EVS Activities

Summer is Here

Summer is here and, as always, it has a good side and a bad side. In the good hand we can take a walk through the cherry trees that garnish the streets of Arad full of its red berries, if the weather is really hot we can go to the Neptun Lido, besides the fortress of Arad and have fun with the different swimming pools, someones with hot springs (smell of eucalyptus) another with slides and also there are several places to eat something and, why not, take a beer for only 2 lei!

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Another advantage that summer brings is the goods you can find in the open market a lot of fruits and vegetables very cheap (cheaper than the big supermarket chains where we are used to buy) and, definitely more tasty and healthy. Now is the best period to enjoy of the Romanian goods, it’s easier to eat better spending less money.

But not everything are advantages in this period for us, the schools and kindergarten shut down so we aren’t gonna work anymore with our children, after nine months we’ve taken a load of affection to them. We’ve tried to teach them and I think, in general, we’ve done a good job but, honestly, I think I’ve learnt more with them than they with me. Sometimes we forget the language is something else than connected words, the gestures, the looks, the expressions… children are able to remember you the worth of all of this. There are been 9 month full of emotions, hugs, dedicated drawings, smiles and tons of fun. We’ll remember them as, I’m sure, they’ll remind us.

Ne vedem!

P.R.

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Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

S.O.S. Balkans

The worst floods in the republics of Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia in over a hundred years have already caused more than forty deaths. Authorities fear that the death toll rises as waters recede and make the counting of damages. The economic damages will also be important: the losses amount to 1,000 million euros only in Serbia, a country that the floods have left without 40% of its power generation capacity.

The most affected areas are Obrenovac (Serbian town about 30 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, where on Sunday the bodies of 12 people were found) as well as Maglaj and Doboj (both in Bosnia), where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes . In neighboring BosniaHerzegovina, nearly a third of its inhabitants have been affected. The situation is catastrophic,” said Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic, who canceled a planned trip to Austria.

The rains stopped over Sunday in the most affected areas (central and western Serbia and northeast Bosnia), but continue growing the Sava river in Belgrade where the soldiers are built a 12 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the city. Thousands of soldiers and volunteers worked through the night on Saturday to build a 5 kilometres wall of sandbags to protect the Kostolac power plant, also the workers at the plant joined the effort, digging up a road in a bid to divert waters that threatened to flood nearby coal mines. The Kostolac plant supplies 20 percent of Serbia’s electricity needs.

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Otherwise, these floods could dig up thousands of landmines still remain especially in Bosnia and that were placed during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Approximately one million people live in the affected region, where floods could dig up part of the 120,000 explosive devices that have yet to be detonated in Bosnian territory, officials said. There are also over 9,400 minefields carefully marked with signs and fences that could be affected by the rains.

The Mine Action Centre of Bosnia has warned of this risk to the residents of the affected areas. “As a result of this natural disaster, mine may have been displaced from the danger zones identified. Every possible measure to encourage residents should be taken,” said the organization.

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But the disaster has brought unexpected effect has aroused a feeling of unprecedented solidarity between communities that twenty years ago were declared enemies. Regardless of ethnicity or religion, the least affected neighbors have turned to help those who have lost everything. The constant references between affected the war that devastated the Balkans in the nineties give an idea of ​​the magnitude of the disaster.

In the Bosnian city of Maglaj, residents have already returned to see if there is still something to saveAfter the war I found my furniture, and I noticed I could use again, my couch and my cupboard. But now, now I have no cupboard, you can go and check it, we have nothing“, Hatidza Muhic, one of the affected lamented.

In Tuzla, another Bosnian town, predominantly Serbian, a similar image and despair are palpable. “In two days has destroyed everything we got when we returned to rebuild after the war,” said Nevenka Djuric, who has lost his home after a landslide caused by rains.

Gradually, the neighbors try to recover the few belongings that water and mud did not take. But among such loss, at least the stock has gained something: what could be the beginning of improvement in the relationship between opposing communities for many years. Croats, Serbs and Muslims have shown his human side facing the worst floods in the Balkans in the last century.

