My story started even before I got into high school. As my experience is quite long I will only list the main activities and documents to show the participation in different extracurricular projects.
- I went to France for a week and stayed at a host family and attended a french high school in 2010
- I went to England for three weeks and attended an English Course called SOL while staying at a host family in 2011
- I participated in a project organised by AIESEC called Discover the World in 2012, it was the time I realised the importance of international environments. I would have never thought that the people I met there would change my life forever, would make me discover my true passions, likes and potential.
- Once again AIESEC brightened up my life with a project called World Citizenship in 2014. This is when I learned the concepts ‘get out of your comfort zone’ and ‘think outside the box’. Even today I guide my life by thinking of what someone can achieve through this kind of activities, every day becomes life-changing!
- Highschool started and by a pure coincidence I went to a meeting of the volunteering club Interact. People should be more confident in coincidences because this experience made a great impact on me starting from 2014 up to 2016, two years of great projects, friendships and even greater opportunities.
- And now, my life long story of GROW starts. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me, the project that changed me the most, that showed me what I want to do in my life and what I am capable of doing. In the first edition I was a participant, next edition became an ambassador and now, at my third edition, I am a member of the Organisation Team. Meanwhile, I participated in GROW Summer Camp 2015 and 2016.
- Another challenge I took up was an year of YouthBank membership with hard periods of fundraising and fun periods of projects and working ‘on the field’ in 2014-2015.
- Also, as a high school-er I took up every opportunity of projects and workshops I could, I was a HOLA participant and I hosted a student exchange from Poland in the project Bike Friendly Youngsters (European Union project), I participated in creative contests, literary creation and artistic creation and I also volunteered for a bit at an animal shelter and at an orphanage.
Feels like my experience is over? Well anyone can obtain diplomas, they just need to work to develop themselves, but there is something you can only learn by experiencing… courage.
No, I’m not a very brave person, I have doubts about my self confidence, I am anxious sometimes and I do feel like staying in bed sometimes rather that getting up and making a motivational speech, but this is the definition of any teenager you can see around. We all have insecurities, but how we deal with them, how we change ourselves, this is how we want to change the world.
So… how did I get over this thing called fear?
Actually, I left for a student exchange program in America with a Rotary Exchange for 2 months. Again, by poor coincidence I found out and was accepted to go, but those months spent around great people with great perspectives and open-minded character, are unforgettable. I met many people, made thousands of contacts and learned so much about myself and my goals.
Even though I had a great time, I could make the most out of what I was offered and knew how to take up opportunities, there was always a little something that I knew I could do more.
I applied out of a sudden, by a crazy impulse I had, to a program called YFU. Whatever was in my head… I. Don’t. Know. But, after interviews and motivation letters and long application processes, oh well, I got a place to study in Japan for one semester. This was the biggest challenge in my life, this is the moment when I needed the most strength, the moment when I left home at 16 years old without knowing anybody and without knowing how it is going to be like.
I had hard moments, I had extremely hard moments, I knew very basic Japanese and seemed like my host family knew no english, but this is when bravery and courage was really required. All in all, it was the experience of my life and I am waiting for more to come this way. (link to the article about my exchange http://www.jurnalbihorean.ro/actualitate/2016/08/10/o-oradeanca-printre-samurai.bihorean )
After coming back in Romania and participating in GROW Summer Camp 2016 I made a project (out of the Step Up sessions from the camp), together with my greatest project-mate. This was a personal initiative, an idea we came up with, an idea we worked so hard for, we finally started something of our own, and it really made a great impact into our community.
Though I changed a lot during these years I learned a whole lot of stuff, and now, as I’m growing out of my teenage-hood, I really want to invest in the teens that will impact the community in the following years, after all, we worked for it.
And, by the way… I’m Ana, and my new motto is ‘Experience means inspiring’.