World Magazine - Winter 2017

Page 1







INTERVIEW: DR. REGINE MURADIAN Class of 1996. A clinical psychologist working to empower the youth of today, she just co-founded a new business designed to offer a variety of enriched programs for teens and their parents. Read the full interview on page14.



SpaceX Engineer Based in Los Angeles, California, USA


Class of 2005. Petru gives us the inside scoop on his musical career in Romania and the development he has seen over the last few years.. Read more on page 21.


Class of 2006. Read about her commitment to her dream of ending up in Hollywood! Her advice to us all: don’t ever give up on your dreams because they can become a reality! More on page 24.



Romanian Feature 2


Râșnov Citadel

A historic monument and landmark in Romania. It is situated in Râşnov, Brașov County, in the immediate vicinity of Brașov. The medieval citadel is considered to be built between 1211 and 1225, during the rule of Teutonic Knights in Burzenland.âșnov_Citadel

Salwa Patricia Khalil / Editor

Pursue Your Passions

Welcome to the Winter 2017 issue of the WORLD™ Magazine, an edition filled with stories of dreams and passions. Our cover story puts Justin Winston in the spotlight. AISB student between 2002-2004 and now an engineer for SpaceX, Justin is based in LA and tasked with solving complex engineering problems day by day. The incredible devotion he has for his work is helping him achieve the company’s mission to revolutionize space technology. Also living in LA and loving it with all her heart, Cathy Kyritsis, Class of 2006, tells us about her commitment to her dream of ending up in Hollywood! Her advice to us all: don’t ever give up on your dreams because they can become a reality! Los Angeles sure seems to be the place to be because Dr. Regine Muradian, Class of 1996, also developed her career in the Californian center. A clinical psychologist working to empower the youth of today, she just co-founded a new business designed to offer a variety of enriched programs for teens and their parents. In her interview, she tells the particularly interesting story of the school in the ’90s. This issue delves deep into the stories of sisters Ariel and Anissa Dominguez, students at AISB between 2001 and 2006 now pursuing their calling for music in the US. While one practices music medicine and the other music therapy, these sisters are confident that they will one day unite their styles to create something fantastic. Petru Calinescu, Class of 2005, also an artist, gives us the inside scoop on his musical career in Romania and the development he has seen over the last few years. Moreover, he talks about a new business venture, an events venue that places guests center stage. We also catch up with Jan Van Groningen and Vik Salic, Class of 2008, the two AISB alumni behind Fish House. Their interview explores the challenges and successes they have

seen over the last six months since our last issue, as well as their plans for next year. Sebi Vladescu, Class of 2006, also shares with us his experiences of opening an international escape room franchise, and the challenges and opportunities that exist in this industry. And then again, sometimes, life surprises us and throws us into a career segment we didn’t expect: George Peltecu, Class of 2007, shares his experiences of how the pharmaceutical industry found him and became his passion. Finally, we catch up with Peter Achim and Cati Georgescu, Class of 2014 graduates. Peter tells us about his fresh new career in game design and digital arts, his achievements as well as the challenges he faces in this competitive segment, while Cati takes on the audit department at Deloitte London in a new graduate program that she just embarked upon. It is clear to see that the dreams and passions of these alumni have shined through in what they are doing now. As we move into another year, I wish that all our alumni and readers around the world have the opportunity to pursue their own passions, that these prospects bring much joy, success, and fulfilment to all. And for our alumni - we have some surprises in store for 2018 – stay connected with us online to find out more. I look forward to seeing many of you in New York in February for our first Big Apple reunion. Enjoy every day and every page of this issue of the WORLD™ Magazine.

Sincerely, Salwa Patricia Khalil



VOLUME 6 / ISSUE1 WINTER 2017 EDITORIAL TEAM LEAD EDITOR: Patricia Khalil EDITORIAL TEAM: Dorothea Achim, Alex Cristescu, Nikos Kougionas, George Mucibabici, Ana Teodorescu CONTRIBUTORS Peter Achim, Dr. Robert Brindley, Petru Calinescu, Alex Cristescu, Anissa Dominguez, Ariel Dominguez, Cati Georgescu, Jan van Groningen, Ilinca G., Patricia Khalil, Cathy Kyritsis, Dr. Regine Muradian, George Peltecu, Vik Salic, Sebastian Vladescu, Justin Winston PHOTOGRAPHY AISB Archives, Mihai Constantineanu, Corey Hass, Bogdan Greavu DESIGN AND TYPOGRAPHY Mario Zamfir School Brand LLC ONLINE EDITION School Brand LLC WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE Blvd. Pipera Tunari 196 Com. Voluntari Jud. Ilfov Romania 077190 Tel.: 021 204-4300 Fax: 021 204-4384 Email: Published by Design Works Publishing Co Print Circulation: 1000 copies Electronic Circulation: 2000 copies Cover Design: Mario Zamfir ISSN 2537-3978 ISSN 2537-3986 ISSN-L 2537-3978

About AISB

AISB was founded in 1962 and is currently Bucharest's largest international school. The language of instruction is English and teaching is based upon an American style curriculum. The school offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program from Early Childhood through 12th grade. AISB is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council of International Schools, and the International Baccalaureate Organization and is recognized by the Ministry of Education in Romania.

Copyright © 2017 AISB ALUMNI. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.



Trademarks: WORLD Alumni Magazine, AISB Alumni Association and their associated logos are trademarks of the American International School of Bucharest. All other names, logos, and trademarks of other companies shown in this publication are the property of their respective owners.


Interview with Cati Georgescu


Interview with Ariel & Anissa Dominguez


Interview with Petru Calinescu

CONTENTS 06 07 09 11 12 14 17 24 26 28



Cover Photo: SpaceX'S Falcon 9 rocket launched the ORBCOMM OG2 Mission 1 on July 14, 2014. Courtesy of SpaceX (



Director's Message

Dr. Robert Brindley / AISB Director

This August, the new Early Learning Center opened its doors and marked a strategic step forward for the school into a different future; one that will follow the demands of our changing world and the differing demands that it makes upon our students.

Centre will focus - The Framework for 21st Century Learning (

We recognize that children today have different needs and must be educated in new ways adapted to the visions of tomorrow’s realities. Such changes will continue as we develop high quality programs of education that are able to support the development of inquiring and thoughtful young minds. Fundamentally, we need to foster in our students, as the IB states; ‘caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect … not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century.’ As part of this vision, it must be recognized that our buildings were designed to accommodate past educational traditions, whose purposes and outcomes have now changed. Thus, in early November we started to extend and reorganise the Secondary School; renovated from the principle that construction should be based upon the intended educational vision for such spaces. At the same time, we are drafting plans for the Design and Engineering Center, that will be housed in the vacated Early Childhood spaces. Over past years, much has been written about such future skillsets, and it is upon these principles that this



Our Step into the Extraordinary Capital Campaign has engaged our community support whose objective is not just to build additional spaces for our students, but to transform how we teach Technology, Design and Engineering to break the educational mold on how we encourage our students to appreciate life-long learning. It is the role of this new building to adapt our current teaching environment, and to transform its curriculum to give our students an educational journey into unfamiliar settings and expectations. If you would like to be involved in this process, please reach out. Regards, Robert Brindley AISB Director

A Look Inside AISB’s New Early Learning Center At the beginning of the school year, the new Early Learning Center opened its doors to AISB students ages two to six, in order to meet the demand of the growing student population.

should be interactive and serene.

The school was designed based on the Reggio Emilia method of design. The method is based on the educational philosophy that the environment that the students are taught in

The building has many large windows to provide natural light, including the main entrance, with its orange and white awning to provide shade. On the ground, there are musical

The outside and the inside of the school have a very modern and colorful design that is both inviting and welcoming.

Ilinca G., Grade 10 Student October 5, 2017 Extract/adaptation from the Secondary School Newspaper: The Bite //

chimes that students can step on as they enter the building to start their day off with interactive music. The first thing that you see when you walk into the building is a fountain and plants. This element brings the outdoors indoors and gives a very relaxing and calming environment for the young students to learn in. This main area in the school has high glass ceilings for natural light to

come in and also provides light for the plants. Behind the fountain and plants is the library. The library is an open concept so that students can easily access books. And naturally, the ELC has a huge playground, with wooden and metallic elements as well as a giant tunnel under a hill covered with grass, and an enormous sandbox.



sketching, and mapping out ideas with this team and our early childhood team so that we could understand the types of spaces and environment we were interested in creating for approximately 190 students.

