Many people know Romania for its gymnasts, ballet, and other artistic contributions to the world – but few are aware of its complicated and rich history. The country has been through a great deal of political turmoil and seen a redemptive arc over the last few decades. Since the fall of communism in this Eastern European nation, the sovereign state has entered into new partnerships with other countries – but the remnants of turmoil remain in some towns and cities.
As a volunteer, you can contribute to the continued strides of Romania by offering services in English teaching, childcare, agricultural and animal support, and a variety of other aid initiatives. If you’re considering Europe as a place to lend your volunteer skills, here are some things to know about volunteering in Romania. We’ve also highlighted two organizations that can be trusted to connect you with a volunteer project that matches your skillset.
Know Before You Go
After a Revolution in 1989, Romania began a journey toward democracy and capitalism. It has been a member of NATO since 2004 and officially joined the EU in 2007. Despite these new relationships that strengthen its position in the region, Romania remains one of the poorest countries in the EU. It does have a growth rate of 5%, which shows the country’s promise.
Because it’s still a country on the rise, Romania can use a lot of help from international volunteers. As Romania continues to integrate with the EU and grow its economy, services like teaching and NGO support are particularly useful. Many rural areas also need medical help ranging from basic care to massage and physical therapy.
During your time volunteering in Romania, you can expect to work with a population that is primarily ethnically Romanian and Eastern Orthodox Christian. The country is secular and has no official religion. The official language is Romanian, but other minority religions that are officially recognized include Greek, Serbian, Hungarian, and Polish. Romanians value a variety of art forms, and you’re likely to have the chance to engage with music, art, and dance during your time in the country.
Romania has four distinct seasons. Given its distance from the sea, it has a continental climate that is not unlike what you could expect from a state like Illinois or Kansas. In the winter months, the average temperature is around 33 degrees, and in the summer the average temperature is about 80 degrees. If you’re in the west you may enjoy a bit more temperate conditions, but be prepared with appropriate clothing depending on which season you visit.