An Enriching Experience for a Lifetime
Doina Bejenaru, 21, is one of the Moldovan students who benefited from an US Government-sponsored scholarship during the academic year of 2008-2009. She is amongst 21,000 students who experienced the American life and culture through Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX).
“I chose to apply for an US Government sponsored scholarship because I wanted to have a unique life experience that could change my future. I wanted to live that ``American Dream``, the dream about everyone was talking about,” Bejenaru told Moldova.ORG. She added that she wanted to get to know another country and society, different than her own.
FLEX is the first large-scale and long-term program to concentrate on secondary school students. The program was created by the US Congress to extend a hand of friendship from the people of the United States to the people of the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Studying abroad implies a lot of compromises, but also involves a lot of fun. Getting to know new people is an important aspect of an exchange experience. Doina Bejenaru said that during her studies in the United States, the friendship and the kindness of the American people was what gained her attention most of all. She explains that the teachers are supportive all the time, while her host family made her feel “like you are a member of it.” Bejenaru studied at Rockford High School from Michigan State for one academic year.
The Moldovan student believes that there are some specific features which characterize the American culture. “People follow and believe in values like democracy, freedom and equality.” She also referred to the acceptance of the diversity, stating that “different ethnic groups get along as a big family.” She was also impressed by the faith and humanitarianism of the American people.
The Republic of Moldova and the United States of America have quite different systems of education. Doina explains that the USA is full of opportunities.
“The American education system is based on equality of opportunities and fairness,” said the Moldovan student, who currently studies at “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad, Romania.
Being asked to compare the Moldovan and the American student, she pictured the Moldovan students as “always ready to cheat, or studying for getting a good grade.” Talking about the American scholars, she stated that Americans don’t care about grades too much. “They care about getting important knowledge that will help them succeed in life,” added Bejenaru.
A study-abroad experience changes a person for life. It gets enriching when the student takes the most out of it by trying to get involved in as many activities as possible.
“This experience was the base of me getting more maturely wise, independent, to develop my English skills, to meet new interesting people, to make new friends for life, and how to resolve problems concerning communication,” said Doina Bejenaru. She also added that she learned to accept differences between cultures and to see that “some things are not bad, just different!”