“When I stand on the main road in Lupeni, Romania, and look up… I see the crossing paths of jet streams against the untainted blue sky. It’s intriguing. These people in giant, flying buses so far above me are unaware of what they are missing. They are missing Romanian hospitality. During the first half of the semester… I lived on a farm with a family of three, and I have never experienced more hospitality than I did with them. Both my host mom and dad sacrificed time to make me early breakfasts and late suppers. I was usually fed more food than anyone else in the family! They are also missing out on Romanian creativity and they are missing out on Romania’s natural beauty. After nearly two and a half months in Romania, my expectations have been exceeded. I believe that Romania is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. I wish the people who fly over Romania every day would realize what grandeur awaits them here."
“My time in Romania has had a profound impact on the way I live my life today. I was able to encounter a culture that I never thought I’d be able to. Not only was I able to encounter it though, I was able to live in it. I was loved and encouraged, in creative ways, by the people I met there. This then sent me on a new track of loving people, using thinking outside of the customary box. I learned that kind words and persistent invitations make people feel loved more than gifts or material possessions. In the end, love comes down to the time we spend with people. Romania has changed me more than I know and can describe."
“This experience was truly incredible. From the moment we stepped off the plane, we felt welcomed and at home. The best part about this experience is how deeply you feel connected to those around you. You will have the chance to make lasting friendships with a wide range of people, including your host family, the baker down the street, the Bates family (founders of FNO), and Janelle and Felipe (your program directors). That’s the beauty of this semester in particular: you are rooted in one place, living a real and intentional life with and amongst the community of Lupeni. Other programs focus on scope: “how many places can we go while here?” This is fine. But if you want to take your abroad experience to new heights, focus in on one like the Romania semester: a program that tends not to aim for quantity of experiences, but on the depth and meaning of relationships with individuals and your greater community. In other words, one that creates a new sense of belonging."
“This is not an idealized place or experience, it is very real. You are not hidden from the bad or the hard. Your eyes are opened to them, and you see the good that comes from them, and that is real life. That’s what college should be preparing you for.”
“I learned firsthand that people from different cultures see the world differently, approach problems and solutions differently, and that different isn’t bad. This has proved to be extremely useful while living and working in our ever-connected world. And due to the unique component of working with local IMPACT clubs, I left Romania empowered to come home and be an active member of society, starting in my own community.”
“The semester transformed my idea of the first and second commandment. My relationship with Jesus as more of following Him than just believing in Him.”