Stowarzyszenie Projektów Międzynarodowych „INPRO”

Dominika in Romania

Dominika in Romania

 

Hey, I’m Dominika, a former volunteer of INPRO from Rzeszow. I started my volunteering adventure at the beginning of summer 2020 in INPRO. The first, 2-month project, took place in Rzeszów which helped me prepare for a 9-month adventure in Romania, and it’s this longer project that this post will talk about. It lasted from October 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 and what can I say about Romania and the project itself?

 

The fact that I decided to go there was the best decision I have made so far in my teenage life. Although many people advised me against going there because of the stereotypes they heard about Romania, I wasn’t discouraged because I had support from people who know Romania not from stereotypes but from their own experiences. I lived in the small town of Marasesti in Vrancea, together with many other volunteers from other countries. They were and are fantastic people, who already after a very short time became my close friends. Together we got to know the country, the language and the people above all, who were mostly very friendly. Our duty as volunteers was to organise activities for pupils from local schools. They ranged from pre-school age children to teenagers in their final year of high school.

The biggest surprise in a positive sense was their knowledge of English, a large majority of them, spoke communicative level, so the language barrier was low. Just as they could learn something about our countries and cultures, we learned about Romania. Sharing experiences and talking about traditions for different occasions was a fantastic activity. Although we mostly had online meetings and managed this challenge, there were bigger events for students in which we took an active part. The constant group work helped me evolve on many levels. Romanians themselves mostly claim “that their favourite vegetable is pork” and I was able to find out for myself. A lot of their dishes include this meat and they are really delicious! Super tasty, unique “mici” sausages eaten with mustard delighted me with their flavour. There are also a few dishes similar to our Polish ones, like “sarmale”, which look like stuffed cabbage rolls, but are tiny and contain more meat. They are prepared differently, so the taste is also different, but even though we have a Polish equivalent, I recommend trying it. From cakes, or rather a kind of buns(?), “cozonac” deserves a gold medal. Baked mainly for Christmas and Easter, a delicious yeast dough with cocoa-nut cream inside and sometimes with jellies according to some recipes. I had the opportunity twice to help prepare them overnight, just for those occasions, so I know the recipe and how to prepare them, so they will definitely appear on my Christmas table too. Delicious!

Romania’s landscape is mostly mountains, but they also have access to a beautiful sea, in which I had the opportunity to dip my feet. Bucharest, the capital of this wonderful country, is an amazing place, the breathtaking buildings, vibrant city and plenty of places to see make it one of my favourite places to visit in Romania. Another is Arad, a town near Timisoara, a lovely clean town with a great train station and nice restaurants, lovely place! If I ever get the chance I would love to go back there. I had a wonderful time in Romania, sometimes it was difficult and there were problems, but I was never left alone and I had support from my friends. This project taught me a lot and I changed a lot, I definitely became more open-minded and patient, and I hope this will help me in my life, be it at university or at work. All in all, I am proud of myself and I am glad that I had the opportunity to experience all this.