News from Romanian Fulbrighter Alexandru Groza

“How did my Fulbright journey start? It started at the University of Idaho in an American state that I had heard too little about. I had no expectations, nor good, nor bad, just the feeling that I will have a fresh start.

What did I find at the University of Idaho? I found a family that took all the Fulbrighters, coming from all the continents, into their care. Not only did we receive valuable pieces of advice and information about what Fulbright really means, but we also felt real warmth. It was like everyone was eager to help bridge the cultural gap. It was not the cultural shock that came first, as the people involved in the organization, the volunteers, and the perfect combination of events made our cultural adjustment easier, although we knew very well that this gateway was the path to a better understanding of our new life and research style.

What have I learned at the Gateway? That every road in America is a long road and, if you do not stay in the city, then you should definitely have a car. I learned that coming from a different type of culture does not make you an outsider, but rather makes you an ambassador of diversity. In the USA, you have the right to be different, but you also have the obligation to understand and observe the things and the events around you.  This intersection of cultures makes us more aware of how we can create better bonds with each other and make the best of our Fulbright experience. I have learned that Idaho is one of the states with the most wildlife and natural areas, and I got a glimpse of the countryside: the wheat fields, the wave-like hills and the Moscow Mountain with its beautiful forest, the Snake river valley, all these landscapes made me regret that I cannot paint or capture all that beauty in one perfect picture.  I have learned that the American universities system is completely different from the European one, in the sense that you are expected to ask and search, to motivate yourself and to be independent, while communicating with your professor.   I also was inspired to believe that every one of us can become a leader, no matter if he is a "panda" or a "grizzly", a "cool cucumber" or a "hot pepper", it's all in the way you open yourself to, understand and respect the diversity of the people around you.

What do I feel now about everything that happened in those wonderful four days? I feel like all the people that I have met (Fulbrighters, organizers and volunteers) have a very special place in my heart. I had the opportunity to talk and get a first preview of what the Fulbright experience really is about. Thank you and I hope that we will keep in touch and maintain the wonderful bond that was created at the University of Idaho.

I am sending all my appreciation and love to the wonderful team of the University of Idaho!”
Alexandru Groza, Fulbright Student Researcher, 2017-2018