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Colombian student Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga came to Vilnius in 2018 for studies via Australia. He hails from Colombia’s 2nd largest city, Medellín. But don’t ask him about renowned Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, for which the city is well known. Jorge doesn’t want to hear about that.
Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga
Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga
© Asmeninins albumas

People forget that Medellin is an innovative, dynamic city with one of the most modern transport systems in Columbia – the Medellin Metro commuter, he says. He also plans to spend 2 years in South Korea at Dongseo University as part of a joint MRU studies programme, Informatics and Digital Contents. “I’ll possibly stay in Korea or maybe come back to Lithuania, after studies are completed, - said the Bachelor’s Degree student. - Once you go to other countries, you open a door that may be difficult to close”.

- How are you faring during the quarantine period?

- Honestly, in my case, because I’m an introvert, I haven’t found it difficult to stay inside. I understand that some people are attached to family, friends, but I have video calls with family. I keep in touch with my friends who are all over Europe – in Germany, in Spain and of course, Colombia too. I find that this period is a time to reinvent yourself. Now, it is a good time to think about internal, not about that what’s happening outside. From my point of view, things will not be the same, but I’m not that worried about the virus. It allows you to appreciate the life you have now.

- Why did you decide to come to Lithuania?

- I was living in Brisbane, Australia with Korean friends. I did some courses at the Technical Institute there. I was starting video game development. I began to look for a university in Australia. I wanted to study overseas, but it is too expensive in Australia, because 4 years of education can cost $100,000 (60,000 Euro). I searched the Internet for studies programmes. I found that Mykolas Romeris University had an Informatics and Digital Contents programme that suited me.

- What did surprise you here in Lithuania?

- If you see, for example, Africans, they are smiling all the time or laughing or joking. Lithuanians are much more serious. In daily life sometimes I notice, that there is not enough attention paid to customers.

Once you go to other countries, you open a door that may be difficult to close
Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga

- What did you know about Lithuania before coming?

- We know about Lithuania in Colombia because of Antanas Mockus, the former mayor of Bogota. We know about the independence of Lithuania. We also have similarities with the colours of the flag (yellow, blue and red for Colombia). Also, I knew that basketball was popular here. To find out more about Lithuania before coming, I had to watch a lot of videos.

Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga
Jorge Andres Agudelo Zuniga
© Asmeninins albumas

- So, how do you find Vilnius?

- For a foreigner it is nice, especially for a Latin American because you see how the seasons change in a country. In Colombia, we have only summer. I come from Medellin which is called, “the City of Eternal Spring” because the weather is perfect all the time. Vilnius I adore. I think Vilnius is the perfect mix of the modern and the old. I see Lithuania in a different perspective. In my case, it is the perfect country. I think the country is calm, peaceful and it’s a perfect environment for me. If you are thinking of having a family, it is the perfect place. There are not too many people. It’s not crowded and the country is young. There are many opportunities here. Most important, it is not too expensive. It’s the perfect place in Europe. Why spend 3000 Euros per month living in France or Belgium, when you can live for less - like a king in Lithuania? Lithuanians must be thankful for the country they have.

- What do you miss about Colombia?

-I miss the food. I miss the traditions in Latin America. We have a culture based on maize, corn and this came from the natives, the aboriginal tribes. I miss Colombian beans and the traditional dish – bandeja paisa (red beans cooked with pork and white rice, ground meat and plantains). It has many calories.

- What are the differences between Medellin, your home city, and Vilnius?

- It is much more crowded in Medellin and more vivid. There are always people outside – in cafes and restaurants. It’s noisy. Also, in Colombia people walk more than they do here in Vilnius. Your city is more calm and peaceful. I think Vilnius, and – Lithuania, is an excellent country in which to live.

- What do you plan to do after graduation?

- I may stay in Korea if I get a job there. I may return to Vilnius because I really like the city. It truly depends on where I can find a job. Also, I want to see more of the world, You should take advantage if you have the chance to travel and to see the world.

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