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There are various ways to help and get involved, either by actively assisting those in need, if you are in the area, or through donations. Many reputable organisations have opened accounts for this purpose, including the Red Cross Bosnia, Red Cross CroatiaRed Cross Serbia, Novak Djokovic Foundation, Government of Serbia, and Association Pomozi, just to mention a few. Please visit their websites and contribute what you can, or at least – help spread the word.

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Also, international organism as UN, EULEX, World Bank and countries as Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary… but even in our city, Arad. A group of EVS volunteers has taken contact with the serbian community in the city and we are gonna start a campaign to collect staple goods (mineral water, higienic goods, diapers, non-perishable food…) and send to the affected areas. Tomorrow we’ll start an informative campaign in schools, high schools, universities, supermarkets to try the most of people have the possibility of helping. And tomorrow, we try to raise awareness the people whose come to our barter market “Let’s Swap” about the neccesity to help in these critical moments.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Swap

We are preparing a great event for the next week. The Thursday, 15th of May (Update: due to inclement weather of the past week, we are forced to postpone this event for next Thursday, May 22) We are gonna make a big barter market in Arad. It will be in Parcul Copiilor from 15:00 to 18:00. Swapping is simply exchanging things that you don’t want or need any more. So the idea is to just get together and exchange things that we don’t need any more, instead of throwing them away. We can exchange all kind of stuff like: cloths, children toys, accessories, books or even food. Every participant should bring at least one object to trade. The general rule is: NO MONEY INVOLVED. In the end, if some things will be not traded, there will be a possibility to donate them on behalf of the community members who are in need.

823533_253473031510747_1685034111285591004_oThe date of this event is Thursday, 22 May

We wanna make to know that everything is worth, maybe your have a lot of things in your house that you aren’t gonna use anymore but for another people your garbage can be truly treasures. This will be the first edition, because if this event is succesful we’ll keep doing new editions in next months. Our main goal is to prove you do not need money to get things necessary or that you really like. To escape a little of that maelstrom of unrestrained consumerism we are used to.

10275489_251890281669022_4827997081089070952_oThe date of this event is Thursday, 22 May

The biggest factor in this project is the willingness of the people. Residents have to be on board with the project and commit to the idea. It would be wise to win support from respected people within the community, people that everyone trusts, who would then lead by example. Additionally getting young people involved can help draw in families and encourage greater participation. Young people should be involved from the beginning and be asked to contribute just as much and perhaps more than anybody else.

This idea is not new at all, already in the neolithic period started to do this practice. And there is also another ways to trade without money as the time banks which, lately, are having a great boom around the world, although this method began to be used in the early nineteenth century with The Cincinnati Time Store. Regarding to the barter markets, one of the most famous in Europe is located in Barcelona.After the “Corralito” in Argentina began to proliferate a lot of barter markets around the country and in Mexico it’s still working out a barter market prior to the pre-hispanic times.

So… you know, if you have something that is useless for you or you aren’t gonna use anymore, come to visit us the next Thursday in Parcul Copiilor. You can also visit our facebook page, click here.

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Ne vedem!

P.R.

 

Categories: EVS Activities, Our Beneficiaries, Our City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Campaign against Human Trafficking

As you know one of the most important fields in which we’ve worked for our project has been the Human trafficking, and we’ve been doing diverse activities related with that:

– In the last October we attended the third International Symposium on Human Trafficking organized by our hosting organization The Pro Prietenia Arad Foundation.

– From September 2013 to February 2014 we attended a training in which we received a lot of information about this topic (you can also check our section in this blog, click here).

With all of this, we started to prepare our own campaign to raise awareness among young people of Arad County. We prepared the campaign working togheter with our mates from the “Unity in Diversity” project, and when we had all ready, we started our tour.

