World Magazine - Fall Edition 2021

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Cosmin Ghiță, CEO Nuclearelectrica, forged a strong reputation in business and international relations, working with renowned companies from the United States, with a focus on strategic management and consulting, especially regarding South-Eastern Europe. He then served as the Energy and Mining Advisor to the Prime Minister of Romania.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, thought us nothing is set in stone, and that new lessons are always just around the corner.



A student's journey through medical school, coping with COVID-19 and discovering art as an outlet for creativity.




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Romanian Feature


The Stone Ravens

Lying in a place as if chosen by the Divinity itself and the construction itself is remarkable by its complete simplicity that makes you meditate, introspect and pray. Dug into a huge rock wall (30 m high by 14.5 m long), the monastery, from an architectural point of view, falls into the byzantine architectural typology, characteristically for the 10thCentury. On the other hand, this type of rupestrian citadel, having a camouflaged entrance (under 1m high) determines some historians to presume its age to be around the period the Christians were persecuted, that is about the end of the 2ndCentury, B.C. Other historians place their suppositions further back, presupposing that here would have been a Dacian place of worship, votive to the ancient God Zalmoxis.


Ana Costiniu / Editor


If we have learned anything navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that nothing is set in stone, and that new lessons are always - ALWAYS - just around the corner. It feels like these past two years have been a crash course in overcoming the unpredictable for all of us. Whatever our chosen profession or life-path, it is safe to say that we have all had to handle routine changes, dynamic variables, unexpected challenges and stressinducing events, and most days, that was just before breakfast!

Flip through the pages of this edition of the WORLD magazine to read stirring accounts of AISB Alumni who have taken a chance on these times and decided to reinvent themselves and their lives, and hit the ground running.

But how are we emerging from these collectively agitated times? It feels like we have all stood together on a brink and looked at the same rough waters, and this has somehow changed us. Some of us welcome the reassuring firmness of solid ground, and stand waiting for life to re-settle into their everyday routines. There are others who are getting their sea legs ready and cozying up to “the new normal”. And then there’s those who braced for the unexpected and decided to take the plunge and rethink themselves, their business or their journeys completely.

Moving to a different city to start a new business, reinterpreting a travel agency’s business flow, reflecting on life while in the Navy, running a risk on an innovative product, finding time to rediscover passions or re-claiming freedom in art - the stories in this edition are all heartening instances of AISB Alumni planning for a renewed future while always staying true to their innermost values. Of course, this list would not be complete without our inspiring cover story of an alumnus very close to the heart of AISB: Cosmin Ghita, star scholarship student in the class of 2008, and

now CEO of Nuclearelectrica and the newest member of the AISB Board of Trustees! In reading these stories, you will find that there are kindred spirits in the AISB community who have come out on this side of the global pandemic and have stood their ground. Perhaps some stories will bring you hope by sharing their journeys of rediscovery and resilience. And last, but certainly not least, it may just be that you’ll find inspiration and courage for that wild thought that you never pushed further than the “what if” stage in your own mind.

Ana Costiniu Editor

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The WORLD Magazine is published biannually for alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of AISB, the largest private international school in Romania. TM

EDITORIAL TEAM LEAD EDITOR: Ana Costiniu EDITORIAL TEAM: Fabiana Papastefani, Alex Cristescu CONTRIBUTORS Ana Costiniu, Peter Welch, Alex Cristescu, Fabiana Papastefani, Cosmin Ghiță, Petru Călinescu, Ioana Burcea, Seongjim Kim, Omotoyosi Aryio, Christos & Stefanos Valvis, Alexandra RomanZbârcea AISB Student Contributors: Luca M. & Adi S. PHOTOGRAPHY AISB Archives, Bogdan Greavu ( DESIGN AND TYPOGRAPHY Mario Zamfir, Aliant Brands Ltd. ONLINE EDITION Aliant Brands ( SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS Blvd. Pipera Tunari 196 Voluntari Jud. Ilfov Romania 077190 Email: / LEARN ABOUT UPCOMING EVENTS Visit: Follow us on: Published by Aliant Brands Ltd. Print Circulation: 2000 copies / Electronic: 10,000 views 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.

The American International School of Bucharest supports a more sustainable environmnent. Please recyle this magazine when finished reading or using. Copyright © 2021 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: WORLDTM 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.




Director's Message




Association President


Five Minutes Before


Terry Fox Run

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Peter Welch's message on what it takes to make the school's vision relevant to the community.

Stories & experiences of AISB alumni managing the pandemic, university and their workplace.

Confident that the AISB Alumni will resume their presence in supporting school events.


The Courage To Reinvent Ourselves


Interview with Cosmin Ghiță


Cultivating Creativity

An alumn's sacrifice, forsaking freedom & youth in the name of his country.

Organizer David Hughes says the fact we could hold the event in-person “was a great way to bring our community together"


Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic thought us that nothing is set in stone, and that new lessons are always just around the corner.

An AISB alumnus which brings unparalleled insight to the governance of the school.

Becoming One With The Flow The obscurity of what lies ahead is what makes the future so enigmatic and therefore appealing.

Photo Gallery

Proud past. Dynamic future.

AISB Alumnus, Cosmin Ghiță

A student's journey through medical school, coping with COVID-19 and discovering art as an outlet for creativity.

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Director's Message

Peter Welch / AISB Director



At the start of my career, I was a history teacher in inner London. This was not easy work. I challenge anyone to make medieval history relevant to young people struggling to get by on tough council estates! In my very first class, one of the students threw a chair out of the window and soon exited the same way from the second floor. Not much learning happened that day, or on many days when the work felt like crowd control. As my skills and courage grew, I understood that people pay attention to stories. History teachers have wonderful stories to tell. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon, if the stories have to be about methods of medieval execution, then at least some students are paying attention. History as a subject always needs to make the case for relevance alongside subjects where the point may seem more obvious, like Math or Biology. I believe that history has much to tell us about human nature, the main constant in the ebb and flow of the human story. We can draw a straight line of human vanity from Elizabethans eating worms to keep themselves thin to the growth in plastic surgery among the ‘TikTok’ generation. The French historians wrote of finding wisdom in the ‘semi-stillness’ of history, in the things that don’t change. Yet history also teaches us that social change is a constant. The way things used to be is not the way they are now, nor is it how they will be in the future. My generation has grown

up with the belief that western liberal values, such as democracy, represent the pinnacle of civilization or ‘the end of history’, as Francis Fukuyama famously and disastrously predicted. In fact, this decade is teaching us that unless we stand up for the values that we believe in, they can be eroded or even disappear. The world is changing at an incredible speed now. Un-learning old ideas and habits and adapting with creativity is key to thriving in this reality. We want AISB students to think for themselves and challenge old assumptions with courage. And we want them to navigate their thinking with personal morals, values and compassion. AI, genetic engineering, and virtual reality, to name just three accelerating phenomena, will bring profound ethical as well as social revolutions. As we start this new year at AISB, we are able to take action to put our future planning in place. Our vision to be a creative, courageous and compassionate learning community has to be made real and relevant to our community. At this point of history, with the challenges of the pandemic and the multiple global challenges that we face, I can think of no more relevant constellation of values to guide our way.