The ELC Principal, Mrs. Rosella Diliberto, answered some questions for The Bite, touching on the improvements that were made, as well as all the main points in the building that are truly innovative: Q: When designing the school, what inspired the architects to make it the way it is now? A: We had a Romanian architect design the actual building and the exterior facades. He was aiming to create a different sense of space, compared to our previous spaces, yet keep some communal architectural features with the rest of the campus. The interior design and furnishings were completed by a team of Italian designers who are experts in creating environments to support the developmental and pedagogical needs of infants, toddlers and early learners. There was a lot of conversation, dialogue,


Q: And were the colors used for a purpose? What was the reason behind the color choice? A: The walls and furniture colors are part of a unique color concept. The interior colors were chosen intentionally and we consciously avoided the use of primary colors, both in the hard and soft furnishings opting for a gentler chromatic approach. Q: What is different in the new building from the old early childhood school, and what are the improvements that have been made? A: The space has been considered a “third teacher” and hence environments have been designed with early learners in mind, compared to the older spaces where the environments were more effective for the needs of elementary aged students. The challenge was to design a ‘polysensorial’ environment in which functional and aesthetic choices support an image of the child that is competent, an inquirer and equipped with multiple languages. There has been great attention to lighting and


the quality of the overall furnishings to foster a sense of aesthetic and beauty, where children are the protagonists. Spaces have been designed to provoke a sense of wonder, curiosity, and autonomy where students become agents of their learning within a social environment. Greater attention has been placed for parents’ involvement, for communication during children’s drop-off and pick-up times, and for family engagement and presence within the center. Q: Are more students able to fit in the new school, than the old one, and if so how many more students fit? A: Yes, we are now able to accommodate a larger number of students compared to the previous spaces allocated for our early learners. If we were to be at full capacity we could fit close to 200 students. Q: What are the main attractions in the new school? A: We have 11 classrooms, 2 dedicated sleeping and resting areas, an open library concept amidst a Winter-garden, 3 large open collaborative spaces we are calling piazzas, a digital atelier, a music and movement room, a gym, a designated dining area and food preparation area, outdoor covered porch areas outside each of the classrooms, a generous outdoor play area, a

doctor’s office, a separate adult collaborative space on the first floor and a separate parking lot for the early childhood parent community. Q: What are the students’ favorite things in the school? A: The students seem to particularly enjoy jumping on the chimes when entering and exiting the Early Learning Center, playing on the outdoor hill with the built-in tunnel and exploring the new and varied spaces within the building, all this with their friends.

Q: What do the teachers love about the new school? A: I believe the teachers really appreciate the entrance into the building where the open library and high ceiling Winter-garden setting is accompanied by the splashing sounds of the fountain centerpiece. Discover the new Early Learning Center in this video: https://

If you haven’t been by yet, make sure to check out the Early Learning Center for yourself! Alumni are always welcome to drop by.

Alexandru Cristescu / Association President

The AISB Alumni Association aims

Mission statement: From Interest to Value Creation In the first message I wrote for this magazine one year ago, I underlined the fact that our alumni are global citizens, holders of universal rights and obligations. AISB's mission is to engage, prepare and inspire us to fulfill our moral responsibility to better the world through collective action - an idea, with an international dimension, very closely linked to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's social contract concept. The AISB Alumni Association strives to link this idea to the breadth of our community of alumni spread worldwide. In my second message for the Spring 2017 issue, I laid out how our association functions and the strategy we adopted to achieve the above-mentioned goal - (The Tree Strategy). We selected an interest-based approach designed to unlock value throughout our community by satisfying the needs of our stakeholders: Alumni, Current Parents and Students, AISB, and the Alumni Team. The ideas that are at the basis of our path can be found in the book Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes, by Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet and Andrew S. Tulumello. The interest-based approach argues that one should not negotiate through position-based arguments. For example, "I want your car and I will take it even though you are opposed to the idea." Rather try to identify each

other's needs/interest and find a creative manner to satisfy them which would in many cases unlock value. For example, "I want your car because I want to go on a road trip" we might discover that you too are interested in a road trip and we could share the cost and company. This is a simple example that shows how value has been created where there previously was none. Creativity and innovation applied to this thinking can solve much greater problems and we have to spread such ideas. Our mission and that of AISB are in natural alignment, providing continuity. We are not like most traditional alumni associations; our goal is to bring continuous value to our worldwide community. We hope that our members will respect the principles of their education and succeed as responsible global citizens to better the world by applying an interest-based approach in combination with creativity and innovation to unlock value in their communities.

Alexandru Cristescu Association President



Interview with

Cati Georgescu

AISB Alumna, Class of 2014

Cati Georgescu, AISB Class of 2014, studied Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics. She is currently pursuing a Graduate Program at Deloitte London. WM: Hi Cati, can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? Did the IB prepare you enough for university? Did you have any difficulties in your first year academically? CG: In the first 5 years of my education I moved around quite a bit internationally, therefore after settling in at AISB for seven years I wanted to move somewhere new but also just as cosmopolitan as our school. I attended university at the London School of Economics completing a BSc in Accounting and Finance. The IB and the whole IBO programme prepared me very well for university. I had a wide array of different study, presentation, and interaction skills that were very useful at university. Even so, my time at university was much more difficult than what I had done in the IB, but in contrast to students of other educational backgrounds, I often felt more

comfortable with the workload. From the aspect of impromptu speaking and other oral presentations, it was apparent that former IB students were much more prepared and effective. The main difficulties in my first year at university came from the limited teaching guidance we were given. Apart from the lecture notes, a textbook, and weekly problem sets, it was largely independent study. In the IB, at AISB, we were given many tools for support that we had to choose from, here I had to build my own. WM: How do you feel the course you studied at LSE will aid you in following your chosen path in life? And how does it integrate into today's societal needs? CG: Being mixed with MarsThe BSc in Accounting and Finance is a starting point in understanding the financial


needs of society around us. The next step is an accounting accreditation that will allow me to give an educated opinion in the matter. In Romania, there is more need for understanding the full extent of financial tools available for the betterment of society. WM: What should students expect in their first year of university? Did you accommodate quickly to university life? CG: The thing I found most shocking in my first year was the diversity of the student body and how differently they approached situations. Coming from an international school, I was very familiar and comfortable with a more global, multicultural or even cosmopolitan thinking, which was not the case with many of my classmates and this created confusion. It was important to quickly

understand where everyone else was coming from and acknowledge that I would not be able to make friends with everyone, but that there will always be people you can have at least something in common with. I adapted and accommodated fairly quickly to university life. A piece of advice that helped me a lot was, acknowledging that what was important and worked for someone would not necessarily work for me or be important to me. WM: What are your plans for the foreseeable future? CG: In October, I started a graduate program at Deloitte London in Audit where I am working towards an international accounting certification. My plan is to get that qualification and then re-evaluate where I stand and consider taking a Masters Degree in a tangential field.

Interview with

Sebastian Vladescu WM: Sebastian, long time no see or hear, how are things? SV: Hello there, things are just great, thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be here and be a part of this endeavor.

WM: Tell us about what you've been up to since graduating from AISB? SV: Well, first of all, I've been enjoying myself, I was blessed with parents who taught me to have a healthy balance between

work and a social life. But, of course, I passed the age where I could just enjoy myself a while ago and I started being interested in opening some businesses. My first endeavor was an IT company, after this, my father asked me to co-own a restaurant with some acquaintances of his and lastly, and the most visible one, is an escape room brand.

WM: Why did you choose to stay in Romania vs. pursuing a college degree abroad? SV: I will answer this as directly and honestly as possible. The life I have here could not compare to any life I would have had living alone in a foreign country. WM: Tell us about Breakout. SV: Breakout is an Escape Room company that I co-founded

in 2014 which develops and sells escape games. These are basically rooms where groups of 2-6 players are locked in a room and they need to solve a series of challenges, puzzles and riddles to escape. They are designed for a mature audience, so the games are relatively difficult and require a lot of collaboration and teamwork. We started the business in Bucharest with only two rooms but quickly expanded our first location to four rooms and soon afterwards started selling our products and services to clients

abroad. Since then, we have sold room concepts to other cities in Romania, Belgrade and Amsterdam, and in February this year we opened our own venue in London, UK, which has 8 rooms running. The business is still growing and we are looking for new opportunities to expand and sell our brand as a Franchise and we are now in talks with several parties that would be interested in partnering up.

