Volunteering stories: The cold & warm heart of Romania – by Mattea

Salut! My name is Mattea and I’m from Italy, I live in a small town in the coast of Sicily. I’m 24 years old and I’m an educator and into pedagogy.

After my master graduation I decided to start a new adventure somewhere in Europe and while I was looking at different volunteering projects, the PLAY project captured my attention, so I applied for it and I was contacted by Team for Youth Association.

I knew very few things about Romania and nothing about Maramureș  region, so it was like a blind date, where you don’t really know what to expect, but in the end you get surprised. Romania was like this to me, I had a cultural shock at the beginning, the weather, the places, the language, everything was totally different from my place and my culture. But a challenge is a challenge and after two months I can say that I consider this place like home, the people I’ve met helped making it warmer and welcoming, while sharing food, stories, adventures. It’s always so good to have some people you can rely on when you’re in a foreign country.

I’m discovering such a beautiful country that has a lot to offer, like good food, amazing landscaped and tons of snow (I will never get totally used to it).

Talking about the project itself, I have a lot of things to say, it’s very hard to describe how challenging and fulfilling it can be at the same time.

It’s never easy to get used to the life conditions the kids live in, but we try our best to make every activity funny and helpful, with learning goals. The language barrier has been one of the most difficult things, but I’ve learnt that the voice is just one of hundreds methods of communication, the kids will always find different and alternative ways of connect with people.

When I think about the upcoming months, I hope they’ll still be challenging and full of experiences, maybe hotter and sunnier, I hope.

I truly recommend the European Solidarity Corps to anyone who wants to start a new adventure somewhere in the world and wants to get out their comfort-zone.

Ne vedem,


The volunteer is hosted by Team for Youth Association in PLAY project, a European Solidarity Corps initiative in Baia Mare. The project is funded by the EU through the European Commision. The content of this testimonial does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. The responsibility for the information and views expressed in the article rests entirely with the author.