Main Content

Personal and Professional Development with IVLP

News and Insights

Alina with Dr. Edward Rhodes, Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

Back

Personal and Professional Development with IVLP

Alina Bobrova

Alina Bobrova serves as the Head of the International Department at Pridnestrovian State University in Chișinău, Moldova. In October and November of 2019, she traveled to the U.S. through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to study higher education in the U.S. The IVLP is an initiative funded by the Department of State Office of International Visitors (OIV) to foster mutual understandings between the U.S. and other countries through professional and cultural international exchanges.

In today’s globalized world, it is very important to share your ideas and learn from the experts of other countries and cultures. Taking part in an exchange program at my high school 12 years ago really opened my eyes and broadened my horizons about the possibilities of higher education systems. I always knew that I would come back to the United States, but I never expected to have the opportunity to do so in my career field. Today, as the Head of the International Relations Department of Pridnestrovian State University, my main goal is to expand our partnership network and develop new contacts. IVLP gave me a chance to not only achieve those goals, but also to answer many of the questions I had regarding the higher education system in the United States.

Throughout the program we visited several universities of both the public and private sectors, met with professional experts, and had interesting discussions at different governmental institutions and non-profit organizations. A big surprise for me was the attitude and hospitality of all the people we had meetings with. They were really open to any questions we had, even with topics I consider not easy to discuss, such as salaries and finances.

The United States is a country with a well-developed higher education system of its own traditions and special features. On the one hand, the systems between the U.S. and Moldova are very different, but on the other hand, we still have a lot in common. For instance, the problems our countries face today are very similar. And it was really interesting to learn how American universities overcome those difficulties. I believe some of the experiences I gained on this trip could be used in my institution to solve some of those same problems.

Personally, it was also a pleasure to learn that my experiences and perspectives could be interesting for our American counterparts as well. I am certain that my American counterparts and I will initiate some new programs and projects for us to collaborate on in the near future.

Personally, it was also a pleasure to learn that my experiences and perspectives could be interesting for our American counterparts as well. I am certain that my American counterparts and I will initiate some new programs and projects for us to collaborate on in the near future.

Although the IVLP primarily focuses on the professional development of its participants, the program also promotes the sharing of cultures and establishing new friendships. For me, the home hospitality event we had with an American family was memorable. We had such a pleasant talk about everyday life, celebrations, and even politics. The friendly atmosphere provided by the family helped make it an enjoyable evening for everyone. I would also like to mention the highly organized nature of the program. There was nothing we had to worry about. All the logistics, timing, accommodation in central parts of the cities, and even the settings of our meeting places – everything was great! Those small details really said a lot about the whole program.

Between all the planned activities and projects, I managed to visit some museums and historical landmarks to better understand the history of the country. I consider these opportunities to be a very important part of the overall experience, because they helped me to regard the United States from a different perspective, to understand how the nation was created, and why it became the country we know today.

Lastly, I would like to share a very significant personal moment I had on the trip. The biggest surprise came as a sort of “homecoming,” when I got the chance to visit the city I lived in 12 years ago during my high school exchange experience. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I had when I found out we would be visiting Muncie, Indiana! As such a small city, I would never have expected to return. And I really appreciate the program leaders giving me a chance to see the house I used to live in. It was probably the most remarkable personal experience.

I returned to Moldova with so many different ideas that I hope to develop with my colleagues at our university. And I’m sure that I will work more closely with American partners and will definitely come back to the U.S. again.