WM: Why did you choose London? SV: We chose London because it is a very large cosmopolitan city where people are very outgoing and interested in new activities to spend their free time. In this business, it is very important that you have a large market to address, as these types of games

AISB Alumnus, Class of 2006

can only be played once because afterwards you will know the solution to the puzzles. In some aspects, it is very similar to going to see a play or a movie, just that in this case you interact directly with the environment and you are part of the story.

reactions of people when they play our rooms.

London is also a good choice for expansion due to the meteorological aspect. Yes, you read that correctly; weather plays a very important role as this type of business is perfect in colder and rainier climates where people are more inclined towards indoor activities.

SV: We just opened an escape room in London six months ago and it was a huge endeavor. Next year is too soon to think of something new, but we do plan to open two more escape rooms, one in the US and one in Asia.

Lastly, we chose London because we researched the market before deciding and we played several games which were on offer there and we considered our product to be of a superior quality.

WM: What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business in the entertainment/gaming sector?

WM: What are some of the biggest challenges you faced starting off and how did you overcome them? And what about some of the most rewarding things about what you do? SV: Challenges were everywhere. It was a newly started business and there was a lack of information on all fronts. We basically had to figure everything out on our own which led to much higher costs than expected. As for the rewards, they are everywhere, but by far the most rewarding aspect has to be the

WM: In what ways are you looking to develop in the next year?

SV: The most important advice I would give people is to not use very much emotion and personal fixations on different matters. Although it is a creative business, it should be treated as any other financial endeavor.

WM: What is your favorite high school memory from AISB? SV: I don't have one favorite memory of AISB, but the best times that I had were the school trips from each start of the year. Nothing compared with the fun we had on those trips and all the connections we formed between each other.


Interview with

Justin Winston

Justin attended AISB between 2002-2004 as a freshman and sophomore in high school. He is now an engineer for SpaceX and is based in Los Angeles, USA.

WM: Justin, thanks for making the time for us today. What are some examples of the way AISB has brought value to you as a person? JW: I always thought AISB was way ahead of the curve when it came to US accredited curriculum standards. I remember having the option to enroll in IB classes early on which later transferred into college credits. The

next high school I would attend offered AP classes, but despite the obvious college cred involved, the material seemed to gloss over past classes I had taken at AISB. That said, the difficulty of taking what would be college level classes as a freshman in high school was extremely difficult and I remember having to completely change my approach to learning if I


wanted to keep up with the pace and outcome I had grown accustomed to. To this day, I use a lot of the adjustments I made in my early years of high school to deal with situations and problems that come up now in my personal and professional life. Anything from time management to verbal communication skills and even some self-taught rhetoric.

WM: Has your international education given you a competitive edge over others in your field? JW: My international education has undoubtedly been a competitive edge over others in my field. Broaching the subject of a global study program catches people’s attention quickly, but I would argue that the experiences and people enveloped in that

upbringing are what really empower individuals who have walked the same path. Learning, understanding, and embracing new cultures and ways of thinking can play a key role in problem solving skills. These are the kinds of skills we look for in people joining our company– it’s the stuff that’s hard to quantify that can really make a difference between two seemingly matched up candidates.

WM: What are your qualifications and where did you study? JW: I studied at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for a BSE in Mechanical Engineering that I received in 2010. In 2009, I studied abroad for 6 months in Brazil taking some higher-level engineering classes in a language I was not fluent in. That was another amazing learning experience, especially for someone who had spent most of his life living in a country with a foreign language. It was eye opening for me to realize that a technical engineering vocabulary was much different and harder to learn than how to ask for the bathroom or a beer at the local bar. Making small,

calculated adjustments in your personal input/ output function can lead to more efficient learning and an ability to rapidly comprehend ideas contextually that would otherwise go right over your head.

WM: As an engineer for SpaceX, how do you improve your engineering knowledge and skills to stay ahead? JW: SpaceX is a fast-paced company determined to revolutionize the cost of access to space through the development of fully and rapidly reusable rockets and spacecrafts, with the ultimate goal of making life multi-planetary. With that in mind, it takes a lot of brain power to successfully incubate an idea like that and scale it to the point it is at now. A typical day at SpaceX involves encountering and figuring out how to solve complex engineering problems on a businessfriendly schedule. For that, I look to my colleagues to learn from. We’re all experts at something and SpaceX really pushes you to see the value of the team you’re working with. The amount of knowledge at your disposal is incredible and pushing

yourself to grow within that arena is something everyone deals with individually. The more you learn and expand your skill set, the more people will ask you to try new things and empower you to tackle problems just out of your comfort zone. I really enjoy that mentality and is why the meritocracy based system we drive here at work lends itself to the kind of personal improvement it takes to make launch vehicles.

WM: What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue this type of career? JW: As with all things, it’s hard to set yourself up on a path that leads directly to any specific business. Getting yourself into a good engineering school is a great start and I have many letters of recommendation from AISB that helped me achieve that. Notably, despite not being my major of choice, from my History teacher, which goes to show it’s not really what you know coming out of high school but rather that thirst for knowledge and hunger to push yourself to new limits. If you are interested in the space industry, be it for corporate or

educational reasons, the most popular route is to get a solid foundation in mechanical or aerospace engineering. Good grades along with high marks on college readiness exams are an excellent catalyst for jumping into any vehicle launch company. Internship experience in relevant fields throughout college is always noted but never a deal breaker. The most important thing you can do is show your potential and how working for a certain employer can unleash you to develop it.

WM: What are your plans for the future? JW: After a literal lifetime of traveling around, I’m ready to hang my hat in LA for the time being. I’ve enjoyed the area and mash up of cultures here – it’s a small world in my backyard. It has the hustle and bustle of NYC with the laid-back West coast lifestyle all the while providing $12 avocado toast at nearly every corner. I plan on working on some side projects which will remain a mystery for now but are nonetheless in the works. If you haven’t been out to LA, I highly recommend it, there’s a lot to fall in love with out here.

Photo: Fornax Galaxy Cluster // Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA


Interview with

Dr. Regine Muradian WM: Regine, you are among our alumni who remembers Romania before the Revolution in 1989, tell us about your experience. RM: Before moving to Romania in 1994, we lived in Monaco which is a small principality in the south of France. I moved to Monaco from

the United States at the age of 7 because my parents established a business there. At the time, we used to visit family in Romania every summer, so

when we eventually moved there, I certainly did not feel foreign to Bucharest since it was a place filled with memories from my childhood.

what rations, standing in line for meat, and making sure you went early enough to buy bread at the store before it ran out, meant.

Every summer my parents and I would come and visit our family: aunts, uncles, and cousins. My

During my visits to Romania before my family moved there, I recall playing with the kids in the playground

earliest memory was during the communist reign of Ceausescu; I must have been 11 years old. Here I was coming from a place where no one knew

and them feeling mesmerized by the colors I was wearing. In Romania at this time, when you went to a clothing store, all of the clothes looked the


AISB Alumna, Class of 1996

same and there was not much to choose from. I was a giver and a helper from an early age and this has followed me through to my life today. I would take all my colorful clothes and disperse them to all the kids. It felt so good to see them so happy over small things. It gave

meat line one vacation to buy the meat for the week since I felt that was exciting and new – this was not something I would do in Monaco. My family became upset because, not only did I wait in line for 2-3 hours, but, I also gave away our meat portion for the week to the person

me a perspective of appreciation that most children do not have at that age.

standing next me. It was a mother with five children and all I could think was, ‘it's ok we do not need it, they need it more’.

I recall my family sending me to the

Students at Generation Empowerment Center

WM: What was AISB like back then, or should we say ASB? What are some of your fondest memories?

and since our 12th grade class had only 6 students, we were immersed with the 11th graders.

RM: When my family eventually moved to Bucharest in 1994, it was a different feeling because now we were staying for good. I adjusted very well since I already spoke Romanian and had family in Bucharest. I attended 11th grade at the French School in Bucharest but because I planned on coming to the US for University, I decided to transfer to ASB. At the time, ASB was in a cozy villa-like building. The staff and student body was not large, hence everyone knew each other. My fondest memories were with my classmates

Diversity is what stood out at ASB and the cohesiveness of our cohort meant that the relationships I built back then continued on until today. I loved being on the basketball team, traveling with my class, and the strong multicultural friendships we created. In our senior year, we also had the opportunity to all go to Larnaca, Cyprus as a graduation trip which was a lot of fun. WM: You attended the school between 1995-1996, what came next?

