Meet the Staff: David Saveanu
David Saveanu is a second-year English major at Parkland. He plans on transferring to the University of Illinois to complete his degree. He is also a writer for the Prospectus.
Saveanu says his interest in English did not begin until late into his high school career.
“In high school I was like a pretty bad kid and I thought that school wasn’t for me,” he said. “I never really felt like it was a place where I could belong. So I just always saw myself working with my hands or doing something that has nothing to do with academia. But my senior year of high school I met someone who took the time to understand me, as opposed to putting me in a box; we started dating soon after. She taught me that I was capable of more, and that if I applied myself I would get more out of school; it was because of her that I wanted to teach, and be able to do the same thing for other struggling kids.”
He wanted to use his major, alongside a secondary education minor, to teach at the high school level.
However, Saveanu says as he works at the Prospectus he is finding himself thinking more about having a career in journalism.
“[News writing] feels a little more selfish—but exciting. And [teaching] feels more fulfilling. So, I don’t know,” he said.
In the end Saveanu is unsure which he will pursue and possibly plans on doing both in his life.
Saveanu plans to spend in life in the United States, but did not begin it here.
“I was born in Romania,” Saveanu said. “I came to the United States when I was nine through the visa lottery. I literally won the life I have now, otherwise immigrating would’ve been very tough. We were actually supposed to move to Canada, but once we won our green cards to the U.S., we decided that we had move there instead.”
“When we first moved to the U.S., I lived in Detroit for a month and then I moved to Chicago… We moved around a lot but we were in Chicago for most of my childhood…and then I came [to Champaign] for school.”
Saveanu remembers his parents moving from one neighborhood to the next, progressively moving the family to nicer and nicer areas.
“Because my parents were constantly switching jobs and trying to make a better situation at home we were constantly moving and upgrading the area we were from,” he said. “We started in Rogers Park, which right now is getting better, but at the time it was the worst neighborhood in Chicago.”
One neighborhood Saveanu particularly remembers is a Polish neighborhood his family moved to where his parents struggled with yet another language barrier.
“There, my parents couldn’t find work because they were starting to speak English but all the jobs in that area were Polish-speaking,” he said. “And then we got a car which gave us more freedom to move other places. Then after a couple more places we ended up in the suburbs, which was nice, and that’s where I went to high school.”
While Saveanu speaks English fluently now, with a pronounced Chicago accent, his home language is a mixture of Romanian and Hungarian.
“I speak Romanian. My first language is actually Hungarian, because I’m from a primarily Hungarian-speaking area…At home we still speak Romanian and Hungarian. We go back and forth so it’s like a ‘Spanglish’ but for Romanian and Hungarian,” Saveanu said.
Saveanu remembers the transition into American society with humor. He spoke no English when his family moved.
“It was a lot of embarrassing and funny stories of learning English,” he said. “After we moved from Detroit…and we moved to Chicago…At the airport there was a Popeye’s. We went in there and we didn’t understand how fast food worked cause there’s not really a lot of places where we were from.”
“So my dad walks in and he’s like, ‘I will have two Popeye’s.’”
The workers at the restaurant tried to explain that there were numbers and that a Popeye was not a menu item, but Saveanu says his family did not understand and continued asking for a Popeye.
“Everybody looked at us like we were nuts and we kept on protesting, [saying] ‘No, we want two Popeye’s.’”