The University of San Diego’s annual All Faith Service is Thursday, Feb. 2 at 12:15 p.m. in Shiley Theatre. The campus community comes together for a diverse experience through faith traditions. Several USD international students will serve as flag-bearing representatives of their respective countries. Inside USD chose five students and asked them to share insights about their home country and their USD experience.
Where were you born?
I was born in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, a former Soviet Union country neighboring Romania and Ukraine.
How long have you lived in Moldova? Do you still visit during school breaks? Will you live there again after you finish college?
I’ve lived in Moldova my entire life, except for the three years I studied in England and now one semester at USD. After I finish at USD I plan to work in San Diego for a few years and then I might go back home and open a business.
What are some fond memories of Moldova?
Most of my memories are associated with school time, my classmates who became my good friends and my family, especially during celebrations such as New Year’s and Easter. The most recent memorable moment was when I turned 18. All of my good friends surprised me by coming to my house at midnight to congratulate me.
How different is Moldova now than 10-15 years ago?
Moldova is in complete political, economical and social chaos right now, just as it was 15 years ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union. During this time, one of our presidents tried to control the situation and he led our country to at least a snail’s progress. He tried to get himself re-elected, though, but people rebelled and new politicians tried to come into power. This action has left Moldova without a president for three years.
Can you share some cultural thoughts about Moldova?
Historically, Moldova was part of Romania and Russia, so the main languages spoken are Romanian and Russian. There is a big controversy on the topic of who we’re closer to, depending on the generation. My parents were raised in the Soviet Union. My grandparents keep the Romanian traditions of eating mamaliga, listening to folklore and fasting. My country’s economy was highly dependent on wine exports to Russia, but due to the changes of political power in Moldova, even the wine industry suffers.
If you were a tour guide for others visiting Moldova for the first time, what would you show them?
Moldova is known for its wines so I would show them some famous wineries, such as Cricova, the oldest, since 1950, and Milestii Mici, named the biggest in the world in 2005. At the latter, the cellars extend for 250 kilometers (160 miles), of which only 120 kilometers (75 miles) are used. The complex holds nearly two million bottles. I would also show them some historical monuments and monasteries as well as our green capital city, Chisinau (population 700,000).
That the Republic of Moldova is a country! And that it is located in Europe, between Romania and Ukraine. Please check the map!
How did you hear about USD? Plans for your major?
I am a freshman who planned to study economics after studying International Baccalaureate in England. When I applied to American universities, I had a very blurry image of each university, relying only on Internet statistics. I believe I was extremely lucky to get into USD. Fate brought me to San Diego and now I am planning to major in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a mathematics minor.
Describe your experience as an international student at USD?
I’m used to being an international student as I studied in Taunton International Study Center with only 80 people from all over the world and, at the International Baccalaureate in Taunton School with only 30 students abroad. I’ve been amazed by the kindness and openness with which I’ve been treated at USD from the very first day I came to the International Center. I’ve become an active member of USD’s International Students Organization and I’ve been appointed as a group leader in the Student International Business Council.
What are your thoughts about American culture? Has it been a difficult adjustment?
I always knew that Americans are open to any nation, but I couldn’t have expected such an easy adjustment to the American culture. People I’ve met here are incredibly friendly, always smiling and welcoming. I’ve had the time of my life these first four months at USD and I’ve felt homesick only once or twice. I’ve gotten involved in as many events as possible and I’ve gone out with my new friends so I can get the most out of my stay in San Diego. There is so much to do in this city. I enjoy exploring it with the help of my new, but already, good friends.
The All Faith Service provides you a chance to represent Moldova and carry your flag. How do you feel about being a part of it?
I’m excited to represent my country at such an event because I’ve never done it before. Moreover, it’s a great opportunity to present my country and myself.
Describe Moldova in one sentence:
Moldova is the poorest European country with all-seasonal climate, great wine and more difficult education.