Was born in 1972 and raised in Craiova, a small industrial town in SW Romania. She grew up in communist Romania with her family, living the hardships of the system: no heat, no electricity, queueing for hours for groceries with her younger sister.
Hope came in 1982 when a British tourist, Benjamin McKay, took her photo in a mountain resort where her family was vacationing.
Understanding the hardships of the communist regime, Ben decided to help Claudia’s family by sending chocolates, chewing gum and later clothes and food. He marked Claudia’s life forever.
“I have to learn English to thank this guy who keeps blessing us,” Claudia recalls. In order to write to him, she learned English on her own from the few English books she could get her hands on. And that’s how she discovered her passion for English and later for French, Spanish, and Italian.
This love of languages propelled her on an ascending professional trajectory, and in 1996 she was hired straight after graduation as a teaching assistant at the University of Craiova.
In 1999, she immigrated to Canada in search of a professional world that would allow her to grow, to be who she was and accomplish the things she dreamt of.
In 2000 she started her Master’s degree in Communication Studies at McGill University while working fulltime as an international project coordinator at the Center for International Management Studies at the same university. The Canadian International Development Agency, the World Bank, UNESCO, universities worldwide made up her professional space.
Yet…2006 was another milestone for Claudia. Rather than pursuing an obvious international career with the UN, she returned to her home country with the desire to make a difference.
After a couple of years in the corporate world, Claudia went back to Craiova, her hometown. Her passion for education and desire to better the lives of children led her to start the Close to YOUth NGO in 2009.
Two years later, the entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and Fly High, the largest language center in Craiova, started to help hundreds of children learn English in an innovative, joyful, and relevant way.