Q: Age?

A: 26 years.

Q: Country of residence?

A: Spain.

Q: Do you have children?

A: No, and I’m not married.

Q: How long have you been here?

A: I’ve been here for six years now. It’s a bit confusing to think about how much time it has been since I arrived, I have to make memory because time has passed too fast. But it´s been six years.

Q: How was your life in Romania?

A: In Romania I was a student focused on getting good grades and learning as much as I could. My family is not a family with many resources. My father works in construction and my mother in the textile industry, middle class jobs. There is a motto in great part of Romanian families that says that parents always try to help their children surpass them. I knew that my only chance to go further was by studying, and that is why I was really focused on it. On second year I came to Spain with an Erasmus program. And I discovered a new world. People here are warmer, there people are colder. My life in Romania was a teenage life, focused on my studies, I didn’t socialize much (people there are not as open as here), always supported by my family.

Q: How many are you in your family?

A: I’m an only child, so the fact that I left was a bit hard. Now they are fine with it. Before, especially my mother, she wasn’t doing ok. But as she saw that little by little I was consolidating my situation here, she is now happy for me. She is not worried anymore.

Q: What are your university studies?

I studied IT management, related to my actual studies in Business Administration, it was part of the faculty of Economics and Business. Since this Erasmus experience, I have been discovering other areas that I like, such as research.

Q: Why did you choose Spain for your Erasmus?

A: Because as a child I liked Spanish soap operas, which you probably already heard because it’s the reason why we find it easier to learn spanish, although you can still catch the accent. I still didn’t know how to read, and I heard the latin spanish of the televisión and my mother read me the subtitles in romanian. So I learned spanish without even knowing it. It’s not the same as spanish in Spain, when I came here I realized that there are differences and it was a bit hard. But that is how I learned spanish, and language was an important element when choosing the destination for the Erasmus. I had also made the effort to get a certificate in english language, but I liked spanish best. So I chose Spain. I didn’t know much about the culture, the choice was based on the language. And why at that moment? I don’t know, it was a hunch. It was peculiar because my professors said that as I had good grades it was better if I left for the first semester, so I could extend the Erasmus for the whole year. But I had a feeling that I had to do it at that moment, I didn’t want to miss the chance. My mother was stunned, it was unexpected, but I followed a hunch.

Q: So you came here the second semester of second year.

A: Yes, but I couldn’t extend my stay because you can only do it on the same academic course. So then I had to go back to Romania to finish my career, but the hunch was real, I fell in love and I had to come back. And also I fell in love with research, I discovered a new world here. In Romania professors make a good effort and get more merits in research, but they don’t transmit it well to the students, so when I came here I realized I liked it. And I decided that I wanted to come back to continue my studies. I discovered that the occupation was much more than I knew and understood, and the part that I didn’t know was the one that I liked more. That is why I came back here.

Q: In which university?

A: In Universidad de Murcia. I had two possibilities: Universidad de Granada or Universidad de Murcia. But here they also had courses on Accounting, and I liked it, so I chose UMU. My choice was very objective, focused on my studies.

Q: And did you do these courses?

A: Yes, I did two masters. One in Business Sciences, a specialty in research, and at the same time Applied Sociology, also specialty in research. I had to do both because I needed to get 300 points for my doctorate.

Q: What was the first feeling you had when you got to Murcia?

A: I thought the people here were very warm. I remember that the first times I went to the supermarket, and the cashier said to me “thank you, beautiful”, I didn’t understand why she said it, I didn’t know her, why are people so kind? And every time I met someone we had to give each other two kisses, it was strange to me. People in Romania aren’t so close, so warm. But I like it, people are cheerful, they are on the bus and smile, in Romania it’s not like that. It is an important change of mentality. Here people prefer to be optimistic rather than pessimistic. Those things influence in your daily attitude, and it is nicer to live here. And also the weather. It seems unimportant, but the fact that the sun comes out cheers people up. It influences a lot.

Q: Do you live by yourself?

