Her red and white tasseled bracelet symbolizes Laura Gosa’s luck for the upcoming year.
The bracelet is a sign of luck for Mărțișor, a holiday that celebrates the first day of March and signifies the beginning of spring in the Romanian calendar.
Gosa, the president of the Romanian Club at UCLA and a third-year neuroscience student, celebrated Mărțișor about 6,500 miles away from her home country by wearing the bracelet and making a Romanian dinner with friends.
The club hosted a movie screening last week of the film “Child’s Pose,” which won Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear in 2013. The film portrays the close relationship between a Romanian mother and son, aiming to show the importance of family values in Romanian culture.
Gosa’s desire to celebrate Romanian traditions and connect with her home is what drove her to join the Romanian Club at UCLA as a first-year and stay involved throughout her time at UCLA.
“I feel very tied to my roots,” said Gosa, who is an international student. “I am here because of how I was raised in Romania.”
Although the club started three years ago, Gosa said she wants to expand its presence on campus. The club was registered as an official student group last month.
Officers of the Romanian Club said their goal is to promote Romanian culture and connect with the Romanian community outside of UCLA, said Laura Luca, the vice president of the Romanian Club and a first-year political science and economics student.
For Luca, an important part of Romanian culture is the belief in achieving success through hard work. She said she obtained her work ethic and practicality from her family while growing up, and she is proud of her Romanian heritage. Luca said she wants to bring back what she learns at UCLA to Romania and help make her home a better place.
Georgiana Galateanu, a lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature, said the Romanian Club connects American students in her Romanian language, literature and civilization classes with the Romanian community in California.
“We show movies and pictures about Romania in class, but the students actually experience Romanian culture when they meet people from the Romanian community and participate in the events,” Galateanu said.
Adrian Stoica, an active member in the Romanian community and CalTech employee, said he has attended several movie screenings and seminars hosted by the Romanian Club.
“It’s a mutual benefit for both Romanians and non-Romanians when people build a better understanding of our culture,” Stoica said.
Aside from connecting students to the Romanian community, the club’s officers also want to provide a support system for Romanian students that are studying abroad by connecting Romanian students at UCLA and other universities.
Diana Pandelica, the vice president of the Romania Club and a second-year history student, said what she misses the most about her home is the festivities of Romanian tradition.
Pandelica said last year she felt lonely on Orthodox Easter Day when everyone was celebrating Cinco de Mayo on the same day last year. She hopes to get in touch with the Romanian community in California to host events that increase the exposure of the Romanian culture.
The Romanian Club will also be showcasing Romanian culture at the World In-Sight expo Wednesday. It’s booth will have a poster and an interactive game which will allow people to learn more about Romanian culture, as well as traditional Romanian food such as vinete, zacusca and sarmale.