I can’t really stay in one place for a long time; the world is an exciting place and I often find myself yearning to discover and get to know all of it. At the same time, leaving after falling in love with a place and the people there does not become easier over time. Still, the more places I travel to and the more people I meet the more perspectives I get to encounter, leaving me pondering in the aftermath about all the different ways one can experience the world. I like to let people and their different ways of living have their impact upon me. For example, proclaiming Sunday a family day for my own family in Lithuania was a direct adaptation of a Mexican practice I got to enjoy while living there for a year. At the same time, on my last visit to Brazil during the winter break it was difficult to come to terms with some shockingly different perspectives regarding the war in Ukraine. Recognizing the presence of a multiplicity of perspectives in our world is sometimes challenging, but it never fails to amaze me, either, and it inspires me to try and go beyond one-dimensional thinking. My home country has its own unique character, too, suspended between the East and the West, not quite belonging to either. Being confronted with all the different angles of an issue often makes me feel conflicted when assessing my region of focus as well: is it possible for me to contribute to my chosen region’s progress in a meaningful way, while not being a Latin American myself? Maybe for now the fact that I look at my role in a critical way is enough to settle my doubts. To me, being an IS student means embracing this vibrant lifestyle of “in-betweens”, which is very exciting and thrilling and you learn a lot going through it, even if it gets overwhelming at times. As I see it, change may well be the only constant thing in my life, but I lean into it and try out as many things as possible. You never know what you’ll end up discovering, after all.
(Dovile Jozenaite, 2nd year, Lithuania)