A: I live with my boyfriend, we will get married next year. He is Spanish. The situation is complicated. He just lost his mother, his father is alive and very sick. So we live together but at the same time apart. Sometimes you have to do sacrifices for your family. We have plans to be together and already started a life together. He is the other big reason why I chose to stay. The idea is to settle in Murcia, we are both working and our plan for the future is to live here, form a family here.

Q: Your parents are in Romania, how do you communicate?

A: The way has been evolving. At first, my mother was very worried, so she wanted to see me at least 10 minutes every day. We talked through Skype and Yahoo Messenger. And now talking on the phone is enough. But we speak every day in the morning and afternoon, fixed every day. She calls me because communications there are cheaper, Internet and mobile. I never called her from here, only to my grandmother because she doesn’t know very well how to use the cellphone. But it is a big price difference.

Q: At first your parents were worried when you came as Erasmus, how did they feel when you came for a longer period?

A: Well, before I came here they didn’t have much time to process it. They raised me knowing that the decisions I made were premeditated, they trusted me. When I told them I was leaving I had already thought about it and decided it, so they didn’t have the chance to stop me. When your only child, who has always asked for your advice, who has never left the country, decides to leave to a strange country on her own, it was hard for my parents. They called me a lot, they were very worried. During my Erasmus period they saw that I was ok so they calmed down. But then I came back here, once more I decided it on my own, and again it was a surprise for them. The difference this second time was that they didn’t know if I would go back. The first time they knew I was coming back to Romania, to finish my career. But this time it was different, they doubted it. And as I was doing two masters at the same time, it was a big economical effort and a big effort I made to get good grades. As they saw I could manage, they were more carefree. And when I met my boyfriend, they met him later and thought “at least she has someone who cares for her there”. Slowly they started feeling that I would do ok, and now they are really happy that I’ll get married. She’s planning the wedding there more than me.

Q: Will you get married in Romania?

A: No, we’ll get married here, but we’ll make a party there too, of course. We have to invite the whole family.

Q: Do you have the chance to visit your parents?

A: Yes, there are flights, but because of our jobs it’s not often. During my studies I couldn’t visit them for two years, because I was very busy with my thesis and all. And they couldn’t visit me because of economical problems. And the next year I was busy doing research so I couldn’t go either. But when I found out I was being hired, I decided to go. But we didn’t see each other much.

Q: What feelings did you parents get when they came here?

A: They came just one time, and they liked it very much. They said that if they were young, they would do it too, they would come here.

Q: Do you think that many Romanian people live here because work conditions are better?

A: Yes, I think it is the main reason. Although age is a big limitation. For example, in my parents’ case, they already have their life in Romania, they are not old, around 50, they are young. But it would be a big change: culture, language, jobs… They wouldn’t come. But many young people come to Spain for the change in culture, the weather, people’s attitude. Last time I was in Romania was this September. I went with an Erasmus programme for professors because I’d like to make an agreement between my Romanian University and the one here, where I’m working. And strange things happened, it is a challenge to live there. But people don’t notice it, they are used to it. For example, my parents moved to another zone which is not well connected with public transport, so I had to move by taxi. In the back part of taxis it is not compulsory to use seatbelt, and the new fashion is that taxi drivers put sheaths on the seats that cover the seat belt hole. So I asked him “Don’t you have seatbelts?” and he answered “Don’t worry, they don’t fine you”. I was like “But what happens if we crash?”. My mother said I’m exquisite, but I think it is a matter of safety. People are not used to protest. Maybe it is because it’s been more than 20 years since communism, but people have to wake up and claim their rights. They settle with what someone else says.

Q: Young people could make social change?

A: I see it very difficult. I think young people choose the easy way, as I did. The easy way is to leave and make a life somewhere where conditions are different, instead of trying to change the situation there. Politically, young people are very bad prepared. I don’t see it possible. It will be very hard to change. It is social and political, it is not just going to vote. People are not driven to say what they think.