Peter Welch Director

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Fabiana Papastefani / AISB Alumni Coordinator

As I started to write for the Fall Edition of 2021, I went back to read some of the articles of the last two editions that we put together and published from the start of this pandemic until now. It was a great exercise and experience for me, because it once again walked me through the events, thoughts and emotions of so many of us during the past year and half; the ideas, beliefs and expectations that each of us had for the times we were going through. It was the very first time that most of us had to go through life without being able to have a plan, without knowing when we would be able to see close family members, go to family functions, doctor appointments and most importantly, how to do school or business when no actor in the scene “knew their lines or their cues”. In the edition right after the pandemic, we were focusing on resilience. We had grown to know a new measure of resilience on a personal level and as bigger social groups - either as families, work collectives, and even as whole nations. Some of us had needed a much deeper level of resilience, the


PATHWAYS pandemic only the background of what was happening in our lives, health-wise or family-wise. I was one of these people. I would have never thought or imagined that I would find comfort and reassurance in the idea of a global lockdown, as if it gave me permission to just stop everything and divert all attention and healing inwards, where it was most needed. The following edition of WORLD Magazine shared stories that showed the courage and agility of our alumni, as we kept navigating challenging times. I was once again in awe with the insight that came from the stories of the AISB alumni, the courage and energy they had as they were going through all their unique journeys. In the midst of these stories, there is a group that shines through, unique in their experience: the newest alumni, the AISB Graduating Class of 2020! The stories they shared with us as their university plans either dissolved right before their eyes or had to drastically change, became a learning experience for the graduates of 2021 when we organized our Letting GO event with them and their families.


In this edition of WORLD, we are now sharing stories and experiences of our alumni going through the pandemic - at universities, at their placements, at their new workplaces or, well, a complete rerouting, redirecting of their careers. For some, even a rethinking of their whole existence. We are finally normalizing different higher studies pathways, finally starting to remove the stigma around gap years, around taking a year off from studies to go to work, and the stigma around interrupting studies that weren’t bringing joy, accomplishment, expansion, but to the contrary - were having a negative impact on mental health and wellbeing. In the pages of this edition you will read some great representations of such pathways, and of the amazing resilience, courage, agility and grit of these amazing human beings. Enjoy!

Fabiana Papastefani AISB Alumni Coordinator

Alexandru Cristescu / Association President

Our community is finally back at school, full-time and with all the safety measures we have grown accustomed to in place. Even events such as the Terry Fox Run seem to be coming back on track. Although reunions will still have to wait for a while, we are confident that the AISB Alumni will return, and their annual presence in supporting school events will be restored and reinterpreted. Now at AISB we can yet again see that amazing process of new generations being educated to reach their full potential. It is not only teachers and students, also parents and alumni join in the effort to make our community perform even better. There are some amazing stories in this edition of the WORLD Magazine, inspiring to say the least - stories of re-inventing oneself and stories of rediscovery. For me personally, there is a story that stands out and

STORIES OF REDISCOVERY strikes at the core of what makes AISB truly great. This is our cover story with Cosmin Ghiță, whom I have known since high school: an amazing person, a strong character, great friend, hardworking and with an intellect very few people have, and even fewer know how to use. Cosmin joined AISB through the scholarship program, and I remember him as one of the best students in school, fun to spend time with. He then went on to Bates College where he excelled, moved back to Romania, and is currently the CEO of Nuclearelectrica SA (the Romanian nuclear energy producer, a listed company). Of course, two sentences cannot do justice to all his achievements, but what is clear is that he is one of the youngest professionals in the nuclear energy sector, recognized worldwide. I invite you to read his story in this edition of WORLD Magazine and find out more! Today AISB is even stronger, and we are so proud to know that Cosmin, Class of 2008, has joined our Board of Trustees. Thank you, Cosmin, for accepting such a vital position, and thank you to the Board of Trustees for welcoming him! The Board is

where AISB’s future strategy is decided and where all necessary resources are assured to make said future possible. So, why is this important? AISB is not just a school where teachers and students participate in the process of learning, it is a place where after graduation our own want to come back and dedicate themselves on a continuous basis. Having past generations come back and participate is a privilege very few communities have. This is the core of AISB and what makes this place great. Thank you to all of you who find time to help out our wonderful community!

Alexandru Cristescu Association President

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Overnight, we were stripped of our civilian status, and we became soldiers. However, twenty-some years of life cannot go away in a matter of days. For the first few months, I dreamed of my civilian days - of friends, family, and home - every night, but those memories slowly sank into oblivion. Before I realized it, my dreams took place within the military, and then my nights became completely dreamless. Now, when I look back, the past twenty years of my life feel like a transitory dream.

Seongjin Kim, AISB Alumnus, Class of 2020

Lost Twenty Months That is how a friend of mine from the boot camp described his military service. For twenty months, all able-bodied Korean men are obligated to serve in the military, and unarguably, it is our duty. Yet, we are also making a big sacrifice, temporarily forsaking our freedom and youth in the name of our country. I had no high hopes as I enlisted, knowing that the military is rather a backwater institution, and my goal was to leave the military safe and sound. 10

