"My first incredible week as a PFP Fellow" - by Diana Grosu

May, 7 2016

The American Councils for International Education Professional Fellowship Program began for me by making two new friends in Moldova, Tatiana Chirilenco and Andrei Guceac . I met them at the orientation of the program and we traveled together to start my journey in the US. It was a long way from Moldova to the US but traveling with Tatiana and Andrei made the road much shorter.


Upon landing in America, we were greeted warmly. Even in the airport I noticed the diversity of people: all kinds of colors; ethnicities; clothing styles; religions, such an amalgam of colors I found myself wondering how the American people managed to become a nation, to be so different and at the same time to form a unit, the greatest power in the world, the US. It is often said we in Moldova are a multinational country but now, after comparing Moldova to the US, I would not say that about our country.


During two days in Washington, we met other citizens of planet Earth from Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and others. It was a great pleasure to speak with my colleagues and find out what life is like in their countries and to share and from my own experience. It occurred to me that my Moldovan counterparts and I are ambassadors of our country and, in our behavior, the impression we make on the other Fellows will influence their opinion of our country. There was a dinner with all participants in a restaurant where I was seated at a table with people from different countries and enthusiastically learned many new things.


I had the opportunity to visit historical places such as the White House, which proved to be much smaller than I imagined. The landmark attracts many tourists and groups of students accompanied by teachers. The home to US presidents is clearly loved by Americans. We visited the US Capitol and watched a short documentary about the history of the US. I noticed that Americans love their country and are very proud of their country. We observed the American flag flown on houses everywhere, it's flown on their cars, it's on their clothing and flown on official buildings. Everywhere.


The famous American smile made a stranger like me feel instantly welcome. It is very pleasant when someone you don't know asks how you are. This pleasantry happens everywhere and, with this question, one manages to make friends. Unfortunately, Americans do not know about the existence of the country of Moldov,a but our interactions with Americans provide a great opportunity to exchange experiences and to know each other better.


After a few wonderful days in Washington, I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts where I am to spend most of my time in the US. The taxi brought me to a beautiful house in the Boston suburb of Newton. This town is so scenic with very beautiful and clean houses. People unknown by me, smile and ask "how are you"? Even cyclists on the street greet me as I walk down the street. I'm amazed.


The host mother with whom I will live while in Boston owns a wonderful house. She is a very smart, welcoming Jewish woman who is a fantastic cook and creates nutritious, delicious meals. She is a nurse and subscribes to healthy eating and lifestyle. I was received exceedingly warmly by her family. I feel like a member of her family. Every night I learn many things about this country in our conversations and we happily share experiences. I ask questions and she answers with great pleasure.


The first day of work was a big surprise for me. I was fortunate to be placed in an exceedingly welcoming team. On arrival, they presented me with a narrative prepared about me which was posted on the official website. I liked it very much. Another surprise was when the company hosted the whole team for a lunch in my honor at a restaurant. This was my first incredible week in the US with the Professional Fellowship Program.


Previous news
American Councils for International Education is pleased to announce that Fall 2018 Professional Fellows Program application is open now through March 30th, 2018. Apply to become a #profellow on a fully-funded, six-week legislative #fellowship in the US! Applicants must be aged 25-35, work in public sector or NGOs, and citizens of Moldova. Don't delay, apply now at: https://ais.americancouncils.org/pfp
Fellows from Moldova arrived in Washington D.C. for a three day pre-orientation session.