Winner Details

Mădălina Benderschi

* Absolventă a Liceului Teoretic "Spiru Haret" (Promoția 2015);
* Locul I la Categoria English Language Band, ediția a VI-a a Concursului Național Școlar, 2014;
* Premiu: tabără de vară (2 săptămâni) în cadrul Bellerbys College, Londra, UK;
* Din 2015 studentă la Lansdowne College (part of ASTRUM Education), UK;
* Din 2017 studentă la University College London (UCL), UK.

"During the two weeks I spent in London with the Bellerbys Academic Summer Program I understood that education is much like art, when you discover something that's much superior to what you're used to, it sets a standart, and you cannot simply come back and accept what had been a norm before. It was an unforgettable experience and I certainly feel changed, it had a big effect on me.

The teachers were extremely intelligent and passionate about the subject they taught. They were incredibly accepting and never felt the need to prove that they were an authority figure. The teacher-student relationship was very friendly, you could just stay after lessons and share your thoughts, the end of the lesson didn't mean the end of the interaction, which I much appreciated. I have learnt a lot of things, we debated controversial topics like the Edward Snowden case - the NSA whistle blower - during our bussiness classes. I found out about a concept named Circular Economy - something I had never heard before, but what could solve some of the society's most stringent problems - the lack of green place, the problem of the industrial waste, and ultimately global warming. We actually had to do a project on it, doing research was really interesting to me. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the academic part was my English teacher; he was smart and hands down, one of the funniest people I've ever met. His techinique of making his students engage in the conversation was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and he subtly used psychological tricks to keep our attention. We improved our use of colloquial English during his lessons. English wasn't the only language I became better at, but I even had to speak Russian and French due to the fact that Bellerbys is an international college, so there were a lot of people from all over the world that I was eager to interact with.

I believe our evening activities were well-thought, as they were diverse and covered numerous types of personalities, we visited a wide range of places, from modern art galleries to amusement parks and even the Buckingham Palace. However, my favourite activity was going to the theatre, because it's an unique experience, different from what I was used to. Not only are their theaters built higher and shorter, but they also have an entire orchestra in front of the stage. It is indeed extremely impressive from a visual point of view, and it is seen that they invest a lot in art.

Realising how alone and truly independent I really was had a big impact on me, as I understood that I was the only one responsible for myself, and therefore those old excuses that used to work back at home were of no use to me. Exploring the city on my own and building up the confidence to get out there and take as much as I could from my trip made me more mature, and it slightly expanded my comfort zone. I loved the fact that the public transport in London is so well-thought - you can get anywhere, but you need a load of maps and a few days to adapt, and evidently, an Oyster card. Londoners are the most polite people I've ever met, they were incredibly helpful and nice. It was amazing that you could just stop somebody on the street and strike a conversation, and it could go from trivial things such as asking for directions to a broad range of interesting subjects.

Even though my time in London was rather short, in that space of authentic culture everything feels meaningful and intense. I was particularly amazed by how different their rhythm of life is from ours - they're much more relaxed and at peace, they seem calm and open. The city sounds like jazz, it has a distinct feel and beat to it, and I loved it. Whenever I felt homesick or sad, I would just go for a walk, the architecture is perfect - it's a well-balanced mix of classic and modern. I haven't traveled a lot in my life, but i've been in a couple of nice countries, and I can certainly say that I never felt as close to a city and a culture as I did in London - I have instantly fallen in love with it. Nothing has ever motivated me as much as that trip, as now I am sure that I want to continue my studies there, so I am willing to make a real effort to get a scholarship. I encourage any of you who still have doubts about studying abroad to do it. Frankly, a well-developed country has much more to offer to a gifted student, therefore if you feel that you need something better than what you're currently receiving, try looking in a different place."