How to Be a GREAT Volunteer in Romania
Marian, the Volunteer Coordinator from our orphanage project in Romania, visited our office and took some time to speak with us today. Marian grew up in the orphanage and now works with volunteers to teach them about Romania and ensure a fulfilling volunteer experience. Here are his best tips on being a great volunteer during your time in Romania.
1) Go for the smiles.
“Really, volunteers don’t understand how powerful showing some affection can be for our kids. You shouldn’t have the mentality that you will change the world in two weeks, however making the kids smile can mean so much. It gives hope, it reminds them that people care. These kids already have friends and aren’t impressed by material possessions. The affection makes all the difference.”
2) Ask questions and be open to learn.
“I love when people ask questions. We are very hospitable in Romania and all we want to do is to help people out. Whether it’s about culture or about anything you need while at your project, we’re open to it. Sometimes people are scared, but that’s what we’re here for.”
3) Give your best everyday.
“I really remember people who really put themselves into their experience. Whether it’s organizing a movie night with the kids, working hard to learn Romanian, or trying to immerse in the culture as much is possible – that will make the difference.”
4) Be flexible.
“Our cultures can be different and you can’t have all of your expectations met. The orphans have expectations, the community has expectations, and volunteers will have expectations. Flexibility helps ease that. When navigating through and integrating into our culture, patience and calm are key.”
“This is a unique opportunity and the community and kids love having volunteers. Take time to talk to people, enjoy the surroundings, and really take in everything that a United Planet Quest provides.”