Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Hello again, sophomore <3 Where are you at this exact moment, when you’re answering these questions?

Hello! I am currently in Madison WI, in a nice townhouse, close to the UW-Madison campus.

How did you find UW-Madison? How did you know it was the one?

Everything started with me looking up top universities in the U.S. when UW-Madison popped up as a “public Ivy League school.” Its high ranking (25th best university in the world), as well as exceptional Economics and Business departments, assured me that this is a promising university where I could develop as an individual. At that moment, I didn’t know that UW-Madison was going to be “the one.” It was just a number on my list of choices, backed up by my hope of studying in the U.S.

What’s your major? How and when did you choose it?

When I first applied to UW-Madison, my declared major was Economics, but after meeting with some very helpful academic advisors and explaining my interests and career goals to them, they recommended I double major in Finance, Investment & Banking. So that’s what I did! I became a pre-business student, taking the required pre-requisites and preparing my application for the Wisconsin School of Business. During the Spring semester, I sent my application, which consisted of an essay and my resume. The most important component of the entire process was my GPA, which at that point was 4.0 out of 4.0. I don’t intend to brag about it, but this year the competition was tough, and I think that my grades played an important role in my admission.

Fast-forward into June, when I received a congratulatory email from the Wisconsin School of Business letting me know that I had officially become a “Business Badger.”

Now, I am double majoring in Finance and Economics, which will surely help me become a successful investor in capital markets.

Best things about the last year: academically, extracurricularly, personally?

I love this question. I have so much to tell!

First, speaking of academics, I am happy to say that I really feel motivated at UW-Madison. For me, it is the ideal place to grow both personally, as well as professionally. Not to mention, the academic system is far different from the one in Romania. Also, the instructors that I’ve had so far were all kind people with a passion for what they were teaching, so that was a bonus point for me and a starting point for my passion for growing as an individual.

Regarding extracurriculars, I joined a few academic clubs related to my majors, where, again, I had the opportunity to connect with even more individuals. I learned how to create a resume and how to network with people working in my industry. I also had a mentor who guided me through the required courses for my majors and offered me some advice regarding internships and research opportunities.

Last but not least, my personal life. I don’t even know where to start. In short, I found myself a second family – my American family. How did I get into this family? Well, by simply speaking Romanian on the phone around campus. This is how I found my “sister,” Silvia. She was so happy to find another Romanian on the UW campus. Her parents are Romanian but live in the U.S., about an hour or so from Madison. Of course, we became best friends and helped each other navigate through freshman year.

Fast forward to when COVID-19 happened. I could not risk going back to Romania and compromising my health, so Silvia suggested that I come and live with her. My new additional mom, Paula, and new dad, Marius, along with my new little sister, Emma, immediately accepted me as a family member. From that moment on, everything started to flow so nicely, and my life turned into an amazing adventure. I met other Romanians within the Romanian community in Milwaukee, got to travel around Wisconsin, discovered some beautiful lakes, and learned how to cook and how to help in the garden (Romanian stuff). I even learned how to drive (thanks Paula and Marius! <3) and recently got my official driver’s license. I can’t express into words how grateful I am for all of this, for finding a home away from home and a new family 5,000 miles away from my real family. 

What does a week or day in your life look like?

Well, I am currently enrolled in seven courses, so I barely have time to do anything else besides studying. But I don’t mind it! Quite the opposite, I love what I’m doing. Also, I started being a Math tutor this summer for one kid in the
Romanian community, and for my little sister, Emma. I meet with each of them once a week, via Skype, where we discuss various Math concepts and solve problems.

Right now, I am also focused on finding an internship for the next summer. I have already applied to a few positions, and I am also going to attend UW-Madison’s career fair. Wish me luck!

Moving back in history :D, how and when did you decide you’d apply to U.S. universities?

It all started when I was a freshman in high school. That’s when I realized that I wanted more out of my life. I wanted something outstanding, something hard to do – a challenge that would change my life completely. So, I did some research, found out about the SAT, and what it takes to get into a U.S. university as an international student. That was the beginning. From then on, my focus was 100% on studying for the SAT and crafting my application. 

Most challenging part of the app?

I guess it was the personal essay. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was challenging to describe myself in just 650 words. I wrote about my childish businesses that I had during middle school and high school, such as selling Math and French homework assistance, as well as my first step into Portfolio Management (when I started to buy stocks on the BVB stock exchange). I think I nailed it in the end! 🙂

What was working with EDMERICA like?

It was a great opportunity to find out more about U.S. universities and the application process. I started by attending the SAT school, where I had learned how to tackle SAT questions and various strategies for problem-solving. EDMERICA was an important resource for me and I am glad that I have met such amazing people there, who guided me through the entire application process. Thank you!

SAT School - Me trying to figure out how the SAT works

Any advice for future applicants?

Keep your focus on your application and your final goal. I promise you that this will be the most rewarding achievement in both your academic career as well as your personal life. It is a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be overlooked. And, if you ever feel discouraged, remember EDMERICA’s words: YES, YOU CAN!