2 years within CEU, 2 decisive years during which I developed more than ever, I strengthened my identity, I clarified my aims for myself and I did everything I could to get on the track to achieve those aims.
Everything started in the Roma Language English Program, about which I was skeptical at the beginning but ended up to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was skeptical, because I did not know if it is worthwhile to spend a year learning English when, being a recent law graduate, I could have tried to pass the bar exam, following the path that actually led me to choose law school in the first place. Thank God I took the best decision of my life - to come here to learn English!! RELP was far more than a language program. Besides learning English, I acquired skills such as public speaking, self-expression, academic writing that I could have never acquired from the educational system that I come from. All this in a friendly, international environment, alongside 19 colleagues full of enthusiasm, goals and a variety of experiences that we shared among us through improvised sign language, sometimes speaking in Romanes until, suddenly we could all speak English fluently and then laughing about our "pearls", that are well kept to be read and to bring a smile in bad days.
I was lucky to be accepted to the Roma Graduate Preparation Program, which has given me the opportunity to understand what the focus of my career should be, namely to become a strong voice in defending the rights of Roma. It initiated me in what it means to study at international level, it provided me with the possibility of attending human rights classes within the LL.M master program, and I formulated a goal from this experience: to secure an international MA from a prestigious university. Luckily I was accepted to two: Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Central European University. Unluckily, I had to choose between them. I had to choose between my biggest wish for the past two years (an LLM within CEU) and a new beginning, a new challenge, a chance that does not occur many times in a lifetime. I chose the latter, especially because International Humanitarian Law is a subject I find challenging given the lack of research in this area regarding Roma, and I consider this field of the same importance as others when it comes to Roma rights.
On my way, I met people who tried to cut my wings by saying " you want to be a lawyer, you won't make it, you need money and contacts!" or "it is a waste of time, you should be a beautician, it is easier and you can find a job, otherwise you will be a jobless graduate". Of course, every job is honourable but what about my dream to become a lawyer? My answer was "I will make it". CEU helped me develop that confidence.
This is not yet a success story. These are only the pieces of a puzzle; however they are achievements and my way to realise them is through the happiness that I can read in the eyes of my parents. My dad, to whom people from my village refer to as "the gipsy living on the corner" was stopped in a pharmacy recently by our family doctor, a respected woman in town who congratulated him loudly, in front of the others, on my success. I can imagine my dad's humble "thank you", but most people cannot imagine what this represents for my family and for me. These are the moments that feed my soul. But, I am looking forward to greater success, especially to the moment when I can measure it in these two ways: the happiness of my parents and the number of changes for the better that I could bring for those in need, particularly for my ethnicity.