|Although Romanian exchange student, Alexia Stanciu’s academic year is coming to an end, her American adventures will continue during the summer months. Immediately after school, her host family is seeing to a visit to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, and then a jaunt to Las Vegas.
A Rotary International tour follows; she will join a bus load of international exchange students for an exhaustive itinerary originating in Denver, down through the southwest into California and up the west coast, heading back to Texas, on to Florida and into the northeast through Pennsylvania and New York, and eventually ending in Chicago. After a visit with her host family’s parents in Connecticut, Alexia will return to Custer County in mid-July for some final farewells before her July 27 flight home from Denver.
“I am filled with mixed feelings,” she says; “happy to be going home to Romania, but sad about leaving here.” She reports that her first few months here, everything was exciting and different, and that was added to as she came to know people even better. “Living here,” she notes, “provided me so many things that I would never have done in Romania—horseback riding, four wheeling!”
Alexia was hard pressed to think of anything negative about her Custer County experience. “I am a positive person…by being by myself, and learning to be responsible for myself, I have learned who I am.” Thinking back over her school year, she returned to this theme: “The main thing about my year is that I discovered myself, and I will still be working on that!”
She found her academics to be more challenging here, and primarily because of the difference in teaching and learning styles. “In Romania, everything is so competitive, and here there was collaboration in the classroom, and so many practical things are studied and learned, not just theory.” Alexia spoke glowingly of examples, like anatomical knowledge, doing polygraph tests in psychology, and the grounding in math, chemistry and biology that she accomplished at Custer County High School. “One of my goals too, was to improve my English, and I think I have developed my English writing…
“I’d wanted to expand my language and travel, make friends, and I’ve done that,” she says, adding that she will be able to maintain communication easily with her host families and her school friends with social media.
“It’s been a different challenge, different from what I expected…and my memories will be of the people I care for…and,” she concludes, “I’ve been invited to come back!” After her whirlwind of a summer, the community will have an opportunity to say goodbye with good wishes in late July. Until then, may this young woman’s adventuresome spirit continue to be pleasantly filled with more positive experiences and memories.
– W.A. Ewing