Diverging dreams: How Romania disheartened me

Proud to be a Romanian student in Germany, I am following my dream of discovering Physics, but I gave up on another dream: doing it back home. Why does the latter have to be a dream, though? You`ll find here not the straightforward face of corruption, but its repercussions on what I still want to call home one day, and what happened on January 31st poisoned me. I have no cure, only this writing as a treatment.

Finishing high school was the moment I understood the Romanian society hates…itself basically. Three years ago I was a teenager with eyes flickering particularly at one word: Physics. So I started to search (mostly on my own) what I can do, where, etc. Soon enough, I saw only one escape, to become an intellectual refugee in Germany (many thanks to the politicians here, they`re doing a great job as far as I know). I will know go through all the steps I made back then, so bear with me.

Let`s see which (good) universities give a Physics degree. I was aiming for the best one, you see, Romania has a great Olympiads and contests system for many subjects, and by participating (and winning) some of them, I was among the top of my generation. Top 3 List: Iasi, Cluj, Bucharest (from low to high, personal opinion).

An acquaintance who graduated from Physics living in Iasi told my mother this: “Physics? Here, in Romania? You want him to rot in some underfunded department or to teach pupils or students, if he is incredibly lucky and knows whom to bribe, in a political and even poorer system? Go outside, tell him to run as far as he can see with his open eyes.” Maybe it is just the city`s mentality, I told myself. You have to acknowledge that things differ from city to city, depending on whether the politicians steal less (more) when having power. There is never enough money for education, not talking about research, but always enough money for benches in empty renovated and remote parks, just to cash out money to some political businessman.

Cluj disappointed me academically, but I liked the city and the people. Thumbs up for them!

Bucharest was where Romania struck me the hardest. A close friend of mine studying at presumably the best university for Physics and who shares the same scientific curiosity gave me his ultimatum: “If you come here, I`ll beat you myself. Don`t constrain yourself in this system, I barely haven`t lost myself. Leave while you still can!” If not the best, he was one of the good guys. He saw everyday corruption in the administration, in deans over professors, in professors over assistants, and everything spilled upon the students. Your actual supervisor would work his ass off next to you, and the official supervisor name on the thesis would be someone from above, whom you barely (if never) met.

I`d love to go back home and hug my parents. But then what?

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