So I found myself bobbing in the middle of the sea, in service of the Republic of Korea Navy. Permanently anchored and never setting sail nor entering any harbors, it is a lonely little place, isolated from the rest of the world. It is not easy living in our base which, albeit having been designed for human habitation, is essentially just a huge chunk of metal painted gray floating on the sea. Its ladders are steep to climb, and we crews have to put up with the vibrations from generators and motors that cause reverberations throughout our base 24/7. With leaves prohibited due to the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Korea, I spent the entirety of last winter stuck in the base, and it was only last February that I was able to go home, thanks to the special order issued by the Minister of National Defense to let all soldiers who enlisted prior to Chuseok of 2020 take their first leave. I was grinning from ear to ear as I prepared to go ashore, or so did my juniors tell me teasingly. I will never forget that day on August 31st, 2020 when my life was shaken to its core, when I stopped being a civilian and became a soldier. I will never forget the tears of joy that fell when my call successfully connected with my mom for the first time in the boot camp, and I will fondly remember the times spent together with my buddies undergoing grueling drills in Jinhae, the starting point of the Korean Navy and the birthplace of its sailors. Oftentimes in spring, thick sea fogs seeped in and blanketed the area for days on no end. Radars swept over our surroundings and showed us the targets, but the gray fog absorbed all light and hid everything away from our sight. We were as blind as bats, and I often felt down as I breathed in the extra saline air, feeling as if I were suspended in time and was going nowhere. But then, at the end, the sea fogs always


dissipated to reveal the sunny blue skies and the sparkling blue waters, and that was when I realized that I can find joy in simple things in life. When I go ashore on leaves, it takes time for my sea legs to go away, and I would wobble at first, but that is just proof that I have returned to the good earth. Sure, the seagulls like to leave their droppings on our decks, but they keep me company while I stand watch. By serving in the military, I am repaying the debt that I owe my father, my grandfather, and countless others before me who gave up their youth and their lives to protect our nation. If my service helps people who I love to sleep safe and sound every night, I think it is twenty months quite well-spent. In the navy, we have the tradition of fifteen minutes before and five minutes before. At the "fifteen minutes before" announcement, we start preparing, and we must be ready for action at the "five minutes before" call. In about a year's time, my military service will have come to an end, and I will leave for the United States to continue my studies. As much as I am eagerly anticipating this new chapter of my life, it will also be the toughest challenge that I will face. After all, the struggles of living abroad as a foreigner tends to be proportional to the distance away from your home and how foreign you look. However, we are captains of our own lives, and we must be the ones who take the helm and determine course. By keeping in touch with my family, friends, and buddies from the military, I try to overcome the physical distance that separates us and strengthen the bonds between us. Sweating from workouts is not exactly pleasant in summer humidity, but the satisfaction that it brings me afterwards makes it worth it. Finding time to study so that I can prepare myself for university can be difficult and tiring in busy weeks, but if I survived the DP and the boot camp, what can be out there that I cannot do? The details of my new journey are unclear, and the best I can do is to start preparing for it right now, so that when the time for me to embark on a new journey comes, I will be ready - as ready as I have been at five minutes before setting sail. Seongjin Kim


HEALTHIER LIFE Petru Calinescu, AISB Alumnus, Class of 2005

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Like so many of us over the past year and a half, the COVID pandemic has shaped our lives in ways we perhaps were not thinking of before March 2020. For our little family, the move to Brașov was definitely one of the best decisions of our lives and, serendipitously enough, it took place just a short few months before the start of the pandemic. In our pursuit of a better, healthier life for ourselves and our son, Dominic moving to Brașov (with its quieter, closer-to-nature lifestyle nestled in the Carpathian Mountains) was a welcome step forward from the hustlebustle of living in Bucharest. As entrepreneurs, we knew from the second we decided on the move that we wanted to start our own business in Brașov. As luck would have it (if you can call it that), the pandemic hit just as we were starting to discuss various ideas and business concepts for our new venture. This enabled us to plan the entire concept, from A to Z, taking the pandemic into account, and creating a business model which would not


be affected in a major way by the new realities of post-pandemic life (future lockdowns etc.). After some intensive months of planning and going through several ideas, we finally developed Meliora, a one-stop-shop packed full of healthy choices for the family and for the home. Virtually all of our products contain healthy ingredients only, whose names you can easily pronounce.


Our rule-of-thumb is, if we wouldn’t give that particular product to our 3-year-old son, then we wouldn’t sell it at Meliora. And these are products that we, ourselves, use in our daily life. Our enthusiasm and belief in the products we sell makes it very easy to provide informed, personalized suggestions to our customers. Our guiding principles

emphasize providing local products as much as possible, following the principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture (where available). A lot of the products we sell are made in artisanal fashion, in small batches, by enthusiastic, ethical and knowledgeable producers – a large proportion of which are young entrepreneurs such as ourselves. We believe this to be the

key to developing the healthy food market in Romania, a market which has seen major increases from year to year (and especially in the last year and a half). The pandemic has clearly played a positive part in this, in a sense, as it made people focus on their health and realizing that a healthy lifestyle starts with the choices we put on our dining room table. In retrospect, it was a logical step forward for our family. In pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, we moved to Brașov, and by opening Meliora, we are sharing our knowledge and strong belief in these products with the local community. The products are so qualitative that they are basically selling themselves. It’s true

that they are more expensive than their mass-produced hypermarket equivalents – but this difference reflects not only their superior quality, but also the higher production costs from field to shelf. It costs more for a small biodynamic producer (for instance) to grow a tomato the right way, using natural fertilizers and traditional harvesting methods. Likewise, it costs them more to process and distribute their product, and it costs them more to achieve and maintain their production certifications from year to year. It also costs us, small, specialized stores, more to obtain and market these products (and the store itself) than it does a big hypermarket with large, established logistical and marketing networks. All of this obviously

reflects in the higher price. But the rewards to your health are ultimately worth more than that difference in price. We knew from the start that we were going into a niche market, a niche which unfortunately is still not accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, it is a niche which keeps growing in Romania, slowly but surely. In our view, it is fundamental that everyone should have access to quality food in the nearest-aspossible of futures. Six months into opening and running Meliora, we are more than thrilled with the response we have received so far from our customers, and this enthusiasm enables us to already think of exciting ways we can develop and take the Meliora brand into different future

directions, ideas which all fit into the healthy living paradigm. The name “Meliora”, in Latin, translates to “the pursuit of something better”. Simona and I are glad to be able to give “something better” back to the world, particularly at such a pivotal moment in our planet’s history. With so much confusion and challenge around us, amid the COVID pandemic, global warming and global political unrest, it is our humble and heartfelt hope that small positive steps such as ours will be the rays of light that this world needs to heal itself, and emerge all the better for it. Petru Călinescu

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The Terry Fox Run made its return to AISB’s campus on Saturday, September 11, in the morning, once again raising awareness for cancer research, and reminding the entire community what it’s missed the last 18 months. 14

Approximately 600 participants gathered to complete the race around the school grounds. And, in total, AISB raised more than 7,500 euros—which will be donated to the Terry Fox Research Institute. Tenth grader Callum D was among the student runners. When approached for an interview, he was anxiously waiting for the race to start—bouncing from one foot to the other, eyes focused on the starting line. “I think it’s just great seeing the community back together again,” he said. “Last year we didn’t really have an event like this for Terry Fox and we couldn’t raise awareness as


a community together, so now I think it’s a great opportunity to do that again.” His excitement was echoed by parents, teachers, and other students—all of whom mentioned how much they missed these types of events last school year. “After being online for so long, it’s great for everyone to be back,” mentioned Deppie G, a grade 9 student. “Before the pandemic we had lots of events…and that’s an important part of school…it feels nice to do something different and to also do something for charity.”

