Catalina Rusu, Romania
Q: What is your name? 
Catalina Rusu

Q: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Romania, in the Northern region of Bucovina, famous for its UNESCO sites (monasteries, villages, landscapes). I grew up in Vatra Dornei, a small town in the Carpathian Mountains, a well-known ski and sled resort spa.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue the LLEES programme at UTU?
On a personal level, I’d always had a soft spot for Finland: the people, the music, the landscape, Santa... But I also started to look up to Finland on a professional level, that of an educator. I completely fell in love with the Finnish educational system and found out more by participating in various workshops and conferences in my country. This is how I heard about the master’s programme at UTU. I made a short study trip last year, and I applied as soon as I came back home. I realized that out of all possible programmes, this one was the most relevant to me.

 Q: What is your favorite aspect of the programme
It is very hard to think of just one. Perhaps, the multitude of cultures one gets to be in contact with is the best part. Everyone in the programme comes from different parts of the world and each brings a little bit of his/her own culture, and professional and personal experiences. We learn by being in this wonderful community and sharing ideas, thoughts, and opinions. What I also love is the openness, friendliness and support of all the university staff, from coordinators to professors. The fact that this is a very research-based programme adds to the joy of being part of it; it trains my critical thinking. The wide variety of elective courses that teach important values has to be mentioned. 

Q: What is your research about?
Broadly speaking, I will be comparing Romania and Finland in terms of parent-teacher partnerships and communication effectiveness. Results might or might not show a need for parent-teacher communication exportability. I am also very much interested in multilingualism. So, I’m am that point where I am doing a lot of reading, hoping to decide what the topic would eventually be.

 Q: How do you think your degree will help you in the future? 
Although I am much more interested in how this degree is helping me become a better human being, I cannot say I don’t dream of contributing myself to the field of education. As a language teacher, translator and radio presenter, I am convinced that a master’s degree, and especially one from Finland, will create new opportunities for me to use my knowledge and the skills acquired here for the benefit of education. More specifically, I will be looking at more leadership roles, where I could work on implementing a new curriculum or create a platform for more parent-teacher interaction and collaboration or design new and interesting methods for children to learn. 

Q: What would you say to someone considering studying at UTU? 
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." This applies so well to the UTU environment. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, coming here is by far one of the things I’m most proud of. And I’m sure one day, you will be too.