Bucharest, Romania’s capital and largest city, is alluring. Although grey in color (#hattip communism), the city’s attitude is far from dreary. People here love to live their lives vibrantly and fully, and as a volunteer here, you’ll experience this first hand. Although some are thriving in the current economic boom, not everyone in Bucharest is doing so well. There are still many orphans, and extra hands are needed to carry the country through the crisis. Volunteer in Bucharest if you really want to make a difference while eating tons of garlic (to avoid vampires, of course!).
What you need to know about volunteering in Bucharest
Bucharest is relatively new to being what may be considered to the average American. The Internet was first used in 1992 and the country only really starting modernizing after the year 2000. This is due to the complicated history of Romania, and as a result, throws out a lot of causes you can get involved with.
Popular causes in Bucharest. Despite improvements in Romania, orphans are still present and that is why volunteering in a Romanian orphanage is becoming increasingly popular. Volunteering in one of Bucharest's orphanages enables volunteers to help the community and to learn about the current and past crises of Romania.
If the thought of being a volunteer in an orphanage is too heart wrenching for you, gaining your TEFL certification while teaching English is another option. You’d be helping out local schools in Bucharest and gaining experience for your future as you do so!
Short term volunteer programs. As a short term volunteer — anywhere from one week to one month — you’ll be able to aid the local communities without having to take too much time off from work or school. It won’t matter if you can’t for the long term; each project will be grateful of help from all. The major con of this option is the limited time you’ll have to build a relationship with your colleagues.
Long term volunteer programs. Staying in Bucharest for a long term volunteer program will enable you to live as a local rather than a visitor. You’ll be able to take advantage of (usually) free language lessons provided and will learn about how the programs runs in detail. Although these programs are usually low cost, or even free, you’ll still have to financially support yourself, therefore you should only choose these long term programs if you’re fully capable.
Life in Bucharest, Romania for International Volunteers
Costs in Bucharest are generally quite low in comparison to neighboring European cities. The transportation links are reliable (you can even rent a bike for a healthier and cheaper option) and the crime rate is low. As an international volunteer, you’ll be able to meet likeminded people, socialize, volunteer and enjoy the experience together.
If you like exploring, there are many hidden gems to be found in Bucharest. These range from not-so-hidden (but still amazing) gems, like the parks (who doesn’t love an ice cream on the grass?) to secluded rooftop bars. Find them and you’ll get the best prize ever - cheap beer!
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for Volunteers in Bucharest
Wear lots of turtle necks to keep the vampires at bay! ;-) However, if these creatures fascinate you, be sure to check out some of the vampire tours on offer in Bucharest. Scared of vampires? No problem, speak to the expats and locals about the latest hotspots. Whether you’re into rock, electro, dance, djs, live music (the list could go on forever), there’s something for everyone. *Grabs dancing shoes*.
As with any volunteer project, don’t live with your heart on your sleeve. It’s a sad fact that you may see things are are upsetting or that you’ve never encountered before. Be caring with all the tasks you carry out, but try to not get too attached to the situation.
Volunteering in Bucharest will allow you to see what this lesser traveled city and its people are truly like. Not for the fainthearted, but truly rewarding.
If you feel that this is you, check out our full comprehensive guide on volunteering in Bucharest.