A Tunisian volunteering in Romania – Youssef

The 17th of October 2014 is the day my volunteering experience began. I had many expectations and a few concerns – this is how I felt about coming to a totally new country.

Unfortunately, I started my EVS with some troublesome incidents. Being a citizen of Tunisia I was requested to apply for VISA and because of the slow bureaucracy, I arrived two weeks later than anyone else with a broken leg as I had an accident 2 days before coming to Romania. As if it was not enough, the airline company lost my luggage! I had to spend 21 days without my belongings. I felt quite embarrassed when I went for the On-Arrival Training in Predeal due to my health condition and my missing clothes but the good atmosphere and the understanding people helped me a lot in enjoying the moments and interacting with the locals or the other foreign volunteers.

Concerning the accommodation, I live with two nice and helpful girls from Germany, Saffron and Daria. They were the first volunteers I have met. I also share the flat with Gunseli, the typical Turkish girl that I love so much. My roommate is a funny Spanish guy named Enrique, I really like him and I feel comfortable with him. I think that he is the kind of roommate that everybody wants to have. After a bad day, nothing is better than talking to Enrique and listening to his funny stories (jajajajjaja). We share one kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and one living room, we have our cleaning schedule and also some rules in the house and we respect the ones given by the association. We understand each other, we laugh, we argue and we have good and bad days like any normal happy family.

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Regarding the other volunteers, they are certainly special. I had the chance, for the first time in my life, to meet people from Kenya or New Caledonia, which is something really amazing for me. I can only say that I feel so delighted when I see them. They are a source of inspiration and a motivation for me to keep doing my best and working on my projects in an innovative way. Even just by seeing one of them preparing for the next activity so enthusiastically, I start to tell myself that I should do more!

[quote]We also go out together, we party, we travel, we share ideas, things about our countries, traditions or music. The most enjoyable time is when we are all together speaking everything and nothing.[/quote]

My EVS project in Romania is called ”Rural – Urban”, in which I have to prepare entertaining activities for kindergarten kids from Baia Mare and Firiza.  In addition to this, I coordinate an English club in a high school from Negresti where I help students improve their communication skills by non-formal means such as games or team-building activities, in order to provide them with a friendly – learning environment. Furthermore, I teach English to Vladuț, an eleven-year old boy who has been working with volunteers for 4 years. His English is perfect, although I would like to make some progress together and to improve his handwriting, as his mother asked.

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Concerning my hosting organisation, honestly, I feel lucky to be a volunteer of T4UTH. Our cooperation is better with time and we have a good level of communication. If we have problems, we try to solve them smoothly by meetings or small talks. I think they work hard to provide us with logistic help (as well as with the moral one).They are people that you can really learn things from, especially when it comes to their organisation and seriousness level.

Finally, I want to share my feelings and my life so far in Romania. It has been 3 months while I have been interacting with people, travelling a lot, meeting new kinds of people, visiting new places, which was a source of knowledge and inspiration for me.

[quote]As a volunteer, when I came in Romania, I didn’t know that Romanian people are that simple and helpful.[/quote]

Honestly, most of the time I feel like I am home. For example, that guy who helped me reaching Kindergarten 25 with his GPS in a rainy day, or that young lady that hurried to look for a bus for me, or that typical old woman from Maramureș, with that special natural way of making all the passengers in the bus laugh with her Romanian funny jokes. The list is long with this kind of stories that I have in my memory from cities like Predeal, Bucharest, Arad, Brașov or Cluj Napoca. As I said these all are special people in special places.

In the end, I would like to thank all the people who made my integration in the land of Dracula easier.  I am glad to be here! I still have time to make more memories, which is why I will enjoy every moment here in Romania. As a famous saying states: ”Every day is an adventure, we know how it will start, but we have no idea how it will end!”

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Youssef is our EVS Volunteer hosted through the Erasmus+ Programme in the project “Carnaval Plus, Activity 2 – Rural Urban”. He comes all the way from the sunny Tunisia and although his adjustment period has been long and at times hard, he is now in the middle of his project. He calls himself ”part local” and he is learning Romanian language hoping that he can one day make a future in Baia Mare.