Letter to a future volunteer – by Maria João Ribeiro

Dear new volunteer of Team for Youth Association,

Probably you just arrived in Baia Mare! That’s why I’m writing you this little ‘welcome letter’. It is true! Just because of you and for you! Because I think you could be having some similar feelings and thoughts as I had when I arrived there and it was the perfect way to introduce this place and to say to you that

You are lucky to be here!

Well… I forgot to say to you who I am! My name is Maria João and I’m from Portugal. I was in Baia Mare in Team for Youth Association during five months since September of 2016 and January of 2017.

I went with Ana from Portugal, but I just met her in the airport before I left my country. I don’t know if you come alone or with someone else but what I know it’s that it doesn’t matter because you will find a lot of volunteers from different countries that will become your family in a few days… and they are there with their arms and hearts open to receive you. Don’t be ashamed for ‘bothering’ them if you need or if you don’t understand something… they are there for it… indeed they are waiting for it!

In my first day I was so tired! I reached Baia Mare by train, from Bucharest, and I travel by night during twelve hours. In the morning, we found Remus waiting for us at the train station who took us to our flats to leave the luggage. I need to be honest: I thought Ana and me would be together in the same flat… but this didn’t happen! We were split and they placed me with 4 more boys!! In the first seconds I was a little scared… but this passed really fast when I realized it doesn’t matter. If we respect everybody as we like to be respected we can live well together. And that’s what I found! Living with them was a constant learning about how to get along and live with people of different cultures, ways of being or ways of looking at the world! Now I remember each one of my former flat mates and I can say that I learned from each of them.

About the language… I know. That was my greatest fear! Sometimes it’s difficult to start speaking or learning a different language… but don’t worry! Nobody will judge you. On the contrary, everybody will help you to improve your language skills! You will see! If now you are not able to speak so well English, just wait a few weeks! You will be PRO!

I was surprised when I got to Baia Mare. I found such exceptional and welcoming people, a great and calm city and breathtaking nature landscapes. So, call to your family and friends and tell them you are at home!

Well, I think I’m expanding too much! But to finish my letter, I just want to give you some advice:

  1. Doesn’t matter how much time you will spend in Romania, try to enjoy this precious time not just to the project activities but to do something more, to learn something that you want to improve, to work on your personal development! Establish your own goals! Who knows, maybe you will discover here what you want to do for your life?
  2. If you have the chance to learn Romanian, take advantage of it! You will see, you will feel much more included in all city life and much closer to local people and with the people which whom you will work!
  3. If you like to travel, start right now to plan your trips! This is a perfect time to know more Romanian cities and why not, other countries near Romania? You will see how many great experiences you will live!
  4. Try to understand as much as you can about the culture and background of your colleagues. For me, this was very important to open my mind to the world!
  5. The love you will put in your activities will be the mark that you will leave in the people! So, open your heart!
  6. Have a lot of fun and don’t forget to pass all that you received to the next one that will come!

I hope you will have a rewarding and rich experience in Baia Mare!

Maria Joao Ribeiro (Portugal) is hosted in Baia Mare by Team for Youth Association, in the “Life Skills for Rural Education” project, an European Voluntary Service, financed by the European Commission, through the Erasmus Plus Program.

61 Dear New Volunteers (2)
Volunteer Team Maria February 1