The Mathematics school here attracted the creme de la creme of Romanian students. However, Romanian students interested in foreign languages, economy, literature and politics also prefer this private university in New Jersey.
The sad part is that they never return to their country of origin, as a study conducted by the Romanian Students’ Association at Princeton reveals.
Though they want to return and work back home, the family and friendlier society cannot make up for the insignificant governmental involvement, small salaries and lack of respect for work.
The study defines Romanians who studied abroad as „nobody’s children,” because authorities in their country do not give any signs of wanting them back home.
„From what I know, the first students who studied at Princeton after 1989 were Liviu Iftode (now professor at the Rutgers University) and Radu Popescu (first professor at Princeton, then in Canada),” says Theodor Brasoveanu, a student with Princeton who is studying for his doctor’s degree.
In the first years of the 1990es a strong Romanian student community started to take shape in Princeton. The university team at the prestigious Putnam mathematics contest included almost always Romanian students.
There were two years in a row when the teams were made up exclusively of Romanians. Between 2003 and 2007 one of the most promising young mathematicians, Ana Caraiani, twice Putnam winner, studied at Princeton.
„I must confess that the study’s initiators, Andrei Radulescu and myself, have been pleasantly surprised by the optimism, though temperate, of the wide majority as regards a possible return to Romania.
But the wish and initiative of doing something good for the country, irrespective of situation and residence, were always present.
That’s why we anticipated a change in 2007, somehow related to Romania’s EU accession.
If some time ago one would be mocked at, within a Romanian group, when talking about going back to Romania, now there are people who returned and have a satisfactory career in their native country. This is a not very large phenomenon yet, but the first steps have already been taken,” Brasoveanu said.