Over 40 students volunteered to make this day a success, selling t-shirts, collecting cash donations, and helping with the overall operations. And the result was a packed campus, full of smiling people—with the hope that these types of meaningful events can continue throughout the year. Luca M. Republished from The Bite Newspaper

About Terry Fox and his Foundation: Terry Fox (1958-1981) was a Canadian athlete who lost his leg at age 18 due to cancer. His experience made him realize how much more research needed to be done to support cancer patients; and once he was healed and fitted with a prosthetic leg, he ran across Canada (5,373 kilometers) to raise money. This persistence and determination inspired Canadians to not only donate to cancer research, but to support Terry’s goal to create a foundation that would continue to raise funds year after year (currently netting more than CAD$850 million since 1980). AISB alone has donated more than €180,000 to the Terry Fox Foundation, averaging €9,000 per year.

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Christos Valvis, AISB Alumnus, Class of 2016 / Stefanos Valvis, AISB Alumnus, Class of 2018

Some time around 2017 my brother Stefanos sent me an article about a startup brand named Whiteclaw. It seemed odd - sparkling water with flavor and alcohol, and being unsure of its purpose, we didn’t think much of it. Fast forward to mid 2020 and hard seltzers - now a designated category in the US and other international markets -make up almost 10% of off-premise, supermarket beer dollars, with dozens of brands and flavors. This was our starting point: a proven new category of beverages with virtually no presence in Eastern Europe. We sat down one day some time in July 2020 and wondered why there were no hard seltzers in Romania. What about the big brands? Heineken, Asahi International, Coca-Cola, Diageo and so forth seemed to have ignored this category’s monumental growth in favor of a conservative strategy. Given, this was just as


travel restrictions, stayat-home directives and sanitary measures were beginning to take effect globally. And it made sense, as launching new categories is exactly what corporations looking to minimize investor risk shouldn’t do during a pandemic. Fortunately for me and Stef, that gave us about a year to prepare our contender.


Our father, Jean Valvis, has built a number of nationally successful brands: Dorna, LaDorna, and most recently the Samburesti winery and AQUA Carpatica. He’s also launched products that were new within the Romanian market, such as PET-bottled mineral water and UHT milk, so his moral support for our project

was immediate. Paired with the timing of a recent investment for a canning line intended for mineral water, we knew that the logistic know-how and physical infrastructure required for a hard seltzer were there. So under our father’s watchful gaze, Stef and I were left with the task of building the brand.

So where to begin for a hard seltzer? Market research in order to define the category is the first thing we did. How much does it sell and where? What are the average prices? Who consumes it and in what contexts? What other products does it take market share from? How is it advertised? What do existing brands

taste like, and what are they made with? After answering lots of questions like these we had a clear picture of what the brand should look like, and a few things needed to advance in parallel: the creation of recipes, the visual identity of the brand, its pricing and product placement within the local market, and the advertising requirements of a product targeted at an 18-35 y/o audience. All of these needed specialist knowledge that Stef and I didn’t have, but we knew what we wanted. The hardest part was designing the can itself and deciding what information to include. Too much color and people expect it to be sweet -- we confirmed this with two focus groups. Too little and people assume it’s some kind of tonic water. What symbol can we use for a category that’s 50/50 male/female-targeted, that appeals to anyone who wants to consume alcohol? Is there even

a need for a main symbol, or will a good name suffice? No one knows what a “seltzer” is or why alcohol makes it “hard”, so we added “Fruity Alcoholic Sparkling Water”. That should be clear enough, but that it ignores the mineral water aspect. Gluten-free is big in the states, but does it matter if we state it on the can? No added coloring means the product is transparent, but that could seem artificial to most people who don’t know that all ‘natural’ beverages have added natural coloring compounds. How can the flavor be natural if the drink is transparent? Have you ever seen a transparent grapefruit? Well, the natural volatile compounds that give it taste don’t contribute to color at all. You can imagine the potential confusion. The final design is a balancing act between aesthetics and function, while maintaining the clean look of the general category.

Another important issue was finalizing the recipes for each flavor. Too little sugar and the natural fruit extracts taste bitter. Have you ever tasted a non-sweet peach? Too much and the calories go beyond the specified 99kcal/ can. Citrus extracts are slightly bitter whatever you do, but using certain natural concentrates can make the product smell like dish soap instead of like a tasty Mojito. We worked directly with a provider of certified natural concentrates and went through about 19 rounds of corrections per flavor in order to confirm the final recipes, and I’m confident the final forms smell and taste delicious. Perhaps I’m influenced by the sheer quantity of lab samples that we (responsibly) consumed in order to reach a conclusion. In effect, after one year and hundreds of emails and Zoom calls back-and-forth with food engineers, lawyers and about 10

agencies specialized in various aspects of running a brand, we’re on shelves. The website and Instagram pages are up, the TV commercial looks and sounds great, and I can proudly say we haven’t skipped any steps. Although I think the product is good in itself, the hard part will be convincing people to try something they’re not used to, especially during a pandemic which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. We expect it will take a while in order to explain why our product, Wet Hard Seltzer, is better, and time will tell if the product is a success. All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the process and look forward to applying this know-how to future product development. If anyone has ideas or would like to discuss, please reach out!

feed with Feedly or equivalent, and pin it to your browser. Take a moment every day to read up on news within your industry of interest. It’s invaluable. Christos Valvis & Stefanos Valvis

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY Valvis Holding is open to summer internships for 11th and 12th grade AISB students who are interested in any aspect of the fast moving consumer goods industry, from marketing to production.

Page links: wet_hard_seltzer/

A word of advice for anyone interested in business ventures: if you haven’t already, set up an RSS w w w. a i sb. ro




Interview with

COSMIN GHIȚĂ AISB Alumnus, Class of 2008

Success stories and Alumni personal journeys are what the WORLD Magazine is all about, and as far as they go, we are delighted to be sharing the story of our very own Cosmin Ghiță, an AISB Alumnus, Class of 2008. Having been a stellar student and the proud recipient of an AISB Scholarship, Cosmin moved on to study Political Economy, was the President of the Student Body and graduated Magna Cum Laudae from the prestigious Bates College in Maine, US.

