learn or share their language, and organize events to help to reinforce the bond between people. 


From SPEAK intern to founder of SPEAK Kaunas-Narmin Aliyeva
Narmin Aliyeva, founder of SPEAK Kaunas

From experience to ambition

As a foreigner who moved to Kaunas 6 years ago, I know all the challenges I faced in the beginning. I know all the pieces of information I was missing, and all the things I didn’t know. 

Knowing this and sharing it can help to make others’ life much easier. 

My goal with SPEAK Kaunas is to help to build a community in this city, where everyone can find the answers to their questions from very simple to more complicated ones, and bring people together through fun and professional activities. Together we will share our world, to prove that small cities are not that small after all… 🙂


From SPEAK intern to SPEAK founder- Putvinskio street
Putvinskio street, Kaunas

“I think every city needs SPEAK! ” – I said 3 years ago, and now I am bringing it to my city. And You, take SPEAK to your city as well 😉

Welcome to SPEAK Kaunas! 

Author: Narmin Aliyeva

Quizmaster, web developer, IT student at Masters. From Azerbaijan, living in Lithuania, where I founded SPEAK Kaunas. I speak, russian, turkish, azerbaijani, english and some lithuanian 🙂

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