My favorite semester of college Past Review

By (PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES., Northwestern College) - abroad from 09/02/2012 to 12/15/2012 with

Northwestern College: Romania Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A theme for the semester is living life to the full. My friends and I tried to live our experience in Romania to the full and learn as much as we could. I still strive to live my life in this spirit.

Review Photos

Northwestern College: Lupeni - Fall Semester Program in Romania Photo Northwestern College: Lupeni - Fall Semester Program in Romania Photo Northwestern College: Lupeni - Fall Semester Program in Romania Photo Northwestern College: Lupeni - Fall Semester Program in Romania Photo Northwestern College: Lupeni - Fall Semester Program in Romania Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The semester was so fun, adventurous and life giving! I chose the Romania Semester because of its focus on adventure education, Eastern Orthodoxy, and full immersion into Romanian culture; my hopes for the semester were not disappointed. I met so many wonderful people through New Horizons Foundation, my host family, and my classes. I am still close friends with several of my fellow students from the semester. Through classes with Dana Bates, hikes in the Jui Valley, conversations with my host mom, and crazy cross-country adventures, I learned so many important life lessons.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director and staff were inspiring and helpful. I loved the structure of the classes and the extra-curricular activities they set up. For example, one day we hiked into the mountains in the snow and had a book discussion around a fire. Another day we visited a local grade school, answered questions for a class, and then had a discussion about the Romanian education system with a few teachers. It was so informative and helpful to our IMPACT internships to see inside the school.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family experience was wonderful. My host mother was the only person in my family who spoke English, so we had some great conversations in the morning over breakfast. When we moved out of our host family's homes into our apartments, I was able to live with 3 great friends about 10 minutes away from our classroom building. It was cold at times, but it made life an adventure.

* Food:

Traditional Romanian food is delicious, but fatty. Fresh food is cheap and abundant. Make sure you research and plan ahead if you have any dietary restrictions. There are a few health food stores in the Jiu Valley where gluten free alternatives can be found for a little extra money. Dairy free and vegetarian alternatives are slim.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a host family gave me a good insight into what life really looks like in Romania. Interning in an IMPACT club was great too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It was a very interesting experience to visit the hospital in Petrosani. The healthcare system I encountered was on a lesser level as what I have had in the US, but my complaints were addressed effectively. The staff of New Horizons Foundation was very helpful and supportive in figuring out who I needed to see when I was got sick.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Lupeni during the day. At night, it's best to not go out along, just like in any city. The stray dogs make some people feel unsafe, but are usually harmless.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

The per diem was ample, but I would have brought slightly more money for souvenirs and for fun finds at thrift stores.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5-$10. Weekend trips were extra.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Sleeping on a train while traveling isn't fun, but is a great way to skip paying for a night in a hostel.


* 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

We were encouraged to get out and talk with locals in stores and IMPACT clubs. Our host families were very helpful for learning the languate.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2ne level Ancient Hebrew
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? Learn basic words and phrases before you go abroad, but don't worry too much about it. It's hard to learn how to pronounce words correctly before you hear the language.

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
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?
  • Making friends with Romanians and the Americans in Lupeni
  • Traveling around Romania for class
  • The weeklong backpacking trip in the Retezat Mnts
* What could be improved?
  • More time for weekend travel around Europe
  • Longer internships in the IMPACT clubs
  • A longer Romanian language class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I packed for a semester of hiking and camping - I wish I would have brought more nicer clothes. Bring more dressy clothes you are comfortable in and don't mind wearying every week. There are many local boutiques and thrift stores to find scarves, clothes, coats and other accessories.

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.