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Cosmin forged a strong reputation in business and international relations, working with renowned companies from the United States, with a focus on strategic management and consulting, especially regarding South-Eastern Europe. He then served as the Energy and Mining Advisor to the Prime Minister of Romania, and in 2017 impressively became the CEO of Nuclearelectrica, a publicly listed employee state-owned nuclear power producer delivering 20% of Romania’s energy needs, with a workforce 2200 strong. This year, we are immensely proud to announce that Cosmin has joined the AISB Board of Trustees. We are grateful beyond words for Cosmin’s decision to volunteer his time and vast experience and expertise to AISB’s administration. Perhaps one of the most exciting things is Cosmin’s unique perspective as an AISB alumnus, which brings unparalleled insight to the governance of the school.

WM: What motivated you to take a chance, applying for an AISB scholarship? CG: I strongly believe that the first years of our education are crucial to our future. I am very grateful I had the chance to experience my teachers as mentors, which inspired me from an early age to always ask for more from myself. Therefore, I took the application process as a personal challenge. At the same time, I was interested in a more collaborative and initiative-driven educational system and aimed at pursuing a university degree abroad. So, from this point of view, AISB was clearly one of the best choices for me: its reputation, its excellent team of professors and the results of their alumni are draw-ins for many young and ambitious students. WM: What is a particularly fond AISB memory that stands out to you? CG: When one of our colleagues kidnapped our French teacher’s


(“Madame”) giant Tweety bird and posted a hilarious ransom video, which we all (students and faculty alike) enjoyed. This is a quintessential feature of the AISB culture – we could all joke, be friendly, bond, but we also respected each other’s limits and roles when it came to school work – needless to say, Madame was one of the toughest teachers. WM: How has AISB changed you? CG: I believe AISB formed me, not only changed me. AISB has the system, culture and experience able to take an ambitious teen and guide them into a career path, by inspiring them to bring out the best in themselves. My years in AISB made me a better critical thinker, gave me a better appreciation for soft skills and a well-rounded, rather than a specialized, education. Despite being at a young age in my career, I have cycled from work in a large corporation, to a small entrepreneurial shop, and


then government. One’s ability to learn and adapt is key to today’s career success, and that is what AISB teaches most. Additionally, I have always worked both with international and domestic business partners, so I feel that the multicultural aspect of AISB has also left a strong print on me. WM: How has your life been different from what you’d imagined? CG: In my early years of high school, I was actually thinking about becoming an actor. Needless to say, life has taken multiple unexpected turns, and I am looking forward to the ride. Staying present and open to opportunities defines me, and now that I look back, I can appreciate that every activity in my education played its part in shaping my present role. I strongly believe it is important to cultivate our talents and natural skills, as they are helpful when you are young to enjoy the education, to have fun whilst learning, and later on, they contribute by bringing passion in any business field.

WM: What’s one thing that you wish you knew more about when you began your career? CG: The importance of active listening and giving constructive feedback, which are skills that you cultivate as a leader, over time. You can learn them from books, but practicing them every day in an organization has made me appreciate their value. WM: What makes you feel inspired, and what keeps you going? CG: Results – good things coming to fruition. I believe this is a common denominator for me in my work and personal life. I am inspired by potential, and achieving results motivates me along the way. There is nothing to keep me going like the challenges I set myself. WM: What does reinventing yourself mean to you? CG: The ability to stay present and open to opportunities. We are always on a growth path, and it is crucial to be able to reinvent ourselves whilst staying true to our values and personal vision for life, especially at the start of one’s career. WM: How do you continue to learn and reinvent yourself within your business? CG: I am proud to work in one of the most exciting business fields, at the edge of the 4th industrial revolution – in the nuclear energy field, being the CEO of Nuclearelectrica, the national energy and nuclear fuel producer. I am one of the youngest managers in my business field, and my attitude of continuous improvement helps me to stay on top.

This is a culture we are also applying in our organization, which inspires us and motivates us to be personally responsible for our growth. At the same time, with the changing of the generation, or different challenges that rise up, one needs to step up their skill set and therefore adapt and grow. The pandemic brought into my life resilience, empathy and pushed me to build my team’s unity at a level higher than ever before. WM: How did moving back to Romania fit into your growth? How about coming back to AISB? CG: AISB provided me with a set of highly important skills and values, among which was the desire of working whilst studying. Thus, during my university years in the US, I also worked, and being hard-working, passionate and curious, this led me to amazing business opportunities. I had the professional opportunity to come back to Romania with a corporate start-up, and I took it as a personal challenge. As I stayed here, I realized the opportunities that lie herein, and I have tried to develop those ever since. AISB culture is about giving back. The school has done a lot for me and my personal development, and it is my honor to give back in every way that I can. I appreciate the mentors and the inspiration I got from the Board, teachers and guests, and I truly believe it is our responsibility to inspire future generations and contribute to their development. At the same time, I would like to inspire teens and open their curiosity about the nuclear energy field, which for me is a continuously rewarding career path.

WM: As the newest board member and only Alumnus on the AISB Board of Trustees, what’s your vision about how AISB could reinvent itself? CG: AISB is a very strong school within the IB curriculum world – it needs to hold on to its community spirit and the things it does well, but also look at ways in which it can service students better in a changing world: inclusion of more technology throughout its teaching, preparing for a career and university, teaching the value of learning how to learn; being more connected to its alumni network can definitely help. The new mission and vision – I find well-balanced and can provide a strategic direction for the school to grow. These are, of course, frameworks, within which it is, ultimately, the job of each member of the school community to bring their contribution to the final reshape. I am proud to contribute to this with my experience. WM: How do you feel that your unique perspective as the only returning Alumnus on the Board will influence the Alumni Association? CG: I hope my involvement will make the Alumni Association more active and inspire more of the members of the alumni community to become and stay active in the school community after graduation. I believe it’s our responsibility to give back and open the doors of our business fields in a more meaningful way, by sharing our experiences, our career paths and real stories to students. These inspire teens to ask for more from themselves and dream bigger.

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Becoming One With the Flow If you had a chance to know your future, would you take it? I wouldn’t. The obscurity of what lies ahead is what makes the future so enigmatic and therefore appealing. We do things in the hopes that they grow and morph into something else, at a later time.

find a job in advertising; become a professional creative. Simple. Humans tend to work on a future scale, with every action being defined by a clear desire of what they want to happen - also known as a plan.