RM: I came to the United States in 1996 and attended the University of Southern California majoring in International Relations and Business. I was drawn to this major due to wanting to pursue a diplomatic career and being fluent in 6 languages, English, French, Romanian, Hebrew, Spanish and Armenian. After receiving my Bachelors, I was offered a position in Washington DC. Due to personal reasons, I decided that was not the path I was going to take and knew there was something else for me. I then pursued my Masters in Clinical Psychology, graduating in June 2002 and continued on to receive

my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2006. WM: What is your profession now? What exactly are you specialized in within psychology? RM: Right now, I live in Los Angeles. I have been practicing as a Clinical Psychologist for the past 8 years working with children, teens and their families. It is interesting but not surprising that I found myself pursuing a career in the helping profession. Each day is a rewarding challenge which I embrace and it is a blessing to love what you do. Besides my private practice, I also teach graduate level students clinical

skills to prepare them for success once they are out on the field. This year I started a new venture with a very dear friend. It is a special relationship in that we are able to bring our connection and professional experiences together. In a nutshell, GENERATION EMPOWERMENT CENTER (GEC) is a one of a kind learning establishment. Under construction and scheduled to open its doors in January of 2018, GEC will be the first educational center designed to offer a wide variety of enriched courses, programs, seminars, and workshops yearround all under one


4. their leadership skills, and how to develop the character required of a true leader vs. follower.

roof for youth between the ages of 9-17 and their parents. The curriculum will not only address some of the most pressing issues affecting teens today, but also teach solid and effective ways of thinking and behaving to overcome these adversities. Conducted in non-clinical group settings as well as individualized one-onone's, GEC's sessions are designed to not only foster exciting interaction and learning between its students, but to also encourage building leadership skills and the ability to think critically and independently as demonstrated by its "team leaders" facilitating the courses.

Generation Empowerment Center's year-round curriculum will focus on engaging very specific interests and topics concerning tweens and teens today. The program will explicitly explore and focus on a tween's or teen's: 1. interest to understand the external world/social influences around them and how it can affect them, 2. their inner world and how to stay in control of their true sense of self through all hardships, 3. their innate abilities to 'know' their purpose in life and how to construct an actual 'vision plan' for their future; and,


At its heart, GEC's purpose is dedicated to changing lives, one student and parent at a time. GEC's vision is to not only be the leader in creating a thought provoking, fun and compelling curriculum that impresses all generations, but to create a unique place of 'change' that will make an impact. Founded by two entrepreneurial moms, a psychologist and an attorney with successful practices and teens of their own, the center was created with love and a deep desire to see all children learn and grow in a healthy environment conducive to their greatest potential for success. GEC hopes to be that "home away from home" where all tweens and teens who walk through its doors can feel accepted, heard, and recognized for their goals and dreams. WM: If you could come back to Bucharest and AISB, what would you like to see and do?

RM: I have not been back to Bucharest since 2000. Romania holds a very special place in my heart and it is the first country we will be opening the franchise of our business G.E.C. in. Although I have lived in the US for the past 11 years, not one year goes by that I don’t miss the amazing memories built in Bucharest. The connections, friendships, culture and way of life cannot be replicated. I would love to bring my three children who are now ages 12, 10, and 6 to visit the homeland, show them Bucharest and the mountains, Slanic, where my grandparents lived and all the treasures I got to experience. However, one thing I miss and cannot wait for is our food: mititei, ciorba, shopping at the farmers market and tasting real food! WM: What advice would you give to current AISB students or young alumni who are considering a career in your field? RM: I get this question quite often and I find myself asking the person - what is their reason for going into this field. You need to have the heart of a rose and the skin of

an elephant. You need to be able to build mental strength and be present with whomever comes through the door. I recommend whomever wants to go into this field to first work on themselves to weed out weaknesses and triggers. It is not uncommon to see people drop out of the program. A typical day starts at 9am and can go until 5pm sometimes until 8pm. By the time my 8pm patient comes in, it never fails to see the anxiety on their face, “Dr. Muradian do you need a break since I am your last patient! Are you okay? I find myself baffled but understand their concern, ‘How on earth can she do this all day listening to people’s problems?’ My response is the same every time and comes from the heart, “I am okay and when you love what you do, time does not exist". If you are able to feel that and mean it, you know this is the right field for you. ASB, my family, friends and close relationships have brought me here and for that, I am truly thankful.

Interview with

George Peltecu

AISB Alumnus, Class of 2007

George graduated from AISB in 2007 and pursued a finance degree in the US, later working in Boston and Bucharest in between MBA studies. WM: Tell us a bit about yourself. (What uni you went to? what did you study and why? how has you're college experience shaped you as an individual? What do you do now?) GP: I was born and raised in Romania, as a kid lived for several months in South Africa, and spent a year of high school in a British boarding school prior to joining AISB. I wanted to study business and I knew that the US has some of the best business schools, so prior to starting my senior year of high school I travelled for 3 weeks on the East Coast by myself visiting universities. Of the places I visited, I really liked Boston (I went in the summer and had no idea how brutal the winters are) and decided to go there after graduation. It finally came down to Boston University or Northeastern, and I decided to go for Northeastern where I majored in finance. I chose finance because I have always been a numbers person and the career prospects with a finance degree seemed very attractive, although I had had little exposure to finance up to that point. Looking back, it was probably the college experience that had the most profound impact on me. From a social standpoint, it offered me the opportunity to make friends from the most diverse cultural backgrounds, while from a professional standpoint it allowed me to develop a passion for finance and acquire a set of skills that is relevant and applicable on the job. I would also recommend the US system due to its flexibility with regards to those undecided on the major they want to pursue, and the exposure to other subjects outside your major (college lasts 4 years in the US, and 1 year is just for elective courses).

After graduation, I worked as a financial analyst for John Hancock Financial in Boston and as a consultant for PwC in Bucharest prior to returning to the US to pursue an MBA at Georgetown University in Washington DC. After graduation I returned to PwC to specialize in the pharma industry, and eventually joined Roche, the world’s largest biotech company, where I currently run the Supply Chain and Procurement Departments. In my supply chain role I make sure all oncology patients get their treatment delivered in a timely manner, while in my procurement role I negotiate all the contracts on behalf of Roche Romania. WM: Did the IB program prepare you enough for university? GP: I did not take the IB as I joined AISB in my senior year. However, I did go through the same academic curriculum as my peers, which considerably facilitated my adaptation the college curriculum. WM: What is some advice you would give to new graduates entering university? GP: Make new friends, ideally from backgrounds different than your own. Take classes outside your major that you find interesting even if you cannot see any tangible benefit at this point. Get involved in organizations (fraternities, sororities, associations, clubs etc.) and networks as much as you can. Get out of your comfort zone.

WM: What is some advice you would give to new 12th graders as they embark in their final year of high school?

WM: Tell us about your current career path? What have you learned and was this what you always wanted to do?

GP: Consider studying abroad. My advice is biased but I would strongly encourage studying in the US. Focus your energy on the SATs and college applications, and have someone guide you through the process (it can be school counselor, or hiring a consultant from Princeton Review, Kaplan etc.). Aim high and target schools that are out of your reach, on top of the safer choices. Choose a city that’s cosmopolitan and has a night life. It’s always good to have options in your free time.

GP: Ending up in the pharma industry is something I never pictured and it certainly was never on my agenda. However, since joining the pharma industry I have experience the highest degree of job satisfaction and have had the biggest professional impact both within the company and on the oncology patients as Roche has been leading the fight to cure cancer for the past two decades. Some of the things I learned during my time with Roche are:

WM: What was your most joyful memory from AISB? GP: Our senior trip in 2007. We went to Bulgaria and were hosted in two hotels. A really nice one, and one that was falling apart, which created a lot of tension between the two groups hosted in each of the hotels. I was hosted in the crappy one, but couldn’t care less and instead enjoyed the spectacle which created tensions among people for months to come. WM: Did you play any sports or were you part of any after school activities or service communities? How has your involvement in these organizations help shaped you as an individual today? GP: I was part of the soccer team. But I kind of sucked, so it would be a reach to say that it had a profound impact on my development. It probably determined me to push myself harder to reach the same level as my peers.

