Breaking stereotypes during my European volunteer project in Romania

Since I have been in Romania for three months now, I start to have a better conception of its reality. In general terms, my thoughts have been that we have many unfounded prejudices about this country, which are often wrong: people are usually kind, the country is safe and has a fascinating culture. In general terms it can be said that, at the moment, my volunteer experience has been very satisfactory.

Although it is more or less easy to realize that the educational system here has quite serious problems, working as a volunteer at the school is very rewarding and the students – who do not seem very accustomed to changes- value positively our presence here. It depends a lot on each project, but I believe that the experience of living a European volunteer project is worth it because you can meet people and see places that would otherwise be impossible. Above all -and this will look super obvious- because living along period of time in a country has nothing to do with visiting it as tourist, and the knowledge that you get from it seems to me something truly valuable on a personal level. I highly recommend it to everyone and, in fact, I have already told some of my friends that they should try.

Regarding funny anecdotes, I must confess that shortly after arriving they warned me of the extreme cold in winter and that I should prepare myself for that. But I did not. When on a cold January morning I realized that my hair had literally FROZEN waiting for the bus, I began to pay more attention to the infinite wisdom of the locals. They also warned us, because it is written in the contract that we signed on arrival, that we should take care if we go for a walk in the forest. The reason is that it turns out that you can find a bear, since Romania is one of the few European countries that still have a significant number of them in their territory. About a month ago, a man from here told me that he already knew a couple of cases of people who had died at the hands (or rather at the claws) of a bear. However, he also insisted that the local hospital was more dangerous than that, so I’m not sure what to think about it. This is a strange country.

Miguel Arroyo – Participant of a European volunteer project in Romania