You get in the car to go to the shop, to buy the groceries that you want to buy, to cook the dinner that you want to cook - and just like that, you have a line of independent actions, all triggered by a “future” desire: you want dinner at 8 pm.

and all of a sudden, you’d find yourself surrounded by objects stuck in time: a 13th century French carriage ordained with golden wooden structures; a vase from an unidentified tribe with a poignant, powdered scent; a three-foot tall Star Wars statuette that still held the smell of popcorn bursting in the vicinity and screaming back for the 70s; and then all of a sudden, a reflection

When I finished college in 2019, my line of independent actions was already set. Move from the US to London;


September 2019 I went to Paris. It was design week when designers from all over the world would gather


Alexandra Roman-Zbârcea, AISB Alumna, Class of 2019

caught my eye. A red frame that held inside an entire world so vague it would instantly challenge your mind. At 13:13 pm, 9th of September, something happened. I saw an abstract painting that moved me deeply for the very first time, far deeper than any other work had ever managed. My life as an artist started at the age of 7, maybe 8, where

I would compulsively recreate Ilfoveanu’s and Miro’s works in a pink, bedazzled notebook that had papers coming out at every corner. There was something about their lines that gave me a sense of freedom. As I grew up, I focused more on real life models and traditional painting, yet I felt trapped, so I stopped when I reached senior year in high-school. I pushed away art because

I felt strangled by her rules. In college, I met her again, but in digital form. I went into photography and digital art because I felt art was too messy, but in 2019, in Paris, it was the first time I was properly introduced to her yet once more - and there was something in the air of it all that just made me fall in love all over again. She reminded me of that freedom I had had when I was 7 years old. For

a very long time, I thought I had to be an original; I had to follow a code of rules, I had to be special, to be an artist, but nobody tells you - like, really tell you - that we are not born with a voice or style. You become yourself by first learning from others. So I got home that fall and started painting in the voice of artists that I admired most and boy, did I paint! I let go of

all the frustrations and anger that I had been feeling; all the self-hatred of not having found a job yet; the angst of feeling purposeless; all of it came pouring out of me. I started pitching myself to galleries in Bucharest. I wanted to have unspoken conversations with people who maybe were feeling the same as I did. But my work didn’t resonate with them,

so I received silence; a gentle “thank you for your interest, but…”. My plan was derailed. That didn’t stop me. I got my first job as a junior creative in London. Plan back on track - but now I had two simultaneous plans: a painting track and a career track. March 2020, COVID strikes. All plans fall. Silence. London, my apartment, my paintings, my new life, my new independence, all

stopped in their tracks. I run back home, frantically catching the last plane from London and just like that, that feeling of being trapped is re-plucked from my subconscious and flaunted in front of my eyes. No one out. No one in. I never experienced anxiety as a child, but COVID introduced me to it. It was a strange feeling being

back home - understanding how to work remotely; how to paint and understand the things I felt because no one trains you how to articulate your mind. We’re told our entire lives what not to feel: anger, sadness, happiness, love…but I wanted to feel everything, even the cold underneath my skin - so all came out onto my canvas like a thunderstorm in the middle of July. I had a new plan. I wanted to

be an international artist - has a funny ring when you think about it, the type that people raise an eyebrow at, but I had a new line of actions set up - job during the day; painting during the night. I started researching galleries throughout the world: London, Stockholm, Milan, you name it. I started looking for opportunities for emerging artists; started following all galleries on Instagram; started

selected me to be part of their summer exhibition. The resounding “Mom, I made it!” tickled my ears.

publishing my work; made a website; took photos; applied to open calls day and night. I wanted this to happen, and I didn’t care how long it took.

e-mail notification, “Dear Alexandra, we’d love for you to be part of our exhibition” - another gallery in London, The Holy Art had selected me for a virtual exhibition.

A year passes and we’re in 2021. I received an e-mail notification in June, “Dear Alexandra, we’d love to have you as part of our exhibition this July!”. My heart drops. A gallery in Mayfair - a gallery positioned right next to Sotheby’s in London, had

The Romanian Cultural institute in London went on to promote me. I felt proud. This was my debut as an artist to the world, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful introduction. One month later, another

And like water in the river, I became one with the flow. Alexandra Roman-Zbârcea

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CULTIVATING Omotoyosi Ariyo, AISB Alumna, Class of 2020

During the UK’s first lockdown in the summer of 2020, I wrote an entire novel in two months. I had an exhausting year of medical school ahead of me, and an exhausting year of IB behind me. After having had my fill of podcasts and long naps, I needed something to do. Something that would keep me occupied in the longterm, and something vastly different from my university course. Thus, I began writing a fantasy novel.


I remember sitting curled up on the living room couch, blocking out the world with lo-fi hip-hop as my mind ran even faster than my fingers, tapping frantically against my computer keys. I’d wake up during nights, eyes squinting from the glare of my iPhone screen, scrambling to jot down ideas that worked their way into my dreams. A whole alternate universe inside my head took shape on that Google Doc, and it thrilled me. When I typed my last sentence, I felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement. And quickly became motivated to start another novel—the one I’m still working on: a lighthearted, slow-paced, characterdriven found-family story. Eightythousand words and counting!


Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 16: “Their next stop was in the outskirts of town. A meandering, downtrodden trail led them to the greenest part of Ei’res, circled by thick trees shaped like folding fans fully spread. And at the woods’ centre: a still expanse of water, shallow and oblong, rush and marigold protruding from its perimeter like the fragmented frame of this mirror to the sky. Together, Majeed and Anurak sat at [lake] Indigo’s edge and watched their musings of months long gone take shape.” As it turns out, a creative outlet like writing is exactly what I needed to destress from medical school, and from the pandemic. I took it a step farther and got an iPad to begin

Omotoyosi graduated from AISB in 2020 and is now studying medicine at the University of Manchester. Throughout her high school career, she wrote consistently for AISB’s student newspaper, The Bite (—garnering international praise for her work on racial equality.

digital art, something I’ve always wanted to try, but never did, because I never had the time to do so. Thanks to lockdown, I had nothing but time. I drew fan art, commissions, and even characters from my books, each piece taking about four hours to fully complete. This kept me sane in a series of isolating lockdowns. In retrospect, my first novel wasn’t very good. My drawings weren’t good either; I started off tracing, and didn’t understand all of Procreate’s functions, or how to use colour. But there was something about being a beginner, so new to the craft, that reassured me. Something about being by myself, stuck within the same four walls, made it feel like this art and this time was for me and me alone. So in a way, lockdown took

a lot of pressure off of my back. And with all that time to practice, I can safely say that my drawings and writing have greatly improved. They’re far from perfect, but they don’t need to be. They’re only hobbies, after all; they’re meant to be an alleviator of stress, not a source.

know I could do. Which is why I plan to nurture these skills long after the pandemic. Though I don’t see myself having a career in writing or drawing, there’s no reason to limit myself to one path. Because unless I pursue them, there’s no telling where they’ll lead.