Collaboration: You can be successful in a new role even if you do not possess all the know-how that might be expected of you, if you know how to get your peers onboard and effectively harvest their knowledge. Change management: Make changes and have an impact from the very beginning. You will not leave your mark on an organization by preserving the status quo. Mindset: Oftentimes being humble and showing empathy can take you a longer way than an aggressive and non-compromising attitude (although the latter can be beneficial in certain situations). WM: What are your plans for the foreseeable future? GP: I am looking to move to Basel, Switzerland, sometime in 2018 to get some headquarter experience in a regional finance role. This is a prerequisite for my longer term goal to become the Finance Director (CFO) either in Romania or in a different affiliate.


Interview with

Ariel & Anissa Dominguez AISB Alumnae, Attended between 2001-2006

Sisters Ariel and Anissa Dominguez attended AISB between 2001 and 2006 and both ended up pursuing musical careers. Read about their passions in the interview below. WM: Tell us a bit about yourselves. Ariel: Ariel Dominguez, born in Reading, Pennsylvania. Moved from Annapolis, MD to Bucharest Romania in 2001 – 2006 (4th grade - 9th Grade). After moving back to Annapolis I graduated from Archbishop Spalding high school and received an athletic scholarship to attend Lenoir-Rhyne University. After 4 years I graduated with my bachelors degree in Graphic Design. Right now I live in Charlotte, North Carolina a city close to my college and I am a DJ/producer and part time Graphic Designer. Anissa: In 2001, when I was in 3rd grade, my family moved to Romania because of my Dad's job. My family lived there and I attended AISB for 6 years. I moved back to the US in 2007 after

I finished 8th grade. My sister, Ariel, and I, graduated from the same high school and then attended University. I started my college career as a music education major at James Madison University, but after two years of studying that I failed my first mandatory interview to continue with the major. They asked me why I didn't study music therapy, and I had no answer because I didn't even know music therapy existed. JMU did not have a music therapy program so I ended up dropping out in 2013 and taking my time to find a school that had the program I wanted. After I spent the summer and fall working in retail, I applied and got accepted into the Immaculata University Music Therapy program, where I started there in the


spring of 2014. Music Therapy programs are intensive. We had to take guitar, piano, and voice lessons in addition to our course work. In total, music therapy majors were taking 9-12 classes a semester. In addition to that, I joined a sorority and started an American Sign Language club at Immaculata. After finishing the coursework, I was required to get 1200 hours of internship experience before graduating. After completing that, I graduated with a B.M. in music therapy. Then I passed a 3 hour, 150 question exam to become a board certified music therapist. Now I am searching for my first job as a certified music therapist. Currently I am working for a blind woman who is on the spectrum as a "job coach". I help her learn

skills necessary for joining the workforce and provide adaptive piano lessons. WM: What do you feel were some of the best things about your AISB education and experiences of living in Romania? Ariel: Living in Romania changed my entire life. I was able to experience a completely different culture in a welcoming environment. At AISB I was able to meet, grow, and learn with students from all over the world, something that many people never get a chance to experience. I appreciate the time I had traveling with teams and becoming friends with an insanely diverse group of people. The classes were small and intimate which I enjoyed. And I made lifelong friends

that I still keep in touch with today. After moving back to the US, I realized how valuable my experiences were and how much they have shaped me into the person I am today. Anissa: Growing up in Romania and attending AISB taught me about different cultures, helped me become open minded, and accepting of others. As a therapist, I have to take cultures and people's different backgrounds into account. AISB definitely helped me develop that skill at a young age. WM: What are some of your favorite and most memorable AISB memories? How have the relationships built at AISB carried across time and space? Ariel: I remember the school trips around different parts

of Romania were beautiful. Visiting local farmers and camping beside rivers or mountains. I don't think I fully appreciated all of it until after the fact. After living in Romania, I fully appreciated the value of travel and experiencing other cultures. Many of the friendships I made at AISB have lasted years and will most likely last a lifetime. I still talk and meet up with many friends from AISB every chance I get even though many of them live far away from me. It's great to know that no matter how far the distance some of these people are still and will always be my best of friends. Anissa: I remember International day at school being my favorite day every year! Seeing all the amazing things from different countries was always fun! It makes you realize how big the world is. My family was always the only Puerto Rican family there so we loved sharing food and knowledge about our culture. While I lived in Romania, I met my best friend at AISB. Her name is Bela Reeves, and we met in 6th grade. We spent a few years apart when I first moved, but Bela moved back a few years after me and we connected again. We met up and hung out a few times in high school. By chance, or maybe fate, we ended up attending JMU together. To this day, we are as close as ever! We both attended each other’s graduation and hang

out regularly. She is my most precious and longest lasting friendship and I would have never met her if we had not attended AISB together. WM: How and when did you discover your passion for music? How did this passion transform specifically into what you are doing now? Ariel: I have always had a keen interest in music and arts. At AISB I joined the school band and was involved in as many music and arts programs as I could fit. My sophomore year of college I studied abroad in London at East London University. While studying there I was able to meet some very inspiring people involved in DJing and the music industry. After having the time of my life with these people, I decided to pursue DJing when I moved back to the US. That summer I taught myself how to DJ and started throwing my own parties just to get some exposure. Long story short, I made enough noise to get big promoters in the city to ask me to DJ at larger venues, moved to Charlotte after I graduated, and have residencies at many places here now. I also started producing electronic music which I also have an interest in ever since living in Romania where at the time electronic music was booming. Anissa: I remember begging my parents for

piano lessons when I was a toddler. When we moved to Romania, a piano came with the house. It was there that I started piano lessons and soon after, I joined the school band playing the flute, thus starting my career as a musician in Romania. I remember almost quitting playing the flute at one point, but then a new band teacher came and he made me love music again. His name is Randy Wanless. We are Facebook friends now! He helped me really find my love and passion for music and if he had not been my teacher that year, I probably would have quit. I always loved piano, but if I had not stayed playing the flute, I don't know if I would have continued with music. Playing flute had an important role in keeping my love for music alive because it was in band that I made friends who would encourage me and keep my passion alive. WM: What have been some of the highlights of your musical careers thus far? Ariel: Some highlights for me include providing support for Flux Pavilion, Dada Life, Thomas Jack, Dash Berlin, and Steve Aoki. I love traveling to different places to perform as well. Recently I’ve been to Atlanta and will be performing at the Imagine Music festival there this year.

Anissa: I have always been a stubborn person who enjoys proving people wrong. When I decided to become a music major in college, almost everyone told me I wasn't good enough. I hadn't been taking private lessons and my skills were not what they needed to be. At a camp I attended, I took piano lessons to learn a piece that I particularly enjoyed. The piano teacher told me I couldn't learn it and that it was too advanced for me. Determined to prove him wrong, I took piano lessons at home with a different instructor, and at my recital, I played that piece and somehow that teacher was there. After the recital, he stopped me and complimented my playing. The same thing happened for my college auditions. My flute teacher told me, when I started lessons, "I don't know if you will be able to pass the auditions, but I will help you". Within the year, I had surpassed other students in her studio and got into 3 out of 4 of the colleges I auditioned at! Piano was the same story. I met a teacher just months before my audition and she told me that my chances were low, but she saw potential. I passed ALL of my auditions on piano! The satisfaction of proving all the people who doubted me wrong was the BEST feeling.

WM: What makes you happiest about your job? What do you enjoy the most about what you are doing? Ariel: There's a moment when you are playing music, and working the crowd, that you feel a true connection with every single person in the room. It is hard to explain how awesome that moment is. Making connections with so many people at once through music. It's a beautiful thing and DJing allows me to experience it for a living. Anissa: The best part about being a music therapist is that I am actually changing lives. After a good day at work, I go home feeling amazing! I enjoy my sessions and am proud of what I do. I play music, have fun everyday, and I use what I’ve been trained for to change lives. I can't imagine a more fun and fulfilling career. WM: On the surface, your musical styles and directions could be considered to be very different. In your opinions and from a musical perspective, what do you think some key similarities are? Ariel: Anissa has a classical background in music. She has studied and learned to play many different instruments and has always been musically inclined, which makes her a very talented musician. Although I


was never classically trained like her and my main focus is electronic/dance music, I know for a fact we both take influence from many different international styles. This makes us both more diverse and interesting musicians which I’m sure originated from our experiences abroad and at AISB. Anissa: The specific goals may be different, but generally we are doing very similar things. I am doing music therapy, but what Ariel does is Music Medicine. Music medicine is when you are using music to improve the lives of yourself or others simply from the pure enjoyment of music. Somehow, both of us ended up performing music as a profession.

