Humans of UD: the Chiriac family

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Photo courtesy of the Chiriac Family

Anybody who has attended the Rome campus after the fall of 2018 could attest to the impact the Services Managers Vasile and Alina Chiriac and their family leave on each student.

Vasile and Alina grew up in Romania, where they would meet before moving to Rome, Italy together. 

“I grew up in Romania with two other sisters,” said Alina. “At this moment, I have only my father; my mother died at the age of 43 due to a serious disease.”

Vasile also grew up in Romania, where he completed military training.

“After finishing the military training in Romania, I met Alina, we got married, and we started in the world for a better life,” said Vasile. 

“After graduating from a car mechanic school, I worked as a mechanic for about 5 years,” Vasile said. “Due to the precarious situation in Romania, I came here to Italy where I continued to work in different fields, in particular in construction.”

Present at nearly every Rome campus event are their two daughters, Andreea and Teodora. Although they are quiet and shy, the girls are always around and quick to smile. 

“Andreea, now 14, came into the world not long after we arrived in Rome,”Vasile said. “She practiced show gymnastics for 6 years, continued with soccer, and is now her first year at the linguistic high school.”

“Teodora, now 10, also followed in show gymnastics before going onto singing lessons,” he continued. 

Vasile and Alina started out at the Rome campus to join a community. 

“I could say that one of my favorite stories started a year and a half ago when I was employed at the University of Dallas,” said Alina. “With each group of students who come to study at Due Santi, I have a special connection and I have special memories.”

“I would say that I involved myself for my family, only that I now have a bigger family,” explained Vasile. “It is said that what you give that you receive, and how much more to join the students when they themselves convey energy and joy.”

The Chiriacs love to spend time with the students. 

When the Mensa, the Rome cafeteria, is closed on long weekends, they hand out breakfast in the Cap Bar and talk with students. They are so attentive that they know if a student has overslept and will often stay past their scheduled time to make sure everyone gets food.

“I don’t know if we have one favorite thing here; anything I do here is enjoyable,” said Vasile on his favorite thing on the Rome campus. “Maybe to take pictures, to offer a cappuccino, a coffee, to help in some way a student, [or] Alina preparing a cake for students.”  

“We have this opportunity to be in their midst, to be of use to any platform that asks for our help,” he continued.

Perhaps the most memorable habit of the couple is their photography. They are never without their camera. They share their joyful view of the world by capturing stunning photos from even the most mundane moments. Last semester, the couple even created a slideshow of photos from the “Greek Olympics” student games at Due Santi.

Vasile sees photography as an opportunity not only to connect to the Due Santi campus, but also to the family’s Orthodox Christian faith. 

“Photography is my favorite hobby. It all started in our church where I wanted to photograph the beauties of Orthodoxy during Mass. From me this passion passed to Alina to show images, emotions, and joys in moments,” explained Vasile.

The two share their gifted eye by posting photos of students to the Rome Facebook pages, a way to keep in touch after leaving Rome. They often post to students’ Facebook walls to send them birthday wishes.

“The saddest part of this campus is when all the students leave, the teachers … in fact, the campus without them does not have the same soul, but it revives with the arrival of each new group that will come to study here in Rome – Due Santi!” said Vasile.

The family looks forward to their time on the Due Santi campus, where they will welcome many more Rome classes with joy.

“This is a story that promises many chapters and semesters that will be unforgettable,” said Alina.

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