School Across the Seas


Oana Botoc, Staff Writer

Romania is an Eastern European country and, as many people know, it’s close to Russia, but we don’t speak Russian. We speak a Latin language, like French or Italian. Maybe you’ve heard of Transylvania? No, we don’t have vampires. Yes, that’s exactly where I live.

Schools may be located in beautiful old buildings but the conditions and what you’re learning is not the best. Most of the time you don’t have a cafeteria or even a lunch break. You have multiple 10-minute breaks and one 15-minute break that’s supposed to be called a “lunch”.

One thing that might sound weird is that we don’t have a daily schedule. We don’t have the same classes every day. We take between 14 to 17 classes. I know it seems a lot but some of them are just one hour a week. You have to memorize lots of uninteresting things because you can’t pick your classes. And of course, you forget everything when you only work on something once a week. The diversity of classes here is amazing. You have so many options. And you only have to take 7.

The one (and only) point school in Romania deserves to get, is that it’s not making me start school at 7:20. It gives me 40 minutes to actually wake up so I’m not falling asleep during first period.

School here is more technologically developed if I may call it that way. You get a laptop instead of lots of heavy books.

Imagine this scenario: You have 16 classes so that means you get at least 16 books, multiple notebooks and maybe other special textbooks. Now ask me why my back hurts.

Here, making friends is up to you and you’re the one who needs to take initiative while in Romania you have the same people in all of your classes. That creates a tiny family. I think the system here is better because it offers the opportunity to meet more people, make connections and find the right groups of friends.

I had a cultural shock whenever I got here and the teachers seemed like they cared about you, your opinion, and your well-being in general.

The school reflects how society works in the outside world. Romania escaped communism about 30 years ago. Children lived it through their parents, most teachers lived it themselves and we still wonder why they don’t care about what you think since no one cared about them.

They don’t want to do it. That’s why they procrastinate everything and you, as a student, think that that’s the way everybody does it but then you face the real world where things are different and you ask yourself: Was this even worth it?