By Olga Bodrug
Originally from Moldova, Olga Bodrug earned an undergraduate degree in Romania before coming to the Bush School where she studies International Affairs.
I feel honored I had the chance to spend the last semester of the decade in the United States. I am very grateful to the Fulbright Program and the Institute of International Education for providing me this fantastic opportunity and to the Bush School of Government and Public Service for admitting me to this competitive institution. I found in the Bush School a wonderful community, which has made me feel like I am not over the ocean, 6000 miles away from home. Exactly four months ago, I moved to Texas, and looking back, it is incredible how great my experience here has been and how much I have grown, both professionally and personally.
I remember the first day I entered the Allen Building. I had exactly that special feeling I have when I go home to visit my family. That made me immediately confident that I was in the right place. Our Dean’s reaction to my first “Howdy” also made me feel at home: “Howdy. You pronounced it perfectly. I am glad you are here.”
“In my first semester, I’ve had so many great opportunities and experiences.”– Olga Bodrug
In my first semester, I’ve had so many great opportunities and experiences, such as the chance to attend events with important figures like Robert Gates, former United States Secretary of Defense; John Major, former Prime Minister of the U.K.; H. E. Winston Lord, former U.S. Ambassador to China; and H.E. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, former U.S. Ambassador to Malta.
One of the most significant public figures I’ve had the opportunity to meet and have a discussion with was the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm. Even though we lived in the same Romanian city (Bucharest) for four years, I never had the opportunity to speak with His Excellency.
I have grown professionally because of a great group of very experienced professors as well as the amazing Career Services staff of the Bush School, who have advised me on how to have a great career after I finish graduate school.
I have also grown both professionally and personally because of my classmates, who are like a family to me because of the way we support each other and thus have grown together.
Long story short about my first semester: demanding, challenging, but exciting.
It was a difficult semester (the adaption period, I call it), but the reward was accordingly great. I have learned many new and useful things—some the hard way—but at least I feel more prepared now for a job after graduation.
I had to fight or to “pay” with lost hours of sleep because of my procrastination. I embraced some of the unique aspects of going to school in Texas, such as going to classes in suits with long sleeves when outside it is almost 100° F (my record temperature ever) or walking outside with a t-shirt and shorts in December. My last day of exams of the semester was on December 9th, a sunny day of 80° F, which made it feel like spring to me. (In Romania in December, it gets as low as 26° F.) I remember being on my way to school a little stressed because of the exam but “comforted” by the soft spring wind.
After the exam, it almost felt like I hadn’t yet “really” finished the semester, maybe because I was used to finishing it in February in my country when usually it is super cold and often snowing.
I don’t even know what happened to the first four months of my master’s degree education. It went by so fast. As the department Head, Dr. Gause, told us at the beginning of the semester: “It’s a sprint, not a marathon!”