Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A New Beginning

They say that one day, one moment, one event, can change your life completely.

I never though that to be be true, until two of those moments happened to me within the past year. 

I am a senior at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Ohio.  I have lived in Ohio ever since I was about 6 years old and previously spent my childhood in the town of Brasov, Romania where I was born.  I can still remember my parents telling me that they had won some sort of visa lottery and were chosen come over and begin a new life in the United States.  I was immersed in a whole new culture and forced to learn a whole new language from scratch before I even fully understood my native tongue to begin with.  Now since I was way too young to blog and share all those new experiences my 6 year old self was exposed to, I've decided to give it a shot this time around and track the process of cultural immersion as an adult.  Enough about my childhood though and on to telling why this year has been the year that will have forever changed the course of my life.

 It was to be just like any year of high school that I've endured, except this one would be my last and college would be waiting for me shortly thereafter.  It became very apparent that time would fly by  quickly and would continue to relentlessly do so for the coming months in which I was to supposed to specifically decide a major and career that I would being doing for the rest of my life.  It was nerve wrecking to say the least.  I was fairly sure i'd want to do something with sports medicine, but not 100%.  There was a constant clash in my mind about whether I should choose a career that guaranteed me success and a hefty annual salary or one that would have me waking up every morning with a smile on my face, saying to myself that I'm truly happy doing what I do.  I wanted to succeed where so many before me have failed and wound up working a job they had to endure for the sole purpose of making a big old yearly salary and attain 'success' in doing so.  I wanted to do something with my life that guaranteed me happiness and the money would come in time. I eventually knew that I wanted there to be no question that whatever i'd be doing would be out of passion and true enjoyment of whatever it might be and not it's yearly salary, so I decided to keep searching.  It was then, around mid September the first moment that would completely change my life happened.  I met the girl of my dreams.

Her name is Jacqueline.  We were introduced to each other via a mutual friend (my best friends girlfriend) and the first couple times we saw each other I didn't think much of the her other than the good looks and outgoing personality she presented.  I knew she had visited Italy her sophomore year as an exchange student which sparked my curiosity and I suddenly found myself wanting to know more about this girl that I've talked to on about two occasions.  Time passed and we became closer and about a month into knowing her, I asked her to be my girlfriend.  We had such similar interests and life goals that it was hard to believe at first, that a person like this had come along so early in life.  Late nights would drag on as we talked about our future plans of joining the Peace Corps after college, myself infatuated with small villages in the Andes mountains and her with the tribal societies in the plains of Africa.  The thought of traveling the world to learn new languages and engage in new cultural experiences led us both to consider possible careers in international studies.  She had already previously decided that she planned to attend Ole Miss and learn Chinese through a Chinese flagship program offered there which would guarantee her fluency in the Chinese language after graduation.  I on the other hand had been long obsessed with the countless variety of cultures and languages that existed throughout Europe.  I decided then to switch my major and delve into the realm of international studies where I could do exactly what I wanted and had the opportunity to make a profound difference in the world by hopefully one day being employed by an environmental NGO, the Foreign Service or a branch of the United Nations.  Jacqueline's strong wanderlust and optimistic spirit was one of the main sources of motivation that helped me realize the wide array of opportunities that existed out there if you would just stop and search for a bit.

This leads into the second moment that changed not only my future, but helped me become more confident in the way I perceive myself.  After finding out that Jacqueline had applied to a program called NSLI for Youth, which provided full merit scholarships to high school students to study critical languages abroad.  It struck me as an amazing experience and I began to thirst for a similar experience to travel abroad with such a scholarship, partially because my family did not have the money to pay for such trips out of pocket with AFS, so this was my only shot.  I scoured the internet and was heartbroken to see that most of the opportunities to travel abroad on a scholarship were past their due dates, until I stumbled upon CBYX.  The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange provides full merit scholarships to students who want to fully immerse themselves in German culture by living with a host family and attending a local high school.  I searched through the website for quite a while, reading reviews, news articles and former CBYX student experiences.  It all seemed too good to be true and the best part?  The deadline for the application wasn't due for another week!  As fast as I had begun, I was already disappointed to see a page of the application where you must list all your wonderful services to the community and extraordinary clubs/extracurriculars that you have participated in.  The problem is, for me that number amounted to zero, zip, nada.  I thought to myself, "Mihai just give up right here and don't waste your time typing all theses essays and filling in the rest of these blanks. You'll never compete with the other kids applying for this".  For once or maybe a couple times in my life, thank god I went against my better judgement and upheld that gut feeling that I should at least try god dammit!  So I slaved away a 5 short 250 word essay's to hopefully make up for my lack of extracurricular and grades.  Four months later, here I am, emailing back and forth with CBYX discussing all my preparations for my departure to Germany next September and sharing this blog with you guys!  If I learned anything from this experience is that you're desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure or else you will achieve nothing in life just as I wouldn't of if I hadn't decided to push through that application despite my lack of credentials. I hope that you continue to follow me and Jacqueline, who is also traveling to Germany next year to backpack throughout Europe, on our future endeavors! Who knows? Maybe those of you looking to travel to Europe can get some insight on what to expect and for those of who who aren't, well you should definitely pick up that computer and search for some scholarship opportunities to study abroad because you got nothing to lose from it :)


  1. You inspire me everyday :) I love your first post & can't wait to read more!

  2. Inspirational and well written Mihai! Congrats, and keep it up! 👍