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World Mag > WM Spring 2017 edition > Interview with Andrei Harnagea

Interview with Andrei Harnagea

AISB Alumnus, Class of 2007
Andrei Harnagea
Andrei Harnagea

WM: Tell us a bit about yourself.

AH: I was born and raised in Bucharest and attended AISB starting with 6th grade. I attended AISB, like most kids, because of my parents’ wish for me to get the best education available. I can’t say it was much of a choice for me back then, it was their initiative, and I appreciate the courage and risk they took to this very day. At the moment, I work for Oracle as part of a small multimedia team that produces videos, infographics, animations and other interactive media.

WM: Why did you choose to pursue your University studies in the US?

AH: I knew early on I wanted to go to the US. I wanted to go as far away from home as possible. I had this feeling that I just wanted to break away from everything and start a new life. New people, new friends. It’s a feeling that has, in many ways, returned throughout my life.

WM: Why did you choose the university you went to? Was there someone or something that in uenced your decision?

AH: This is actually something I think about every few months. The short answer is yes, there were two people who in uenced this decision heavily and without whom I would have probably ended up somewhere else.

I was fortunate to have been accepted to all the colleges I applied to. I initially wanted to choose between Parsons, School of Visual Arts in New York or RIT.

The first key person who helped my decision was Vlad Paunescu, the owner of Castel Film, and the second was Zoran Perisic, an old friend of Vlad’s with a long career in Film and Special E ects. Even though I never met Zoran to this very day, he was the one who told me to go to CCA in San Francisco. And I took his advice. Blindly.

I wrote to Zoran a couple of years ago to thank him and tell him how I was doing. I was quite frank with him, told him how we maybe conversed two or three times through e-mail and we never met. But he changed my life. He chose this path for me and for that I will always be grateful.


WM: What did you major in? Was that what you initially intended to do?

AH: I got my BFA in Animation which is in fact what I wanted to do from the very beginning.

WM: What was your experience in the US like overall and why did you decide to come back to Romania?

AH: I had a very romanticized image of the US before going there. The first 6 months were hard. Very hard. Nothing was familiar and it felt like you had to re-learn how to live life. The rules completely changed. Everything changed.

I came back to Romania after getting the chance to work for the European Space Agency and the Rosetta Mission. I sort of fell in love with Europe again. I wanted something different. I felt like starting over.

WM: What are some aspects you liked about the US and what did you find challenging?

AH: The thing I miss most about the US, hands down, are the people. They were the most open, creative and driven group of individuals I ever got to work with. People who did things out of pure passion, not for money or for fame, but just because they loved what they do. I miss that every day.

I can’t say that many things come to mind in terms of bad experiences. The crime in some parts of the US is actually pretty bad. Armed robberies were quite an ordinary thing around our campuses.

WM: How did your experience there a ect the way you see things now?

AH: I could probably go on for hours talking about this. To be as brief as I can... my experience in the US made me more aware, more patient, better at spotting trends... at understanding people. The more you travel and the more unique memories you get to experience, the more you will discover, about the world and about yourself.

WM: How has your university helped you in your career? Was it easy?

AH: Yes and no. If you think that by just having a degree and attending a good university you will get a good job or you’ll be put on a path to a career directly then you’re probably as naïve as I was at the beginning. And that’s okay, you’re still young. Reality however, is much harsher and much more competitive.

One thing University will prepare you with is how to teach yourself anything. That is the most useful skill you can have. College gave me a foundation, but what you build on top of that foundation is totally up to you. 

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Spring 2017 edition here.


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