WM: Have you ever considered the opportunity to work together? How do you think this experience would look and how do you feel it could enrich your practices? Ariel: I've definitely brought this up in conversation before and I hope with time we can work on something really cool together. I'll probably just make her work with me eventually (haha). Anissa: Yes! We haven't done it yet, but we have talked about combining my piano skills with her mixing skills. If I came up with a piano jingle Ariel could use it and make her own original song with it. Ariel's skills could definitely help me in my career. If I was working on making a CD for a client, Ariel could mix the song to

make it more fun for them. There may be a lot of opportunities to collaborate in our futures.

So basically, do what you LOVE and don't do it for anyone else but yourself.

WM: What advice would you offer current AISB students and alumni who might be considering a similar career? Ariel: I never had a plan to be a DJ/producer, I think nowadays this type of career is glorified a little too much. I just decided to do what I love and it's working out. If I wasn't doing it for the right reasons, none of it would have happened. I took many risks and practiced my butt off but it almost didn't feel like work because I loved it so much. It's so important to take risks because if you are not happy with your career what’s the point?

Anissa: Anyone considering a music therapy career needs to understand that I am equally a musician and a therapist. It is a lot of hard work and the field is often misunderstood. So before jumping into the program, I'd recommend observing a board-certified music therapist first! It's clinical and evidence based practice. And it can be exhausting if you are not mentally prepared. WM: What are some immediate and long term goals that you are looking to accomplish?

Long term goals: travel the world as a headlining artist. Spread the word of house / dance music. :) Anissa: My immediate goal is to find a good job as a music therapist! I have some places I'm looking at and more keep popping up. My longterm goals are plentiful. I would like to take classes and become fluent in both Spanish and American Sign Language. I would also like to become a certified interpreter and perform at concerts as an ASL interpreter, and a tentative long term goal is to open my own private practice for music therapy.

Ariel: Immediate goals: releasing more original tunes

Annisa Dominguez Anissa with best friend Bela

Ariel Dominguez Producer / DJ / 410-693-4731

B!tch Be Cool SoundCloud

DOMii Facebook

DOMii SoundCloud


Interview with

Petru Calinescu

AISB Alumnus, Class of 2005

Petru graduated from AISB in 2005 and pursued a musical degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the UK. He later returned to Romania to follow his artistic career. WM: Tell us about your career as an artist. PC: I am a singer/songwriter currently living in Bucharest, Romania. Since graduating in 2011 with a BA in Music (Performing Arts) from Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, I have returned to my home

country to pursue a career as a musician. Between the years 2011-2014 I was a founding member of the pop-rock band Green Tea, with which I performed both original songs and covers at various venues in

Bucharest and around the country. Highlights of this period include my two guest appearances with Loredana at Sala Palatului (2012 and 2013). Also, in 2013, my original song “Broken Heart”, performed by Maximilian Muntean, made it to the National

Eurovision Semifinals. Another of my compositions, “E Soare Si Pe Strada Ta” was selected as the official anthem of Europa FM’s charity fundraising campaign “Nu Esti Singur Pe Lume”. For this project, I had the pleasure of working with a veritable “who’s who” of the Romanian music scene including Loredana, Andra,


Smiley, Monica Anghel, Cornel Ilie, Alex Velea, Puya, Gabriel Cotabita, Connect-R and many others. WM: What are some of the musical projects you are currently involved in and what is your long term goal? PC: I’m currently performing all around the country with the jazz/swing two-man act “New Vegas Show”, which I have created together with my old pal Maximilian Muntean (of Vocea Romaniei fame). We’re slowly, but surely, making a name for ourselves on the Romanian music scene, appearing on TV and on the radio, and performing at various events, both private and public, to greater and greater success. Our Facebook page is also a great way for us to reach our fanbase (www.facebook. com/newvegasshow). We’ve also become somewhat of a household name at AISB’s yearly Auction Gala, something which obviously means a lot to me, as an AISB alumnus. As a solo performer, my most recent achievement was my performance as a guest star on “Romania’s Got Talent” this May, which received fantastic reviews. For anyone interested, you can follow my solo music career here ( petrucalinescumusic). My long term goal is to keep doing the music that I’m doing and to continue to expand my niche and to perform with an orchestra or a big-band someday! I have found that there’s a loyal audience for my kind of music here in Romania. Most of all, I love the fact that my music makes people happier. That’s my main motivation for doing this job.

WM: How do you see your future in this industry? PC: I want to continue doing what I’m doing, instead of conforming to current trends. To take what I’m doing to even greater heights, because the audience is there, waiting for quality music to come along. I’m not interested in making music belonging to any current trend. Trends are temporary, whereas the artists I myself look up to, people like Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn or John Lennon, can best be described as “timeless”. This is what I also wish to aspire to. And, luckily for me, there has been an increase in quality on the Romanian music scene in the last few years. So if the feedback I’m constantly getting from my fans is anything to go by, there’s great potential these days to do the kind of music that I want to do. WM: Music as a profession is certainly not easy, what was your educational pathway and what advice would you give to current AISB students who would like to pursue such a career? PC: My advice to every current AISB student who is passionate about music is to not waste a single second thinking about it and to go out and do it! You may choose to pursue it at university level like I have (between 2007-2011 I was a music and theatre student at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), but it’s not a requirement to do that, by any means! Unlike other lines of work, you absolutely don’t need to study music in order to pursue it as a career. The Beatles barely knew which chords they were playing, and that didn’t stop them from becoming the most


successful band of all time. Pavarotti couldn’t even read musical notation! The main way of becoming a better musician and artist is by working with (and learning from) other artists. And by working through your fears and doubts and going out there and making it happen! WM: In what ways did AISB prepare you to reach the point you are at now? PC: In the most important way! By offering me the opportunity to perform, in an environment which enabled me to do that to a very high level. It was during my time at AISB that I discovered my passion for music and theatre, and decided to take it seriously. The opportunities I had to express myself as an artist while at AISB, the state-of-the-art facilities, the wonderful teachers and fellow performers - all of these were instrumental in me choosing this career path. I’m very lucky to have been an AISB student, and I will always be

grateful to Mr. Greg Jemison and Ms. Terry Ham for believing in me and getting me to believe in myself as an artist. WM: Changing the topic a bit, could you please tell us about your new events venue “La Teatru. La Calinescu”? PC: “La Teatru. La Calinescu” is a brand new events venue located in Piata Presei Libere, right at the entrance to Herastrau Park. We are situated in a superb location, nestled by trees (literally!). This offers our location both the convenience of being situated in downtown Bucharest, and the feeling that you’ve just left town for the weekend. As its name eloquently implies, we are able to organize the entire gamut of events, ranging from public, private and corporate events (weddings, christenings, company parties, presentations, product launches, seminars, conferences etc.) to cultural

We take this responsibility very seriously and we wish for these memories to be of outstanding table service, of great-tasting food and of a friendly, picturesque, green location in Herastrau Park. WM: To whom do you cater and what is the atmosphere you aim to create?

evenings (music, theatrical performances, stand-up comedy etc.). Our kitchen is expertly led by Chef Petrisor Tanase (Romania’s first celebrity Chef) and we will definitely please even the most exquisite tastes! WM: What was the inspiration for this project? What was the development process like?

PC: Our aim was to create a venue that places the client centre-stage. Everything at “La Teatru. La Calinescu” is geared towards helping each client create the event of their dreams. We never impose anything onto the client, we don’t have any set menus or standard offers. Everything is tailored from the ground up to ensure a personalized, successful event. Many of these events are once-in-alifetime for those concerned, and these are the memories that guests will carry away with them for their entire lives.

PC: We are not a traditional events venue in the sense that we also aim to become a cultural hub in Herastrau Park. A place where people can go out and have a good time. Our concept is best described as “dinner and a show”. You come out for a good meal, and a good time. This is something which a lot of members from the AISB community have been asking me about for months now. Well, the wait is nearly over! “La Teatru. La Calinescu” will soon stage theatrical plays, live music performances, stand-up comedy and other engaging shows. And, in true “dinner theatre” fashion, Chef Petrisor’s famous dishes will ensure that all 5 senses will be stimulated. We hope these soirees will become staples of the AISB and expat community. Stay tuned!

