The ESU Loire Valley first came into contact with Oana Bucescu in 2014 when she was a pupil in the Première at the Lycée St. Martin in Angers. She was one of a group of students that member John Barritt helped prepare for our annual national public speaking competition alongside her teacher, Françoise Placé. Oana won the competition and two months later travelled to London to represent France in the International Competition alongside fifty other young people from around the world.
Past alumni of the IPSC have talked to members about their experiences in London, but this was the first time we have heard first-hand what has happened to one of them since leaving school. In 2015, Oana successfully passed the BAC and continued her studies at Angers University. In 2018 she gained a double degree in law and economics, and in September will start the second year studying for her Master’s Degree at Rennes, with the intention of becoming an international business lawyer.
In March this year, the China Daily Newspaper in conjunction with the ESU ran a public speaking competition reserved for the alumni of the IPSC. In order to select a candidate to represent France, our committee asked the five qualifying alumni to describe how the ESU had influenced them and in particular to outline what they had done personally to develop the ethos they had learned in London. Oana’s reply was impressive and persuaded the committee that she was worthy of a trip to China to take part in the competition funded by the China Belt and Road Initiative.
Before lunch at our July meeting, Oana told members that she has taught English to other students, that in the summer of 2018 she was a ‘buddy’ to a group of Chinese students in Angers and that has helped several foreign students in Rennes to come to grips with French bureaucracy.
She then spoke of her visit to China and the new friends she has made from many countries. We saw photographs and a video she had taken in and around the city of Hangzhou where the competition took place. For all its seven million people and many skyscrapers, Hangzhou seemed surprisingly empty. The candidates were taken on a visit to the headquarters of ‘Alibaba’, one of the world's biggest and most valuable companies: the largest retailer and e-commerce company, one of the largest Internet and AI companies, one of the biggest venture capital firms, and one of the biggest investment corporations. The competition organisers had arranged sightseeing visits and a boat trip on West Lake along with opportunities for shopping and for sampling Chinese food.
There were questions put to Oana from all around the table. She took them in her stride, surprising everyone with her professionalism and her grasp of the English language. Questions were still being asked when the entrée was served. To provide everyone with the maximum opportunity to speak to her it was agreed that she would move places at table between each course. Oana demonstrated to everyone that she has been worthy of our support. There is no doubt that this young lady will go far. On behalf of all our members, I wish her every success for the future that lies ahead.