Half-Way Finished

By Josh Vander Zwaag on November 12, 2017

It is crazy to think that I am already half-way finished with this semester abroad! Seems like yesterday I just got here; so much has happened the last two months. As I look back at what has happened the last few weeks I have realized that I have grown in so many ways. My comfort zone has been expanded so much; when I first came here I wasn’t comfortable with trying everything from food to meeting new people and so on. I was afraid to make mistakes and now I daily try to do something new on purpose whether I try to start a conversation with someone in Romanian or just trying a new kind of food. 

Recently our group took a week trip to a city called Cluj-Napaco and a small village called Breb and we were introduced to so many different things. For example, in Cluj, we visited a former communist prison which really opened my eyes to how bad communism was not only in Romania but the world. I learned that over 100 million people over the last century have died in the name of communism due to many things such as murder and starvation. Romania was under communist control from after WWII until 1989; throughout this period thousands of people were imprisoned and millions of people suffered.

Today we can still see how communism hurt this country from the communist apartment blocks, large factories closed, mining towns abandoned, and the list is endless. The reason I mention all of this is because I have found a drive in the Romanian people to be better and be successful. Cities such as Cluj are growing and developing into beautiful modern cities that anyone would be proud to live in. Though this country is far from perfect, there is hope and a drive in the people to become something greater.