WM: What services do you offer? PC: “La Teatru. La Calinescu” consists of two events halls (one 150-seater and the other, a 200-seater). These can potentially host two simultaneous events in the same location, or the entire building can be opened up for larger events up to 350 guests. We cordially invite the AISB and expat communities to visit us and keep us in mind for any event they might organize. In the meantime, please visit us online (www. Our location is ideal for nearly every type of event, public, private or corporate. Our location, accessibility, attention to detail and personalized customer service are the guarantees of a great event. And, who knows, you might even spot my father or I on the stage there in the near future! Interview with Petru Calinescu Petru graduated from AISB in 2005 and pursued a musical degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the UK. He later returned to Romania to follow his artistic career.


Interview with

Cathy Kyritsis AISB Alumna, Class of 2006

Cathy graduated from AISB in 2006, pursued her Undergraduate Degree in the UK, and now works in Hollywood. WM: Hi Cathy, thanks for making the time today. Let’s start with the basics: name, place of birth, nationality. CK: I am Catherine Kyritsis, born in Pretoria, South Africa and I am Greek/ South African. WM:Tell us about your first day at AISB. What year was it? What was it like? CK: Wow. Okay haha it seems forever ago. First day, we moved midyear from Bangkok, Thailand in 2003 half way through 9th grade. I remember showing up at school, it was FREEZING compared to Bangkok. Obviously. I remember I showed up in baggy pants, skater shoes and heavy eye liner, thinking I would fit in RIGHT away. I was wrong. It was a completely different environment than my last school. Every class was much smaller, the kids were louder and my style was extremely tom


boyish compared to how the other kids dressed. I stuck out like a sore thumb but I loved it. I love change. I knew I had a challenge because it was such a small school and everyone was so tight knit. WM: What year did you graduate from AISB? How did that feel? CK: I graduated in 2006. Man, it feels so weird to talk about it now. I remember it felt amazing and we felt so grown up. Like this was it. We knew everything we needed to learn and now we could venture out into the world and take it over… Thinking back now, I was still a kid and had SO MUCH to learn. The one thing I have always kept to this day, is fighting for my dreams. To this day no matter what anyone says to me or whatever happens, I fight for my dreams and that’s how I got this far.

WM: What degree did you pursue for you higher education? And where? CK: I went to the University of Kent in England and got a Bachelors in Film Studies. Following that, I studied in New York and Los Angeles and received my Masters of the Fine Arts. WM: What part of the world are you living in today? CK: Today I live in the amazing Los Angeles, California. WM: How do you like LA? CK: I love it with all my heart. That little 5-year-old girl that used to sit and dream of being in Hollywood, actually did it. It really feels like my home, it’s a part of me and I would not want to be anywhere else. I’ve been here almost 8 years now and it feels like I’ve been here forever.

WM: What are you doing in LA professionally at the moment? CK: Currently I am an executive assistant and producer for Jeannie Mai. She is a talk show host for a daytime talk show for The Real. WM: Tell us a little bit more about what a "day in the life" looks like for you at Warner Brothers. CK: Man that’s tough. With Jeannie, every day is different. Right now, we are filming The Real, so Mon-Wed 5am-2pm our home is Warner Brothers. We come to set, Jeannie gets her hair and makeup done, while I throw out emails, texts, appointments and answers I need for the week. It’s an extremely FAST paced job. You have to always be on your toes and she is constantly throwing things at me. The amazing part is, it’s never boring and I am learning so much. Outside of The Real, she is a co-host on a new game show called Snoop Dogg’s Joker’s Wild and we are currently producing an untitled reality show. I am so lucky because I get to see how a Boss Lady works and how she manages her business. Jeannie is a hardworking hustler and she has taken me under her wing to train me as her right-hand woman and business partner. Of course, it’s a 24/7 job but it has so many perks on top of the hands-on training. Sometimes, we will be on set all day and then we have to dash to a premiere, or party for her celebrity friends. It’s a nonstop amazing life and I wouldn’t have asked for anything else. I am so lucky I have a family that supported my dream for so long… it must not have been easy. WM: Do you have any hobbies, sports, or other cool interests outside of work? CK: I am part of a weekly writers group. We write TV shows, movies and shorts. I am currently producing a TV show with a writer. I don’t have much time but whenever I do, I write or study Film and TV. What can I say, I am addicted. I

also just started a hip hop class with Jeannie. It’s amazing and I am not coordinated (haha) but I sweat my butt off and for an hour I don’t think about anything else. It’s a GREAT stress reliever. WM: Do you have any plans to visit AISB/Bucharest/Romania anytime soon? CK: I visit Greece every summer, so I hope to make it down in 2018. It’s been way too long! WM: How did an international education help you in reaching the point you are at? CK: I would say it made me extremely adaptable to change and open to new cultures. It trained me to walk into a room and make friends with everyone. I mean I literally could talk to a wall (I talk a lot, past teachers can agree with that, hi Mr.Nic! Haha) The education was the best part. Not many people are given the education we had. We were very lucky and it prepared us for the real world and college. WM: What are your favorite AISB memories? CK: Wow… so many… I would say all the beginning of the year trips. They were great for all the new students too because everyone got to know each other really fast. All the school plays, man those were long hours but so much fun. I will never forget those, Mr. J. Actually, I don’t know if this is a favorite memory because someone got hurt. But in 10th grade, my crazy brother Jonathan and I were in a play. Jonathan, so dedicated to his role, had to throw himself onto the stage during a scene. One day, during rehearsal he threw himself so hard he broke a couple of ribs!

That’s how dedicated we all were to the craft! Some more than others haha. I just have so many amazing memories, it’s hard to pick just one. I mean most of them are of me getting in trouble for talking too much… or arguing too much haha. I have so many memories with life time friends who I am still in touch with: Anca, Ana, Andrea, George, Justin to name a few, so I feel lucky forever that the school gave me them. WM: Are there any teachers you're still in touch with? CK: I am so sad, Mr. J was here for a couple of days but our schedules just didn’t align. I got called into work last minute and couldn’t make it. A small memory I have of a teacher is with Mr. Nic. In biology, Mr. Nic used to race across the floor on his rolling chair. Oh that, and Mr. Nic kicking Tudor out of class hahaha. WM: What was the best thing about growing up outside your home cultures? What was the most challenging? CK: As I mentioned above, the best thing is learning to be adaptable to change. Being basically thrown into a culture and learning about it. The most challenging is trying to fit in to a new culture and country when you are already an awkward teenager. I am so thankful and grateful for it all and I hope that someday my kids will have the same experience.


Vik Salic & Jan van Groningen Interview with

WM: Vik, Jan, when we chatted in May, you had just finishing building the terrace and launched the summer menu. How was the summer season for you at Fish House? It was good. We did much better than we expected, the terrace helped a lot and we worked hard to create a great ambiance. The terrace was very lively and had a fantastic atmosphere. Every week we would figure out something to improve so we learned a lot about things we had never done before. WM: What major challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome them? The biggest challenge we continue to face is the bureaucracy and the bureaucratic procedures that specifically impacted the pace at which we could open the terrace – there were many hoops that we had to jump through. Because we had only just become partners at the restaurant at that time, we also had to learn everything about the restaurant industry as we engaged in the process – we learned a lot from Zoran.

Another huge challenge during the summer was that a lot of the staff either left the country or went to the seaside for better job opportunities during the season, which hugely impacted us. WM: You hosted the AISB Alumni 5 Year Anniversary Reunion in August – how was the experience for you? What feedback did you receive from guests? It was a lot of fun because we had the personal connection and it was really nice for us to meet the other alumni and the Director. The place looked great and the food was delicious, everyone gave great feedback about both. However, we were hoping more people would show up, but with the people who did come, around 35, we had a great time. Because our team is very experienced, the event went really smoothly; we’ve hosted many private and corporate events here, so our team is very well versed. Furthermore, the alumni association was also very proactive and organized and this helped ensure a well-run event.


