I was raised with the idea that the most important aspect of life is education. I knew from an early age I would want to attend higher education in the United States, after all I believe that the US has the best education system not to mention my own father received a Master’s degree from New York University. I must confess, however, that I had never heard of William & Mary until I was a teenager and met an American professor working in Romania. He told me I should strongly consider W&M, and once I did some research I became attracted to the idea of a smaller environment focused on academics. That was really all I knew about the College when I applied, so I would say I definitely was flying blind at the beginning of this adventure but it worked out perfectly!
I loved life at William & Mary, the sense of community was a unique experience for me. I really enjoyed how people were enthusiastic to see you on campus, and that professors and students were able to create strong bonds. I definitely call some of my former professors friends now. I used to get a cup of coffee and just sit on a terrace or on a bench and watch all the different people hanging out together and having a laugh.
Of course I had some difficulties with deciding to study in a foreign country. I had to take science classes with labs, for example, not something I would have necessarily encountered in Romania – and I found out that even the calculators are different in the United States! I also had to get used to learning in a different language. That was a general struggle. I always received my papers back with “wordy” or “awkward” written on them in my first year. I also had to become used to multiple choice exams, which required a whole new way to study. These were difficulties I had to work through for myself, and by the end of my time at W&M I just told myself that everything I achieved would be the best I could do at that particular moment. I never put myself down for anything I did in college, and looking back on it I wouldn’t trade my time at William & Mary for the world.
Anca Cretu was born and raised in Bacau, Romania. She graduated from William & Mary in 2011 with a B.A. in History and European Studies. She now studies International History and Politics at The Graduate Institute of International Studies and Development, Geneva, Switzerland.