the value of international education

Concordia University Ann Arbor is excited to celebrate International Education Week during November 15-19, 2021.

International Education Week 2021

International Education Week is an initiative that both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education organize in order to highlight the benefits of international education. International education provides students with many benefits. This effort focuses on preparing U.S. students for a global environment and welcoming future leaders from abroad.

Dr. Mihaela Zegrean

International Education Mihaela ZegreanConcordia University Ann Arbor professor Dr. Mihaela Zegrean values international education. She shares about her experience and why it’s important to her below.

Note: Dr. Zegrean’s responses are typed in italics. 

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in southeastern Europe, in a Romanian town called Timisoara, otherwise known as the “City of Flowers”. At the age of 13, I immigrated to Canada with my mother.

Building off of the excellent, yet stringent public system education I received in Romania, I have completed part of my post-secondary education in Canada and part of it in the United States.

I obtained my Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing (2004) and Masters of Sciences in Nursing (2007) at University of Windsor. After that, I completed a second Master in Nursing degree and acute care nurse practitioner program at Wayne State University (2010) and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (2015) at Maryville University in Missouri. Most recently, in September 2021, I graduated from the primary care nurse practitioner program at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada.

My scholarly endeavors continue. I’m currently learning how to perform obstetrics ultrasound at the pregnancy clinic where I volunteer as a nurse practitioner and clinical director. I have a very curious mind and there is nothing like solving a good mystery Healthcare is full of mysteries to be solved.

My hobbies include roller blading, badminton, puzzles, learning different languages, and dabbling in all kinds of artistic realms, such as needle-point sewing, knitting, weaving, spray painting, interior design, and gardening.

For the past two years, I have enjoyed rolling out my yoga mat on a daily basis and doing Pilates. I find this type of exercise to be very relaxing. It teaches me to slow down.

Could you tell us about your home country and your culture?

Romania is a country with a rich cultural heritage. Romanian culture was made famous by the Dracula novel based on the story of Vlad the Impaler, who ruled Transylvania (a region of Romania) in the 1400s. Some of my nursing students had the opportunity to visit Dracula’s castle in 2019. However, the culture of Romania has been shaped for almost 2000 years since the Roman Empire conquered the land where Romania is situated.

Over the centuries, Romania was conquered by various nations such as the Greek (Byzantine Empire), Turks (Ottoman Empire), Hungarians (the Hun empire), Germans (Habsburg Empire), and Russians (Soviet Empire during World War II). Despite its tumultuous past of oppression, Romanians are fairly hospitable, animated and opinionated.

My environment in Romania (post communism/1989) was one of colorful clothes and traditional recipes. At holiday celebrations, the women dressed in traditional long dresses and skirts with vibrant patterns and hues. Romanian cuisine includes many recipes with meat, but since I mainly have “sweet teeth”, I thank God everyday for the creation of my absolute favorite Romanian dessert, “foi cu miere”, a sweet cake layered with honey and heaven.


What is your role at Concordia? What drew you here?

I have been working at Concordia University since 2017 as a nursing professor. I had been working in hospitals for a long time, and having enjoyed mentoring nurse practitioner students, I decided I wanted to experience working in academia.

Initially, I was attracted to Concordia’s warm and social environment. I felt that Concordia University was a place where I could thrive and implement my creativity. Cindy Fenske, my direct supervisor, would say “if you could do anything you wanted to make a change in the School of Nursing, what would you do?” There are few working places in this world where barriers are removed so your professional dreams can come to life. Concordia is one of them. We are forward thinkers and we are given the ability to implement our creativity in a collegial environment.


What do you love about international education?

The experience of international education is priceless. Having the opportunity to study in a different culture definitely opens your eyes to the realities of other people. It shapes how you think and who you are. In a smaller classroom environment, such as Concordia’s, where professors know the students well, the professor also has the opportunity to be a student and to learn about the student’s culture.

The experience of international education is priceless. Having the opportunity to study in a different culture definitely opens your eyes to the realities of other people. It shapes how you think and who you are.


How can students help their international classmates feel welcome?

International students want to feel welcome and accepted. Their classmates should invite them to join their study group, go on outings together to familiarize themselves with the local culture, and try to understand their culture.


CUAA nursing students in Romania (2019)

Why should students consider studying abroad?

Studying abroad for many individuals is the opportunity of a lifetime. It makes the student more mature, considerate, patient, and understanding of others – more Christ-like, and less focused on one’s own problems. Living on their own in a different country leads to greater resilience and adaptability, which are skills highly desired by employers. And who knows, for some, studying abroad can lead to forming strong friendships or finding their soulmate. Studying abroad is an adventure worth embarking on.


Do you want to know more?

If you’re interested in learning more about Concordia University Ann Arbor’s international education opportunities, visit us here.


— Vanessa Lane is the Content Marketing Lead at Concordia University and can be reached at When she's not at work, she can be found playing with her kids or watching NBA basketball with her husband.

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