Criminal lawyer Margarita Maria Guzman Ramirez from Bogota, Columbia, bursting with energy and a positive outlook, is one of the more than 140 participants of the Transparency International (TI) Anti-Corruption Summer School now underway at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU).
"I come from a happy, but corrupt country," said the 26-year-old Ramirez who says sometimes her job can be dangerous.
"Columbia is a dangerous country. The criminality has alarming levels," said Ramirez, who has been practicing law for the last 3 years.
"It's normal to bribe traffic police in Columbia. It's normal to hire your family and friends to work for you, if you are a politician," she added.
She is attending the TI Summer School to gain more knowledge and tools to fight corruption, she said. When she returns to Bogota, she will share what she learns this week in Vilnius with colleagues.
"I've been privileged because of the knowledge I am able to gain," said the young lawyer. In 2017 she went to Cambridge to attend a 3-week course in Legal English, which she described simply as "amazing."
Hoping to one day teach and empower a new generation of Columbians to fight corruption, she said she hopes to do a PhD in the U.S. "Maybe Cornell, maybe Columbia, but I don't know," she added.
"I dream to become an academic and a researcher. I would like to be a professor in a University one day," she added.
For now, she is meeting new friends and colleagues at the TI Summer School and listening to lectures.
"I've been talking with my colleagues from France, U.K. to get information about their systems and how their countries are combatting corruption," she said.
The TI Summer School will conclude on July 14th with an official Closing Ceremony.