On May 27 th there will be a debate forum at the University of Malmö , Sweden, organized by Octavia Gergely.
We will talk about stereotypical views on Romania and how to change them.
I would like to introduce Octavia to the Bucharest Lounge readers.
These are her words:
“Sweden has been my home for the last couple of years. Right now I’m in my fourth and final semester of my Master’s program of European Studies offered jointly by Malmö University and Roskilde University. I’m glad to have experienced both the Danish and the Swedish system. It’s been a true journey – as they say.
Being away from home and almost constantly surrounded by people all over the world, there is one question I had to answer dozens of times:
‘Where are you from?’. Several times my answer didn’t seem to be received very well, regardless of that person’s nationality. If the very mention of a country’s name is ‘greeted’ with ironic remarks or simply disinterest, it means that we’re doing something wrong, or rather not doing enough to change this feedback into a more positive result.
I’ve only been gone from Romania for two years, so that’s not enough time to idealize the idea of what home means for me. I am perfectly aware of the realities from back home, so much so that I often choose to skip watching the news or the never-ending political talk-shows. Engaging in conversations with people of different background here in Scandinavia, has unconsciously made me change from passive-agressive to proactive, every time the topic was Romania.
It’s not just the foreigners who need to be informed about what ‘Romanian’ really means, it’s also the Romanians who need to be reminded from time to time. The most essential ingredient in this process is passion, something I have seen in the Bucharest Lounge and its founder. It’s very inspiring to see how a foreigner’s passion for my own country unfolds, because it makes me reconsider my own relation with the place I call home, it reminds me of my childhood and all the dear people who have surrounded me over the years. The rest of the world should see and experience the soul of Romania, what transcends political discussions, negative media attention and all the biased opinions. This is not just for our sake, but for theirs too.
All the best,