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Dear Bogdan:

I think I can relate to what stands behind your letter. I am from Russia, where for most of my life I wanted to be a structural engineer, studied in university to become a structural engineer, went to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in structural engineering, and worked as a research and design structural engineer.

Nowadays, most of the people whom I went to school and worked with (great engineers, by the way) had "converted" to become brokers, bankers, used shoe salesmen - anything but engineers. The economy is in ruins, and construction is all but dead (except for the Potemkin's village of Moscow). And it looks like we hadn't seen the worst of it.

I can feel that you love Romania dearly. But what if your (mine) beloved country does not need you? Or hates you? Or pushes you out? You have to move on. The world is a large place - somewhere there is a town where they ARE looking for Bogdan, the structural engineer. Your educational and professional background give you a great advantage before many. You own fate is a matter of courage, risk-taking, and a little bit of luck. And it is almost never too late.

I was extremely lucky to be able to come to, and to live, the United States. Every day - for 10 years now - I thank this Country not only for being so gracious, beautiful, and tolerant, but also for a wonderful opportunity to be what I love to be the most - a STRUCTURAL ENGINEER.

Me and my family had to leave Russia with two suitcases per person. In 10 years, we struggled through pretty steep ups and downs (who didn't?). I had to take the EIT test when I was 37; and then the PE exams; and then "THE" SE test. I was unbelievably lucky (again) to pass it all. I am my own boss, and I am very busy doing structural engineering (and it pays all right, too). And it is not only me - I know people who started from scratch here at 55, and are doing quite well. "Only in America..."

Finally, one more thing. In general, I do not like the FORM in which Mr. Bill Polhemus words his notes. However, in most cases, Mr. Bill Polhemus' remarks are SUBSTANTIALLY accurate and right to the point. As a real conservative (which, I assume, he is) Mr. Bill Polhemus, without useless and humiliating pitifulness, had given you, Bogdan, a very good advice. Why don't you try to move to the US? Structural Engineers are in high demand here (so far). And I know a lot of people who did not have to go through the horrors of our (my) immigration. They just won the "Green Card Lottery." Try it.

Good luck.

Vyacheslav "Steve" Gordin. Ph.D
Registered Structural Engineer,
California, USA

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