Colourful Experiences in Romania! – Johanna Gross

colourful-experiences-romania-johanna-gross (3)I remember the first day in Romania still quite good. I was travelling from Budapest to Baia Mare with the Bus; it took me seven hours, which gave me some time to watch the landscape. What I noticed were huge hills of watermelons that were sold on the streets, the villages, different from the villages I know, with the houses lined up on the street and the small fields right in the back.

My seat neighbor in the bus was one of the “talk only for the purpose of talking” kind and therefore I was pretty exhausted when I arrived in the town that I would call my home for the next eight months.

Baia Mare is not the biggest and in some areas it is also not the nicest town. The first expressions I had were ugly socialistic buildings everywhere, second hand shops at every corner and a lot of cable salad over the streets. It took a while until I discovered the beauty of this town: the old center, the parks, and those amazing green hills surrounding the city. The dark forests are amazing. On a hiking tour we discovered them a bit. We saw an owl, had some trouble with a pack of street dogs and finally found a wonderful glade in the middle of the mountains where we had a picnic. Surprisingly we even found our way back home.

The office of my Association is located in the old center and it is really nice, with a small garden and a very open architecture.  We are ten Volunteers in my project and even more from other projects so there is always someone around. Some of us live together in a house and some live in apartments, so do I, together with four other Volunteers. Living together with some complete strangers in a small area is sometimes challenging, especially when there are language barriers or different cultural backgrounds. But that is what the EVS is about- to learn how to overcome these barriers.

Back in Germany I was often asked what exactly I will do here- to be honest, I didn’t really know since I came here. We are supposed to do some kind of a carnival that has something to do with non-formal education, whatever non-formal education is, that was all I knew. Now I know a bit better and I found out, that I am myself getting most out of this experience. The EVS is mainly for us. What we give to the community here in Baia Mare is a very small tribute, but what we gain is huge. In this two months I have already learned so much and I guess I have also changed in some ways, due to experiences I would never have had staying home in Germany. The trip that Ewelina wrote about, the Model United Nations Conference that we were able to attend, the training camps in Predeal and Firiza and some smaller adventures gave me a lot. They balance out challenging and difficult moments that also exist. I am looking forward to six more challenging but hopefully beautiful and unforgettable months.

Johanna Gross

colourful-experiences-romania-johanna-gross (1)