Viață Past Review

By (History And Political Science, Northwestern College) - abroad from 08/25/2013 to 12/23/2014 with

Northwestern College: Romania Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about another culture, people and religion. I understand that they are quite similar to me despite living so far away. They laugh, love, cry, and play soccer (futbol) as I do. The world is a big place, but we are not so different that we can't be friends or respect one another. It was completely worth my while!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Working with New Horizons Foundation was a privilege. The people are passionate about what they do and who they are working for. My time there showed me that. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from them and watching them teach kids in positive ways that the kids themselves may not even realize they were being taught. For the purpose of encouraging them to trust one another, work together, and be active members in their communities. It is an excellent organization that I believe is making a worthy influence in Romania and around the world.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Time with my host family gave me an insight into a lifestyle very different than mine. Whether it was their large family, religion, language, or customs; I was shown the gift of life in another culture. There is a simplicity to life in Romania, one that I struggle to find back here in the States, although I have the knowledge and experience to seek out that simplicity to my life. I was taught much about interacting with others, being a part of a family, and even little things like chopping wood. These experiences and friendships, no matter how hard to sustain, will always be with me and are still influencing me and teaching me as I am constantly finding out.

* Food:

The food was excellent!! I loved the opportunity to try new things, and I was always seeking out new and strange (to me) things to eat. For sure be careful where you go, and take it slow to start out with once you get there. But for a better cultural immersion and experience I would highly recommend being open to new foods as it can show you a lot about a place and the people.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Romanian people are quite hospitable. They enjoy meeting new people, and may not always come off as nice on the street. But once you get to know a person or a family in person, then they are will open up much more. Communism destroyed trust and community cohesion, and even still today remnants of its regime can still be seen and felt. So at first glance do not be put off, as they will also know you are foreigners (at least they knew we were Americans). If you take the time to be open, and meet and get to know others than you will be enjoy a lot of good cooking and friendly encounters. Also don't be afraid to kiss and be kissed on the cheeks! *Left side first.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20$
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? For the semester itself, you don't need too much extra money, but if you want to travel around other places (which I would highly encourage) than extra will be necessary.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

My host family had some excellent English speakers so I was lucky to not always have to speak Romanian as others in the program did. But whenever you are out, or interacting with Romanians you are encouraged to try and use your language skills, it depends on how hard you push yourself. You can get by without extensive work at Romanian, but of course others were more proficient at the language than others.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Try to study it a little before you leave. Just to gain a basic understanding of it. Than try to completely immerse yourself constantly in the study abroad. Ask questions and try to interact with others as much as possible. You will mess up, but that is how you learn. Also people will usually be quite willing to correct you and show you how you messed up.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The outdoors experience
  • The Program Coordinators and New Horizons Employees
  • My fellow students studying abroad and my host family
* What could be improved?
  • Structure of the classes
  • Organization of schedule
  • The language classes and whether it counts for your requirement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to best pack for semester. Including the backpacking trip.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.