Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) student Ana Sophia Aragon (21), who hails from the Central American city of Guatemala City, spent 5 years living in Muscat (Oman) in the Middle East and is now a Psychology student living in Vilnius. She agreed to answer a few questions about her jet-setting life and studies at MRU.
She calls Vilnius home now; despite that she has already lived in Muscat and Guatemala City.
-Why did you choose to study at MRU Vilnius?
I was planning to study in Europe. One of my neighbours, Rūta from Kaunas, was Lithuanian. She told me that Lithuania was a beautiful country. I checked the internet for study programmes and, of my findings, MRU is one of the few places in Europe that offers a Psychology Degree in English. I applied and got a quick response. Additionally, my parents were open and supportive in allowing me to go and study abroad. They consider my studies in Europe in a positive light.
-What did you know about Lithuania before coming here?
I knew what my neighbour had told me. She mentioned that it was a cold country. Then I saw Lithuania featured on a TV show in Oman. Someone during that TV programme mentioned Lithuania, but I didn’t know where Lithuania was. I soon found out.
-What is your country famous for?
We are known as the country of “eternal spring” because everything is very green. It's a beautiful country, very multi-cultural, and it’s fun to be there when I am able to go and visit friends and relatives.
-Oman is a very different country from Lithuania and Guatemala? What did you notice as far as the differences are concerned?
The weather and extreme heat is the biggest difference. Sometimes it would be very, very hot in Muscat, too hot to be outside during the day. It’s a very open, international country with many foreigners. My father was working in Oman so that is why our family originally went to Oman. It’s a general rule to cover yourself when you go out. Alcohol is not freely available and I never saw any drunk people during the 5 years I was there. I was in an international school in Muscat so I studied with pupils from many different countries. Overall, living in Oman changed me and made me a more self-confident person.
-How do you find Vilnius and Lithuania in general?
I’m kind of an extremist weather-wise (she laughs). I went from Oman where it was about 50 degrees to Vilnius where it is about -5 right now. I find it hard to communicate with the elderly people in Vilnius because most senior citizens don’t speak English and I don’t speak Russian. But, I can say that Lithuanians are very welcoming people – especially the youth. I have not been here that long to make further comparisons.
-Do you miss life in Muscat or maybe Guatemala City?
As I mentioned, living in Oman changed me as a person. You learn a lot about yourself in that type of setting. You don’t have your extended family to lean on, as I did in Guatemala, so you have to be open to experience new things. I miss Guatemala, but as the years pass, you get more detached from places. Currently Lithuania is my home and I feel very comfortable here. I am also very independent here in Vilnius. I need to take care of myself and I’m more aware of the things that I do.
-What are you studying at MRU?
I am studying Organizational Psychology because I plan to work for an international company in the future. One of the advantages of studying at MRU is that, at the University, I can meet people from so many different countries – Colombia, Mexico, Italy, Germany, France. You learn about the cultures from the students from those countries. My plans in the future include traveling for work, or even living in many different countries. Hopefully, I will be able to keep traveling and expand my view of the world. Mykolas Romeris University has put me on the right path, giving me the knowledge and tools to be successful in the future.