Learning from living abroad: Romania

Posted: April 10, 2024

Revisiting Romanian roots

Many people have explored different cities, traveled to different states, and maybe even visited foreign lands. But how many people can say that they were born and raised in a country other than the U.S.? For first-year Alexandra Radulescu this is her reality.

Radulescu was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 2009. Her parents had been living in the capitol for quite some time, but they had always dreamed of moving to the U.S one day. “In a way the time that I lived in Romania was like a long vacation,” Radulescu said. “The main reason my family and I lived there when I was young was because my parents wanted my grandparents and the rest of my family to spend time with me before we moved to America.”

Eventually the time came for the big move. With new job opportunities and a bright future ahead, the Radulescu family traveled 5,061 miles from Bucharest, in southeast Europe, to Minnesota, where they would
embark on their new chapter of life.

Adrian Radalescu, Alexandra’s father, recalls the language barrier hard to overcome after their first move, saying “the transition was a bit difficult, the language barrier happened to all of us.”

Although Radulescu was young when she lived in Romania, many of the values she lives by today come from her cultural background. Since both of her parents are Romanian, she was raised following many customs and traditions.

“The culture and traditions of Romania have shaped me in so many ways,” Radulescu said. “Even though I moved out of the country when I was young, every year my family and I go back to Romania for about three months.”

During her time back, Radulescu is able to reconnect with the culture through various ways. Examples include speaking Romanian with her family and listening to music.

“People in Romania listen to all different types of music,” Radulescu said.

“Some of the types are westernized Romanian pop, folk music, and manea, which is a genre of music that originated in Romania.”

Many people are able to bond through songs and tell stories through the verses.

In addition to music, Radulescu thinks that religion helps shape Romanian culture. Approximately 87% of Romanians are Orthodox Christians, including the Radulescu family. Radulescu’s parents decided to enroll Alexandra into Minnehaha when moving to the U.S in order to follow their faith journey.

“I met Alexandra when she came to Minnehaha in elementary school,” said firstyear Caroline Sonstegard.

“We hung out after school during Fun and Friends,” an afterschool program for kids whose parents
couldn’t pick them up right after school.

Sonstegard was one of Radulescu’s first friends when moving to the U.S., and she made her feel comfortable being in an unfamiliar school.

“I think that education in the U.S is a lot different than in Romania,” Radulescu said. “The education system here seems to be better and more advanced. This is probably one of the best parts about living in America.”

Although Radulescu enjoys living in the U.S there are still aspects about her home country that she misses. These include seeing her close friends, spending time with her family and practicing cultural traditions. Although she is not able to spend all year in Romania, Radulescu goes back regularly.

“Each year I go back to Romania, I learn something new,” Radulescu said. “The older I get, I realize how much Romanians view those who are old with a lot of respect since they are considered wise.”

Romania is full of stunning scenery, rich history, and amazing traditions. Many Romanians would recommend you to visit their home, including Radulescu.

“If you are looking for somewhere to travel, I would definitely recommend visiting Romania!” Radulescu said.

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