My experience in Romania

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Exactly one year ago I was finishing high school, attending my last exams. At this time, I had a plan to have a gap year before my studies and spend it volunteering abroad. After long research on the European Solidarity Corps website, I finally found what I liked. The Solidarity Journalists project seemed to be very interesting and suited the experience that I wanted to have. This is how I ended up here in Romania, Resita. To be honest, I didn’t care which country I was going to. I had no expectations. I was just very happy to be accepted into a project that I liked.

I could say that my journey started the day when I was accepted. My family supported me with this decision but there were some people around me who had a different point of view. Their main argument was that Romania is not the safest country to stay – that if I want to volunteer abroad, I should go to Western Europe, more “modern” country. However I wanted to prove that everything will be okay and I will have a great experience.

Therefore I started my trip on the 28th of August, 2021. Once the plane landed in Timisoara, I realized that it is finally happening, and I will live in this country for 9 months. On that moment I had some doubts but it was just a fear because of not knowing what is waiting for me.

I almost didn’t speak English before I came here. So in the beginning It was a very hard to express myself. However I met other volunteers, who were very friendly and helped me with my English. They understood my situation very well as they were also foreigners and had the same problem in the beginning. In my opinion, the best part of volunteering is that it gives you a chance to meet people from all over the world. If my calculations are right, I met people from 24 different countries! It was very fulfilling opportunity to get to know them, to learn about their culture, see the difference between me and them. These people became my friends and I would love to keep in touch!

The project itself was super interesting. I learned how to write articles, make videos. All the skills that I gained during my time here I will definitely use in the future. My organization here has a youth center, where all the young people from Resita can come and take part in the activities organized by volunteers. Of course, I was also attending them, and we had a great time together! It gave me the opportunity to meet locals, who became my friends as well.

All in all, I would like to destroy some stereotypes of Romania: – in 9 months I‘ve never felt any danger for my life or well-being ; – not all Romanian people are gypsies. Gypsies can also be very nice people as anyone else. I made a few friends from this community; – Romania is a very beautiful country, with magnificent nature, nice culture. It’s not everything about Dracula’s Castle! I made plenty of good memories in here, which will stay with me forever. I will definitely come back one day, so see you soon Romania!

Author: Emilija Lideikytė

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