WM: Let’s take a few steps back; in May you mentioned that some of your most important life experiences took place in Romania - tell us a little bit about your lives and upbringing. We’ve both lived in many different countries growing up, but the beginning of the formative years of our lives were in Bucharest and we were also experiencing that period of our lives together. We had a very strong bond and live through a great period at AISB which made it a really memorable time in or lives and we have many of those connections still. We’ve always been drawn to Romania and thought of it as a home. We’ve always wanted to build some part of our lives here as there are still more opportunities in Romania than in the West – there is a bigger chance to develop your own thing here because it’s still an untapped market. Some of our fondest memories were going to sports tournaments together - our team had such a strong connection. It was awesome to visit all the different countries as a team and meet other people our age

at other schools. Our sports experiences really shaped who we are today and it's part of the reason we've become so close. WM: How did these experiences shape who you are today? It makes you want to be a winner but also be a part of a team. What really stuck in our minds was ‘shake it off’ – whenever someone messed up, we had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and focus on the end goal and get back into the game. This really helped shape a future perspective that it’s okay to make mistakes so long as you get back on the horse. What also helped was the fact that AISB was so international – we knew people from all over the world so you learn to respect everyone equally – that everyone is human, that there is no difference and that superficial things don’t matter at all – you get to know a person by who they are regardless of their culture. WM: What were some of your favorite AISB memories?

Vik Salic and Jan Van Groningen both graduated from AISB in 2008. They partnered with their friend Zoran Savic to run Fish House together this year and have since seen tremendous growth. We catch up with them six months later to chat about their progress. Study hall, higher lever physics with Mr. O’Brien, CEESA tournaments, Jonathan Kyritsis’ parties, and the field trips. WM: Are you still connected to the school? How would you like to become more involved? We recently started playing the high school varsity teams in volleyball and basketball. Jan might go in to help the varsity coach in basketball and we go in on Saturdays to play volleyball. It’s a lot of fun and very nostalgic to be back in the gym, where we spent so much time as students. We are also interested in providing our expertise for AISB’s Design and Engineering Center Food Laboratory – we have experts who can really help the students. We would also be interested in providing internships for students who are interested in a future career in the hospitality and restaurant business. WM: Back to the restaurant – what progress have you seen over the last six months? Have you changed your approach in any way following lessons learned?

The changes that happen are slow and you have to be patient but you can see them. Each small improvement takes a lot of work and it seems like it’s never ending but when we stop to think about it, we realize how much we managed to improve. We hired and trained new staff, optimized procedures, automated some manual processes – all in all, we are getting more efficient and the business has grown as a result. The number of guests is increasing, we’ve had good reviews, and our online presence has been improving because of another alumna we work with; our business collaborator, Ruxi, helped us to improve our online presence with her company which we are very happy with and we have received only positive feedback. We’ve taken a very personal approach to redecorate the restaurant in a way that is representative of our personalities – we did this with the terrace, the front room, and most recently the room in the rear. The improvements have really changed the atmosphere of the restaurant for the better and we’ve been commended on them many times from guests.

WM: What is the outlook for the fall and winter season at Fish House?

opening the terrace again for the spring and summer.

We are working on a new menu that is coming out very soon. Finalizing the interior redecoration, we are expecting good growth of business if things continue the way that they are going. Our one year anniversary is coming up so we are hosting a small event with our most loyal clientele and business partners, family, and friends as a way to thank them for their ongoing support.

WM: Make our mouths water: what’s the most popular dish on your menu?

Because our chef is very creative, we will now also have a daily and weekly menu on the chalkboard so that we can offer guests new dishes regularly. WM: What is something that you’re most looking forward to for 2018 with regards to the restaurant? We are going to start to import our own artisanal products, selling different wines, olive oils, and things we make in house thus becoming more of a boutique restaurant that includes a small high quality market. We will also redesign our menu for the summer to incorporate fresh ingredients and we are really looking forward to

The fresh wild-caught fish is a sure winner. It can be cooked on the grill, in salt, fried, or in the oven according to our clients’ preferences. If you're looking for something unique in Bucharest, try our gnocchi alla romana which is made according to the ancient roman recipe (no potatoes) with shrimp and truffle. WM: What services do you offer? We can host private events for up to 40 people in the winter or 60 in the summer according to our clients’ needs. We also offer take away to guests who may want a great dinner in the comfort of their home. We are also very flexible with dishes for private events where we can prepare items that are not on our regular menu and not necessarily based only on fish or seafood. We invite the expat community in Bucharest to pay us a visit and talk about how we can support their next event.


Interview with

Peter Achim AISB Alumnus, Class of 2014

WM: Peter, can you please give us a quick introduction about yourself? PA: Well, I am the son of Angela Achim, the Elementary Art teacher, and I attended AISB all my life, from EC3 to 12th grade. I have gone through a lot at AISB: I have made so many friends from so many nations as well as met wonderful teachers, so I feel like I have come out of the experience blessed and thankful. I was so blessed to have been accepted by two universities with unconditional offers, decided to attend the University of Cumbria and studied Digital Arts with a focus in Game Level Design. Currently I am looking for a job in the industry, but have been fortunate to hold internships and other jobs in the meantime.

WM: What did you imagine you would pursue as a career when you were still in high school? How has your experience in high school influenced the decision to pursue your degree? PA: I have always wanted to pursue a career in Computers or IT due to my love for all forms of technology. But after my 10th grade Personal Project, which honestly was my favorite part of high school as I got to choose what I wanted to do, I felt like this would be a great path to follow. Even though AISB is amazing, at the time, it did not offer many chances to choose Arts and Technology. So, because of the Personal Project and the robotics courses that I got to take in 10th grade, I decided to


pursue a career in Digital Arts and 3D Models.

WM: What obstacles did you face during your time at university?

WM: Tell us more about your University studies.

PA: I feel the main obstacle I faced while at university was having to balance doing chores in the house as well as my work and I wish I had gotten more practice at it. It was not difficult to pick up quickly what I had to do, but it was challenging.

PA: At University I studied The Art of Games Design and Digital Arts. I mainly focused on 3D art work, but also dabbled in Environment Art and enjoyed it, even thought it was only a course. WM: How have your university experiences been different to your experiences at AISB? PA: The main thing about university that I loved more than AISB was that I did not feel like I was doing any work at all. I enjoyed everything I had to do.

WM: What can you tell us about your final project and the road to completing it, including your London show? PA: Well, my final project took me about 6 months to make. It is a racing game with a twist, where you are a remote-control car instead of an actual car. You race around different common

areas looking at the world from a whole new perspective. I had to model and create all aspects of my game. This would include: artificial intelligence, textures, sounds and music. The reason I could take my project to London was because a board found my game fascinating and interesting. Wanting to make my project even more compelling and interesting, I made an arcade machine and 3D printed 4 of the cars in the game. I have to tell you, I believe it was very successful as my game was never free of people. They were always asking questions and playing the game, some even coming back to play it again and again.

WM: How do you find life now that you graduated from university? PA: Now it is very hard for me to find a job in the industry. It is important for future students to build a lot of industry connections and relationships in order to get a foot in the door. It is also important to not be afraid to get a side job, as a store clerk or a barista, to earn some money while you continue working on your projects on the side. WM: What are your goals for your future? PA: One future goal is for me to start my own game company so that I can make the games I like. But don’t expect the

company any time soon, as I would like to get a bit of experience in the industry first and also to complete a Masters course. WM: What advice do you have for the high schoolers that are thinking about a career in the same field as you or debating whether to do the IB or not? PA: Well this one is hard as I feel the IB system helps you learn about handling a heavy load, but if the school does not supply the classes you need in IB, maybe you have a reason to take some of your classes as IB certificates. You can also ask if you can have a class to improve the skills you want under supervision of a teacher that is willing to do so. I did

only certificates due to AISB not providing the classes I wanted or that applied to a BA in Games Design. WM: What is your greatest achievement in life thus far, professionally or personally? PA: I feel like my greatest achievement so far is getting through this all with my family by my side, as well as being in another country for the last 3 years by myself. On top of that, getting a First on my final project, which is the highest grade you can get in British universities.


The Alumni Association five year reunion took place at Fish House on August 12th, 2017. Around 35 alumni attended and enjoyed each other's company as well as the delicious food! Thank you to everyone who made it. We look forward to seeing or alumni on February 4th, 2018 at the next reunion in New York.



Join us in the Big Apple for our 2018 Reunion!

Sos. Pipera Tunari 196, Voluntari, Jud. Ilfov 077190 Romania Tel: (40 21) 204-4300


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