Bucharest, the be(a)st from the East
London, Paris, even Oslo and other more climate unfriendly places – these are some of the most popular destinations amongst students who choose to study abroad in state capitals and large cities. But have you ever considered Bucharest, one of the biggest cities in Eastern Europe, recently added on the must visit map of every thrill seeking traveler, fashionista and modern art addict?
Versatile since it was established, the capital city of blooming Romania is like a chameleon for the perception of those who visit it. “The Little Paris” of the beginning of the twentieth century leaves the western European tourists confused: “No, this is not little Paris…This is little Berlin!” and the American ones melancholic: “Oh, Bucharest…it’s like New York in the 60s, but with a different kind of fun.” One thing is for sure: Bucharest leaves a strong impression on anyone who visits it. The fascination with this grey giant transcends from its never ending contrasts: in a radius of half a kilometer (less than one third of a mile) you can see the limousines standing in front of the Radisson Hotel, as well as homeless people begging for lei (the Romanian currency, aprox. one quarter of an euro) at the corner of one of the streets nearby.
So…why Bucharest? It’s lack of popularity among youngsters from abroad coming to study here may speak for itself, but there are also a few who came here, liked it and decided to establish. L., 25, a young man of Asian descendent from Western Europe, student at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies explains: “I first came here 5 years ago in a student exchange. I was studying computer science in English back then, but it was not my thing. I started scouting opportunities to change my major and found many top educational institutions I could choose from. The courses were in English and the tuition fee is low, so I decided to move here. Bucharest is cosmopolitan and it has an amazing night life, so it’s nice to live here. Moreover, Romanians are really warm people and I have lots of friends at school and not only. ” Other foreign students currently studying in Romania have strong arguments in favour of their choice. They point out the fact that living and studying in Romania enabled them to develop as persons by getting out of their comfort zone and trying an exotic experience, as Bucharest seems to be the place where Western culture meets the Eastern one. Furthermore, they find their academic life challenging, as Romanian students are world wide known as being hard working and competitive.
The never ending white noise, the thousands of passers-by, the lack of pattern in the city’s architecture, the famous institutions, the countless art galleries, pubs, the beggars and the über expensive cars, they’re all pieces of the giant puzzle that Bucharest is. Some may find Bucharest a place to grow old in, others may consider it’s not worth returning, either way, Bucharest it’s an experience worth living.