A New Sense of Belonging Past Review

By (International Development, Calvin College) - abroad from 08/25/2013 to 12/10/2013 with

Northwestern College: Romania Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was truly incredible. From the moment we stepped off the plane, we felt welcomed and at home. The best part about this experience is how deeply you feel connected to those around you. You will have the chance to make lasting friendships with a wide range of people, including your host family, the baker down the street, the Bates family (founders of FNO), and Janelle and Felipe (your program directors). That's the beauty of this semester in particular: you are rooted in one place, living a real and intentional life with and amongst the community of Lupeni. Other programs focus on scope: "how many places can we go while here?" This is fine. But if you want to take your abroad experience to new heights, focus in on one like the Romania semester: a program that tends not to aim for quantity of experiences, but on the depth and meaning of relationships with individuals and your greater community. In other words, one that creates a new sense of belonging.

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

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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? 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 250 LEI every two weeks


* 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

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? 3 Years Spanish
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? Harness every opportunity you have to speak Romanian! It will be both frustrating and rewarding. Focus on what's rewarding: the steps you've made and the goal you intend to reach by the end of your time there. Language is the key that unlocks everything.

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?
  • Mentioned Above
* What could be improved?
  • It might have helped to have a greater emphasis on the language component of the course, due to the fact that the Romanian language is so integral for daily life within Lupeni.
  • A more defined scheduling of the semester as a whole.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known that my time in Romania would require me to be extremely flexible and open.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.