That’s not to say these hobbies have been completely stress-free. I’ve spent weeks bogged down on a transition sentence more times than I can count. I’ve cried tears of frustration, spending hours trying to draw a mouth that just won’t turn out right, or finishing a piece that isn’t as good as my last. But the bottom line is, lockdown has taught me more about myself—the person I’ve spent so much time alone with—and pushed me to do things I didn’t even

Omotoyosi Ariyo

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My name is Ioana Burcea, and I am part of the AISB graduating class of 2013. It is an honor to be a part of this thriving community where we share life experiences and lessons, with the aim of learning from and supporting one another. Not only am I lucky enough to be the graduate of an exceptional international school, but I have been blessed to follow in my father’s footsteps and work in the most exciting field: travel and tourism! It is, quite literally, my job to see the world. As you can guess, 2020 hasn’t been our year. The global COVID-19 pandemic has shaken us to our very core, with a sharp decline in mobility and travel services forcing us to reassess our business structure and online presence. The sharp contraction of travel consumption sees tourist arrivals at less than two thirds of the levels recorded in 2019. Domestic tourism has seen a turn for the better, restarting in the early summer of 2020, as many Romanians take on the quest of rediscovering the beauty of their homeland. However, the touristic ecosystem can only expect a real recovery when international travel restrictions are lifted and overseas travel returns. Paralela45 is one of Romania’s oldest, largest and most trusted travel agencies, with

its founding date set on the 4th of April 1989. The travel agency is also a tour-operator, which means our dedicated production team has a “free pass” in the creation and implementation of touristic programs worldwide. We pride ourselves with our welldesigned touristic circuits, with our vetted guides and with our travel groups dedicated to the elderly. Paralela45 has, for over 31 years, resonated in people’s minds with the words trust, integrity and transparency. Our international partners have become family – and we only recommend the best services available to our clients. Quite literally, every touristic circuit (and Paralela45 offers over 200!!!) has been tried and tested by one of our agents. The services we recommend have gone through our expert eye and only recommend what we truly enjoyed. Paralela45 stands for three things: tradition, trust and transparency. The pandemic has forced us to reassess our business model and the way we communicate internally. We have been forced to downsize operations and close high-street travel agencies, shifting our focus to online sales via our website, responsive chat and social media channels.

The most important thing throughout these trying times, to us, has been the relationship with our tourists and repeat customers. That’s what a travel agent relationship is built on – trust, time and transparency. We were the first Romanian tour-operator that issued postponement vouchers for 2021, encouraging people to reschedule their trips rather than cancel them. In reinventing interactions and communication with our customers, these years have truly been a stepping stone. Paralela45 has been transparent in all of our communication since the beginning of the pandemic, keeping people informed and updated on new travel restrictions and imposed measures. We are currently working with four medical centers that facilitate priority COVID-19 testing for our tourists, and have a number of pandemic insurance policies available as add-ons to any touristic package.

this required a seamless site experience, from fast and reliable search engines to a responsive web-app that would be easy to access from any device. After 31 years of activity in the Romanian market, Paralela45 shifted direction and embraced the technology available. Lastly, this time urged me to rethink my personal brand and use my travel experience to help acquire the interest of a younger segment than Paralela’s current clientele. Therefore, I am pleased to announce to you that I will be launching my own travel blog this spring, under the pseudonym Frequent Flyer, where I will be sharing my personal travel do’s and don'ts, alongside specially tailored Paralela45 travel offers. I believe this type of content will appeal to a crowd my age and help increase conversion rates. Ioana Burcea

As we realized in-agency traffic had reached a screeching halt, we were forced to turn our efforts (both in terms of investment and workforce) to increasing unassisted sales through our website. We define unassisted sales as payments that go through with no interference from our travel agents (no calls, emails or messages). On our end,

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members of the LGBTQ+ community and other historically marginalized groups and take action to alter practices that ignore, neglect or perpetuate inequity in our school community.

MAY 2021: CLASS OF 2021 VAMPIRES SPORTS GALA During the 2021 Seniors Week, The Co-Curricular Department had the honor and privilege of presenting the 2021 graduating seniors with a muchdeserved celebration of their moments as Vampires student-athletes. In a familial setting, students celebrated, acknowledged, and paid thanks to their parents, coaches, and people who’ve helped them along their sports journey at AISB. From the funny stories to the emotional connections, and the morning practice recollections, this class of athletes is by no shadow of a doubt one that has set a legacy of excellence. Through tireless dedication, diligence, and leadership, they have set a pathway that will be a model of inspiration for Vampire generations to come.


JUNE 2021 ALLY WEEK The week of June 7-11, 2021 was AISB Ally week, as part of an international youth-led movement to encourage others to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. The counseling department, together with active Secondary School students organized great events in the community, created safe spaces for students to meet and advocate to create awareness and acceptance. In the main building Atrium, a display was created by our recent graduates Ioana D. and Mara T., where students and members of the AISB community posted many messages of love and support. With this occasion, the counseling department reiterated our AISB Inclusion Statement: AISB Counselors stand for and promote equitable treatment for all. As allies, advocates and activists with and on behalf of our students, we recognize and celebrate individual and group differences and value all students and groups equally. We strive to challenge systems that have oppressed people of color, women, people with disabilities,


AISB Counselors aspire to cultivate a compassionate, safe & inclusive environment where all students feel affirmed, heard and empowered to be themselves and take courageous action to challenge injustice.


ADVERTISE WITH US Congratulations to Iulia P. , Eliza O. and Tina P. for their winning project “Ethically Speaking”, Ethically Speaking’s vision involves having the community participate actively in addressing animal rights abuses, in enforcing ethical consumption of products, in spreading awareness about this issue and especially participating in hands-on initiatives with the above goals in mind. (Original logo illustrated by Eliza O.)

The IB Student Innovators’ grant is an opportunity for MYP students to build vital skills to that become the socially conscious leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs the world needs today. The grant seeks applications from Middle Years Program (MYP) students who are motivated to start or continue a social impact initiative. Through a competitive application review process, the IB will support up to 30 students every year to create, innovate or expand on an impactful project of their own design. We are immensely proud to announce that this year, AISB students have received not one, but two Student Innovator Awards!!!

