Program Fellow Gabrielle Cascio shares her experience as an international educator in Romania, as part of the celebration of International Education Week.
How did you decide to go abroad initially?
Ever since I can remember, I have known that I wanted to travel, study, and work abroad. Upon entering university, I was fortunate to find professional and academic programs in Romania and the UK that aligned with my goals and values.
Can you explain the program where you worked in Romania?
During the 2018-2019 academic year, I worked as the Romania Program Director at Learning Enterprises, a student run non-profit dedicated to cultural exchange through English language teaching. In this capacity, I matched seven university students with host families and learning institutions across Romania where they each facilitated English language lessons and engaged with their host communities for six weeks during the summer.
What is your favorite thing about Romanian culture?
Teaching English in Transylvania provided me with the unique opportunity to engage with both Romanian and Hungarian traditions and histories. Attending traditional Hungarian and Romanian dance festivals was one of the highlights of my time in Romania.
What was one unexpected challenge of the experience?
Learning how to rely on nonverbal communication to express myself in the classroom and with the people I interacted with was one of the most challenging and simultaneously rewarding experiences I had while in Romania.
How does your international experience inform your current work?
Teaching and studying abroad imbued me with a degree of flexibility and open-mindedness that I consistently draw on in my work at the Alliance.
Do you have one piece of advice for someone considering participating in international exchange?
Go into the experience with an open mind, an open heart, and an empty stomach!
What is one item that you do not travel without?
As an avid reader, I never travel without a novel, preferably one that has a connection to the place where I am traveling.