Peace Corps programming in Romania began in 1991, when 18 trainees arrived to initiate an orphanage project. Peace Corps/Romania has four program sectors: community economic development; environmental management and education; institutional development; and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). On June 29, 2011, it was announced that Peace Corps/Romania will be phased out and the last group of volunteers will complete their service in July, 2013.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Romania
After the 1989 revolution in Romania (cynically referred to as "the events of December 1989" by some Romanians), U.S. economic assistance to the country focused on aiding Romanian street children and children who had been institutionalized during the Nicolae Ceausescu regime. Peace Corps programming began in 1991, when 18 trainees arrived to initiate an orphanage project. Peace Corps/Romania now has four program sectors: community economic development; environmental management and education; institutional development; and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Romania
Peace Corps Romania no longer places volunteers with host families after swearing in, unless the volunteer requests it. This change has occurred beginning with Group 25 in May 2008.
Your host organization will identify housing for you that meets Peace Corps standards for safety, privacy, a healthy environment, and proximity to shopping and work. The Peace Corps asks host organizations to provide housing, but contributes part of or even the entire rental cost, if necessary. The populations of towns and cities where Volunteers live range from 1,000 to 300,000, and the type and availability of housing varies accordingly. Volunteers serve throughout Romania except in Bucharest, and there are regional differences in housing as well. The most common accommodation is a small, one-room apartment in a large building.
In rural communities, there are often only single-floor houses and privacy can become a difficult matter. If assigned to a rural community, you may need to live with a host family for the entire two years of your service.
In the winter, you may lack central heating, hot water, and perhaps cooking gas, which are controlled by the government. Electricity is usually reliable. The availability of hot water depends upon the town in which you live. Many towns have hot water every other day for two to three hours. The Peace Corps supplies electric space heaters to Volunteers who need them.
If you choose to move into your own housing, Peace Corps must ensure that it meets our housing criteria. This includes safety, private space, healthy environment, proximity to shopping and work, basic furniture with cooking space, and a private bathroom.
Main article: Training in Romania
The Peace Corps provides 11 weeks of training that begins immediately upon your arrival in Romania. The schedule is Monday to Friday. Pre-service training contains five major components: technical training, language training, cross-cultural training, health training, and safety and security training. Training is a time for you to reexamine your commitment to becoming a Volunteer in Romania and a time for Peace Corps staff to get to know you and be assured that your skills and attitude are a good match for the program in Romania. Throughout the training period, self-assessment as well as assessment by Peace Corps staff will measure your progress toward meeting training objectives.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Romania
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Romania maintains a clinic with two full-time medical contractors, a part-time assistant, and an office assistant to take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Romania at local, American-standard clinics and hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Romania
In Romania, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Romania.
Outside of Romania’s capital and other large cities, people have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Romania are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Romania, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
- Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Romania
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Romania?
- What is the electric current in Romania?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Romanian friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Romania?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing List for Romania
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Romania and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Romania if you look long enough to find it.
When choosing luggage, remember that you will be hauling it in and out of taxis and trains and often lugging it around on foot. It should be durable, flexible, lightweight, and easy to carry. Duffel bags and sturdy backpacks are good choices.
Do not bring anything that is so valuable or precious that you would be heartbroken to lose it.
- General Clothing
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Romania fought on both sides in WWII. She declared war on the Soviet Union in June, 1941 and after a coup in August 1944 switched sides.
Dracula, as we know him from Bram Stoker and Hollywood, was not the first reference to vampires in Western literature. This honor belongs to The Vampyre, written in 1819.
Vlad Tepes, the nominal inspiration for Stoker's character was born in Sighisoara and probably never even visited "Dracula's Castle" in Bran. His true historic castle is Cetatea Poenari, 1480 steps up a mountainside north of Curtea de Arges.
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Romania Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Romania. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Romania
- Inspector General Reports
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- List of resources for Romania