Congratulations to Naia H. for her winning project “FLO: the Aquatic Microplastics Filtration Device” The device functions by attaching to any flotation device such as boats or buoys, before allowing the curved shape of its openings to act as a suction for the ocean waters. With the passing current, any sediment will have to go through the various layers of sieves installed. (FLO by Naia H. Original sketch by Naia)

Advertising with the WORLD Magazine couldn’t be simpler. With a number of exciting opportunities both in print and online, WORLD Magazine is valued among its alumni readers. Close to 100 percent of our readers make a point not only to look at every issue that arrives at their home, but also spend a considerable amount of time reading it online. For patrons, WORLD Magazine delivers an affluent, influential, and engaged readership worldwide in a respected editorial environment, delivered in a professionally edited and attractive package featuring among the best graphic design found in alumni magazines. The magazine’s “shelf life” represents one of its greatest advantages as a tool in your marketing arsenal. Support the AISB Alumni Association through your donation of cash or services and benefit from a space in the WORLD Magazine.


+4 021 204-4333


‘WE KNOW IT’S BAD FOR US BUT WE CAN’T GIVE IT UP’ Social media: the modern-day beauty pageant, today’s version of a worldwide popularity contest. A typical Gen Z, I was introduced to Instagram early: at age eight. My parents had given me a touch-screen iPod and a small Samsung phone so I could call home when I went to summer camp. It seemed harmless—a way to keep in touch. But it quickly became so much more than that. I remember logging on to Instagram for the first time, and the feeling I got from scrolling through all the colorful images: a flower pot, a water bottle. A stack of books. My friends and I began running around the house, taking pictures of everything imaginable. And soon my grid was full of photos of my desk, glass tables, what we were watching on TV, and the pool we were about to jump into. It was an instant photo book of the memories we were having so much fun making. Fast forward six years later, and it’s now become harmful to my mental health. And it’s not just me. Studies are finding disturbing links between social media use and depression, anxiety, and general feelings of loneliness. Additionally, users often struggle with self-esteem—the result of constantly comparing

themselves to others. It seems like lately we’re all in a constant battle between our sanity and social media. I struggle to put limits on the amount of time I spend on Instagram, and I tend to focus too much on numbers: the number of followers I have; how many people like my posts; how many people respond to a story. Sometimes it can take me upwards of two hours to decide whether or not I should actually post a picture or even a story that only stays up for 24 hours. Do I look good in this? Is this worth posting? What will people think? Beyond the damages social media can have on one’s health, these platforms expose kids to explicit and graphic content. According to an online source, 56% of 11 to 16-year-olds have come across explicit material online. Pornographic material, sites promoting crime, terrorism, racism, eating disorders, and suicide can all be found with just one click. “It’s disturbing that this kind of content is out there,” says AISB Counselor Vera Kirsten den Otter. “Unfortunately, there’s not much we’re able to do to prevent this; we can only be aware of how this content might be for them.” Ms. Vera explains that everyone experiences things differently. People

need to check in with themselves and ask what emotions arise when they see certain types of content, or after long periods of time scrolling.

we can’t give it up. I’ve deleted Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat several times, but always come back to it within a few days.

are passionate about, or think is pretty? Or are we sharing for the sole purpose of letting others know what exactly it is we are doing at that moment?

For some people, it can be traumatic and they have physical responses. For others, it might not impact them much. “There’s still a lot of guessing, but early exposure to graphic content can delay sexual behavior, can change relationships, and we can become numb to violence,” says Mrs. Vera.

“Human beings are wired by connection,” AISB Counselor Susannah McGlamery points out. “The improvement of technology and social media has made it abundantly easy to stay connected with people, and sometimes maybe even too connected.”

We pick and choose what to share— the best of the best, a false wall we put up to shield our friends and followers from the often unflattering truth. Yet we forget that others are doing the same thing. We get caught up, compare ourselves, and inevitably ask the question, “Why doesn’t my life look like that?”

This time last year, a video of a man committing suicide was shared on TikTok, a social media app. According to au, the video was hidden in “innocent looking content such as cat videos.” This is how several AISB students were accidentally exposed to the disturbing content. “Right after seeing the video, I became very quiet,” one of the students recalls. “I didn’t talk to my parents, I didn’t come out of my room, I was just quiet. Then I cried a lot and at random times; but I think that’s a very normal response when seeing something like that.”… The students said that reporting the video was a difficult decision to make— mostly because they didn’t want their parents to tell them to get off the app. And I understand. We grew up on social media and don’t know life without it. It’s a toxic relationship; we know it’s bad for us but

McGlamery explains that our brains feed off of the immediate gratification we get from seeing notifications, and that these social media applications tend to prey on our insecurities and create new ones to keep us using their products. “A lot of the social media platforms count on that—they have counted on some of the users’ self-image and self-worth being attached to likes and comments. They’ve deliberately created ways to keep people using their product…in a manipulative way.” A point all counselors made when I spoke to them is that social media has created this “fear of missing out.” We have become so consumed by our phones, by this constant need to share every little thing we’re doing, that we forget why we are really sharing things in the first place. Are we posting because it’s something we like,

And while most of us suffer from this “imposter syndrome,” we also find comfort in communicating and commenting from behind the screen. It feels safe. But it also feels hurtful. Things are often taken out of context. And sometimes we forget the need for face-to-face dialogue. “I wonder if something’s lost,” McGlamery says. “I fear that through the rise of social media, the part of us which knows how to interact on an intimate level in real life will be completely gone in the near future. When we learn to grow and become intimate online, it stunts the way we interact in real life.” By Adi S. Photo Credit: Original image created by Gaby W.

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proud past.

dynamic future. AISB spans over half a century of exceptional learning, beautiful memories, wonderful community events, inspiring teachers, academic excellence, cultural diversity, and so much more. Our faculty, staff, students, and parents keep the past alive while creating new stories to share with our AISB family every day.



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Do you have a story to tell?

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Have you landed your dream job? Are you traveling? Have you reached a personal goal? Are you making waves in improving the world around you? Where has life taken you since AISB? Please message us via Facebook, or send an e-mail to:, and let us know what's new! No matter the story, we want to know! (Remember, our alumni consist of former students, staff, faculty and parents.) We may even feature YOU in the widely read Alumni World Magazine.


196 Pipera Blvd. Voluntari, Ilfov County, 077190 Romania Tel: (40 21) 204-4300



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