Interview with Cristina Stef

  • Tell us a bit about you. Why did you choose Health Studies as your field of study?
    I chose to go into Health Studies because I have a passion for learning about science from a human health perspective. I love seeing how health and health care evolves and how it affects people on a personal, global, and social level, and the idea of immersing myself about science from a human health perspective. I love seeing how health and health care evolves and how it affects people on a personal, global, and social level, and the idea of immersing myself in that for the next four years sounds wonderful!



  • How do you plan to use your studies to achieve your future career plans?
    My future career plan hopefully entails medical school and eventually becoming a doctor. A Bachelor’s in Health Studies will help me with that as it will give me a lot of the necessary thinking skills (such as inquiry and critical analysis) and general knowledge needed to get into medical school.



  • What do you hope to do after you graduate?
    I want to spend time after graduation further exploring the world and growing as both a student and a person. This certainly means continuing my education, but hopefully in a unique way that lets me do more and see more. Perhaps I’ll study or work abroad for a while!



  • How did the ORCA Student Grant help you achieve your academic goals?
    With post-secondary education getting more and more expensive with every passing year, I am exceptionally grateful for any financial support. The ORCA Student Grant helped pay for my tuition and made finances one less thing to worry about in my first year.



  • What do you do for fun, when you are not studying?
    I love spending time with my friends and family! Now that I live in a new city with many new people, exploring Western’s (giant!) campus is also something I do frequently. I also love crafting, writing, and many other artistic activities so you’ll frequently find me with some form of art supply in my hand!


  • I know you like to volunteer for and be part of Romanian activities. How did you feel being part of this group enriched you? What other events you would like to see taking place among the Romanian Community?
    Romanian activities through my church have helped me create a sense of community and family that I thought I’d only ever see in movies. Specifically, being a part of the youth group is amazing because it has helped me develop lifelong friendships. More events/groups that allow other youth to meet one another and connect would be wonderful!



  • Given the fact that you are one of last year’s winners, can you share with us how you found the application process for the ORCA Student Grant?
    I found it to be really thought provoking – it reminded me to take a moment and truly think about what it means to me to be Romanian-Canadian and how that shapes me and my identity. I love the creativity that the essay topic allows you to have and that it doesn’t focus strictly on the things a resume displays.



  • What would you recommend for those interested in applying next year?
    Take the time to really think about what your heritage and culture means to you. As youth stuck in this in-betweenness of Romanian-Canadian culture, it can be easy to forget where you fit in, but the answer is in both communities! Reflect on how that applies to your life and don’t forget to get involved and have fun!



  • Have you considered becoming an ORCA Youth member?
    Definitely! It’s a great opportunity to get involved with other Romanian youth!



  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
    I’d like to take a second and thank everyone who helped me reach this point in my life. Thank you to my parents for raising me and doing everything they could to help me succeed, my elder sister, Sorina, for introducing me to this grant and for constantly inspiring me, and of course, thank you to the Romanian community, especially ORCA, for their ongoing support.

Interview by Ioana Popovici