Sue, from China, came to Romania last winter to be a GROW trainer for the teenagers in Cluj. We asked her how was this experience and what she thinks now about Romania and this is what she told us:

GROW is my third international exchange, but it was definitely the best one. I had a good time in Romania, I cried the whole week before I left. This experience will always be my precious memory and I hope that one day I will return to Romania.

As a trainer, I’ve faced some challenges. First, the use of English, which is my second language and it wasn’t so easy to teach using it, but it also pushed me to improve and practice a lot. Secondly, I had six groups and over 100 students, which means a lot of work. This first week was really difficult for me and every day was very exhausting, but things went pretty well once I got to know my students better. Time management is my weakness, but eventually I got used to my busy schedule.

From this experience I’ve learnt a lot of things, but the most important are:

Believe in yourself! You can do much more than you expect. At the beginning, I wasn’t that confident, I didn’t believe that I can do it, but eventually I found out it is just the barrier I set for myself and once I conquered it, everything went just fine.

– Enjoy every moment! This is my motto. I simply loved to talk and stay with my students. When you are relaxed and have fun, you determine the others to feel the same thing.

– Don’t be afraid to step up! This is what I used to tell my students. There are many unknown things that will happen in your future, but there is no need to be afraid of them. Every new challenge is a chance, a chance to make mistakes, a chance to try, a chance to GROW!

Every moment I spent with my students was beautiful and precious for me, as well as the time spent with other internationals, AIESECers and even strangers. I was very touched when my students invited me to their birthday parties, to their homes or to have a drink and chat with them.

The teenagers were open-minded and totally accepted me into their lives. Some of them were a little shy, but when I got close to them they opened their heart. They shared their secrets, stories and dreams. They have their points of view about life, Romania, study, society, which impressed me a lot.

I just love Romania, especially CLUJ. People are very friendly, every time I needed help, even if they were just strangers, they helped me. The landscape is beautiful, the air is very fresh. I always prefer small cities and old, historical buildings. And I like people here, they always like to hang out with their friends, have a drink and nice chat, which in China we don’t do that that much. But I really like it.

If someone from my country asks me about Romania, I would say it is an awesome place. I know it’s not that developed like other European countries, but it has potential, people here have a very strong vision about their life and future and they are willing to fight for it. They know how to have fun, to enjoy their life. I would love to come back here!