Whew! It’s been over a month since my first post! Hard to believe my departure is less than a week away. Here are my answers to what most people ask me when I tell them I’ll be living in Romania for the next nine months:
- Why Romania?
The Fulbright placements in Romania are at various universities throughout the country, which I found appealing to my teaching interests. (Most other Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships are at primary and secondary schools.) As much as I love working with kids, balancing discipline with actual teaching can be exhausting! So teaching an older age group was a motivating factor when deciding which country to ultimately apply to.
The Fulbright ETA grant in Romania also encourages you to either complete a research or community outreach project (or both!), since you only teach about 10 hours a week. I found the historical development/evolution of the Romanian language intriguing– specifically because it’s a Romance language, and yet Romania, unlike most other Romance language speaking countries, is in Eastern Europe. Because of this, Romanian has been influenced by the languages of its Slavic neighbors– this is evident in its phonetics, morphology, and syntax (or in dumbed down non-linguist layman’s terms: pronunciation, words, and word order). So, broadly speaking, I proposed to do a project that looks at Romanian’s historical development and relationships with both other Romance languages and Slavic languages more closely. I also expressed interest in taking and teaching dance classes as a community engagement project. This seemed like the perfect way to balance all of my passions– teaching, linguistics, and dance– through one program. And lastly, because Romanian is a Romance language, and I’ve taken Italian and Spanish, I figured it would be relatively easy to pick up. (So far, it has!)
- What will you be doing there?
I will be an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. More specifically, I will be a junior lecturer at Ovidius University, teaching in their American studies and dance departments.
- Fulbright… what’s that?
- Do you know Romanian?
NOPE! But I have been learning what I can from language learning apps like Duolingo and Mango Languages. After unlocking all the level 1 modules on Duolingo, I can proudly say that I have the vocabulary of a first grader! I’ve found Mango Languages much more effective and useful– a lot of it is repetition based learning, which helps me retain phrases and vocabulary. I regret not starting it earlier! Anyways, though I’ve been getting a grasp of the bare bones basics, I am hoping to take an intensive course at the university where I’ll be teaching.
- Do you know anyone else going?
I don’t know anyone who will also be in Constanta! But there will be about twenty to thirty Fulbrighters all throughout the country in different cities, and we have connected with each other via Facebook. We’ll all get to meet each other at our orientation in Bucharest in early October.
- When do you leave?
In 5 days!
- How long will you be there?
9 months! October-June
- Are you packed?
NOPE! But I have started! I have also made a very organized and extensive packing list, complete with checkmark boxes and categorized sub lists.
- Are you nervous?
YES! But I am mostly excited.
- What are you most excited for?
I am most excited to go to Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest. It is a five story bookstore with spiral staircases and gleaming white balconies, complete with cafe on the top floor. It looks like a palace and there is a high probability that I might spend the rest of my life inside of it.
I am also excited to meet all the other Fulbright grantees!
- What are you scared about?
This will be my first time living completely on my own! Let alone in a different country, halfway across the world! So I’m quite nervous about that. (But mindset is super powerful, so I’m going into this with a determined, open, and adventurous attitude!)
If you have any other questions that I didn’t cover, leave a reply below!