Over pizza and chunks of bear meat, Mr Dorian continued to explain his philosophy, which founded the non-profit children’s camps now scattered in enviable locations throughout Romania, which help the regions’ poorest schoolchildren gain an education in languages.
‘I chose you all for your diversity,’ he admitted openly as the group stared at each other tentatively. From English, French, African, and Indian descent, none of us were Romanian language speakers but chosen for what Mr Dorian wanted to portray to the children; A cross section of English society.
Teaching English abroad has long been a popular option for students looking to explore the world and travel on the cheap, and whether it is for the startlingly low living costs, work experience, or the chance to get involved on a personal level with the country of their choice, popularity remains at an all time high.
Hundreds of volunteers descend upon the country each year to meet like minded people, explore the culture and possibly learn the Romanian language, and with an abundance of volunteer and paid programmes available, there really is no reason to be left out of this continuing trend. After very little deliberation I applied for the programme, a decision which would instigate a 2 year long journey teaching English in Europe.
DAD International hires swathes of graduates for its biannual children’s language camps throughout Romania. With six destinations, the most popular located in the dense Transylvanian countryside of Bran, the snowy mountains of Vatra Dornei, and in the coastal region of Gura Portitei, the choice was agonisingly exciting.
Within weeks I found myself surrounded by the beautiful schoolchildren of Bran, while they tried to teach me the local Romanian dialect with their interesting turns of phrase, all of which proved futile on my first excursion through the countryside.
Travelling on foot can be an interesting way to discover new villages and local characters, however, without a Romanian translator, getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, alone, is not advisable. Do not despair though, as most rural taxi drivers are actually quite cheap and friendly, and can cope with an hour or so of ‘keep going,’ ‘straight on,’ and semaphore.
There really is no limit to what you can do in Romania, where mountains meet forests, which reach as far as the Black Sea, there are opportunities to swim, ski and trek through magnificent landscapes rivalling any European holiday destination, for a fraction of the cost.
Romanian tourism has been steadily on the rise in recent years, and whether you are looking to discover Dracula’s Transylvanian castle or drift even further off the beaten track, a teach abroad programme could be the perfect opportunity to get a real taste of this truly romantic Romanian culture.