After receiving the confirmation that I would be coming to Romania, many of my friends asked me "Why Romania?", with so many countries to chose from why would i go to one that is far from home and that it's so different.
It's still hard for me to explain but at first it was because this project was the one that most interested me. However now I really like to be here, not just for the country but also for the people and culture. In a short week I learned a lot about this town, people and mostly about myself. Anyway I chose this country exactly for the reason my friends asked my why. Because it's far, different in a lot of thing and also the for the fact that I would be able to travel a lot around the Balkans. Since I went on the ERASMUS program in 2012/2013, I got the bug of traveling, for me there is nothing more rewarding than meeting new places, people and cultures.
One might think that Romania is not a good country to live in because of it's social-economic state. It's a poor country with a lot of social problems, like any other place in Europe. One can live the same way and also be happy.
I have to confess that I was a little bit scared about coming here. I'm not perfect so many stereotypes and judgments went by my head and heart before hand. The Romanians have a large gypsy community known as the Roma. I guess most people, and this definitively includes me, think that gypsy's are outside of societies and that they are the ones stealing and killing, basically you tend to associate this types of feeling to minority groups, being Roma or others. The first time I set foot in the Bucharest airport I thought I had gone to a Roma city, it was amazing how everyone looked gypsy to me. After a few days of observation I started to notice that there are big differences in body, language and shape both in people and morals/values/social hierarchies. But from what I could see so far Romanians are very nice people, that are always available to help others, even if there is a language barrier. They go out out of their way to understand and treat you with respect, but expecting the same treatment as well, which is only natural.
I can say that I now consider myself a citizen of the world, instead of just Portuguese.
I believe that I'm an understanding person that will be able to live everywhere.
Romania is a very beautiful country that really reminds me of home. It has the same feeling and the same type of diversity that you find in Portugal. And that makes me feel at ease.
So yeah, all of you that are thinking about doing something like this but believe that don't have the abilities or qualities needed in a volunteer, you can think again. This is an experience that everyone should do, because you'll learn a whole lot about yourself.
More on the way.