My name is Siddharth Agarwal from Kolkata, India and I traveled to Romania for my first exchange experience. The entire one and a half month journey was an incredible hub of learning, culture shocks, emotions and much more. One of the most memorable and happiest feeling in this period was the way I was welcomed and treated throughout my exchange. Never was I ignored or neglected, the AIESECers made sure that I had an experience of a lifetime. The most powerful of moments were being with a bunch of students from 11 different countries. This global environment expanded my thought horizon and changed my level of understanding and thinking. Every moment I had to be careful with my behaviour and words as I am a representative from India. This lead to me being a better person as I made sure I am keeping people around me happy. Culture shocks came in everytime when a stereotype about a country was removed. We despite having different languages, traditions, we connected beautifully with each other. I never imagined myself being a source of inspiration for someone staying in another part of the world, sharing selfless love with people from different countries. I see a purpose to my life now, certain goals and objectives are clear, certain short term future plans are ready, a particular way of living and mindset has been formed and all of this is making me better than what I was few months ago.
I stayed in the small yet peaceful and beautiful city of Galati. Its the city which has the elegant river Danube flowing across it. My time in Galati has been highly memorable and i enjoyed each bit i spent here. Since it was a small city with not many people, there was always a peace of mind from the regular hustle of cars and horns of the cities. It was safe to be out at whatever hour at night. Surprisingly prices in Romania were pretty much similiar to Indian prices and Galati was relatively cheaper than most of the big romanian cities. We traveled to other cities like Iasi, Brasov, Sibiu, and Bucharest. It was an amazing feeling of travelling raw, with just a map in the hand and exploring the city like nomads. This experience took us deep inside the city culture rather than paid bus trips which just shows the overview of things. We visited the Bran caslte, popularly known as the Dracula castle, the Peles castle, the Rasnov fortress, the old cities of Brasov and Sibiu. We discovered alot of culture and history in these places which is very much hidden from the world at large. It was a great experience in traveling every weekend to a totally new place after a tiring week.
Good thing about Romania is that every city is just a few hours away by bus unlike big countries like india. All us internationals used to be each others strongest support as we never asked a local to accompany us in our tours and thats when the excitment began. We used to book a hostel and live together spending all day exploring and all night socializing and talking. I experienced one of the most unique of Romanian culture and lifestyle and I cherish every bit of memory derived out of it. Bucharest was my last destination after which i was to take my flight back home, and the farewell happened in the best way possible. All us international went for the 30 seconds to Mars concert together, my first ever international concert that too in Bucharest, the coolest city in Europe (as statistics say). Bucharest was a place filled with life and energy be it day or night. The music on the streets continues oblivious of the hour of the day and people were always on the go enjoying the beauty of the city.
I took in a lot of positivity, learning, friendship and love and returned home as a totally different person and I cant thank AIESEC and all the people in Romania and other parts of the world enough for making my stay such a powerful one. But this is not the end, there is much more to learn and definitely I cant wait for my next international experience.