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.
With so many options to choose from, Projects Abroad is the place to look when choosing your volunteer program or international internship in Romania. They also have specially-built projects for high school volunteers. The projects offered cover a range of interests whether you’re creative, analytical, or simply looking to get actively involved and make a difference.
Volunteer with children in Brasov: Many kindergartens and care centers in Romania are overcrowded and the teachers are unable to divide their attention equally between their students. You can become a source of support for teachers and caregivers by helping the children who are struggling. You’ll also teach English, a critical skill that opens doors for further education and better job opportunities.
Uncover archaeological ruins in Alba Iulia: Be a part of a team that unearths the mysteries of the Roman Empire. You’ll get hands-on with excavation work while digging up ancient artefacts. Your work plays an important role in the preservation of this era and restoration sites.
Some of their other projects in Romania include:
- Medical and Physical Therapy internships
- Teach English in Romania
- Journalism internship
- Work with animals in Veterinary Medicine or Animal Care
International Volunteer HQ
When you sign up to volunteer with International Volunteer HQ or IVHQ, you have the chance to contribute to a diverse group of meaningful projects in Romania. IVHQ projects have start dates year-round, and all programs are based in the town of Miercurea Ciuc. If you’re brand-new to Romanian culture, you can also sign up for a weeklong cultural and language orientation before your volunteer project starts.
Projects available for volunteering in Romania with IVHQ include a childcare program, where you will help with the more than 80,000 kids who are in state care in Romania. In this program, you will do everything from helping to reinforce English lessons to providing attention and playing games. You can also sign up for the special needs care program in Romania, which affords you the chance to work with people of all ages who have mental or physical disabilities. Other volunteer programs in Romania through IVHQ include animal care, agriculture, and NGO support.
Ready to Travel?
The people of Romania are proud and persistent, and they can use your help to continue on their path of growth. Whether you have a way with words or are studying medicine, there is a way for you to contribute to the volunteer efforts in Romania. Get in touch with one of these seasons programs today, and before you know it you will be packing your bags for the volunteer trip of a lifetime.
Lara V. · Guest Writer
Lara V. is a guest writer for Volunteer Forever.