 

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We start our campaign in the High School of Curtici. The High School director assures to our organization the students could speak and understand english so we prepared the campaign in english language, and that was the great problem… most of them didn’t understand us, so we needed the help of Adina and Claudiu (our mentors) to translate them all the information. Quickly, the students were very interested in the topic and they participated more than we expected so we finish the first day with a very good feeling. Campaign was supposed to last a week but the next day when we showed up, the headmaster cancelled the rest of the campaign arguing that the students should prepare themselves for the exams then we had to leave Curtici very dissapointed by the lack of seriousness of the director and with the feeling that we have lost a good opportunity to continue raising awareness of youth there.

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Our next destination was the university Vasili Godis in Arad. We had in the audience some students from the university and also some Italian EVS volunteers who were really interested in this campaign. We didn’t have problems with the communication due to most of them understood perfectly English, so we have a really good feedback with the students and everything worked out as was expected. The campaign wasn’t only a bunch of information, we prepared exercises and examples to create a debate and clear any type of doubt that could present to our listeners.

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Our last target was Lipova, the second largest town in the Arad County. We made the campaign for two days, the first one was a very great experience, most of the students understood english and some of them helped the rest of the guys who couldn’t understand us, there was a really cool feedback with them and they were totally concerned in the topic, after the first minutes when they were very quiet and shy they woke up (at least a few of them) and we went out from there with a feeling of satisfaction for having passed on the message to listeners. Althought the second day the students were younger a most of them didn’t understand english so Claudia and Adina, again, were talking with the audience all the time.

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To conclude we only can say it’s been a great experience, even with the difficult of the bordier language (also for me, I’d never spoken in public in English) the result of the campaign has been very satisfying for us as well as for our organization.

 

Ne vedem!

P.R.

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Mid-Term Training (2/2)

After a Saturday very busy we woke up on Sunday to keep our trip, in this point Antonio joined us. We headed to the Brasov train station to take the train that would take us to Predeal bu,t due to the chaos in terms of platforms and trains information, we lost our train. Luckily we only had to wait for less than one hour for taking the next train. Once in our destiny we met with our mate Rita and another 8 known EVS volunteers from Baia Mare, Fagaras, Craiova… and we only were in the train station.

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After taking a cab, finally, we came to the Eden Hotel, where we were greeted by Carmen (our favourite hotel desk clerk) and where we met in the same hall with a lot of known ones, volunteers from Arad, Baia Mare, Bucarest… After this, dinner with a lot of known faces and to know the different groups in which we were gonna be divided. As in the arrival training some volunteers brought with them guitars so we started kind of party with live music. It was only the first night, therefore it was a very quiet meeting… we should to get ready for the very intense week we had ahead. The training elapsed very fast for us, We wouldn´t have minded stay some day more enjoying the hotel (we had jacuzzi in our room), the town and overall, spending more time with our training fellows, but like all good things, the training ended.

So we (Luca, Aga and me) left which was our home for the past four days to go to the capital of our hosting country, Bucharest.

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We came to Bucharest under heavy cold (-16º) and we saw the city covered by a one-meter- cloack of snow. Anyway we decided to go out and to know the city by ourselves, so we started to tour in the downtown, we headed directly to the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function: Palatul Parlamentului. After that we kept our visit for some hours around the city, visiting the most important and known places in the city like Piata Revolutiei in the heart of the 1989 revolution. Since the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Ceausescu launched his latest speech. Nearby is the Roman Ateneul (1888) and hosts major concerts and the Central University Library in a neoclassical building, with marvelous art exhibitions. Anyway we didn´t have so many time and the weather was really hard so we finish our visit walking by the city and enjoying the architecture.

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The city center is a mixture of medieval, neoclassical and modernist architectural styles and buildings ‘neo-Romanian’ dating from the early twentieth century and a collection of modern buildings from the 1920s and 1930s. Most utilitarian part of the communist era architecture dominates most southern districts. Recent contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings complete the landscape of Bucharest.
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However, despite the cold weather, we ended the evening enjoying the nightlife of the city along with other EVS volunteers (from two asociations: Asociatia Culturala Ask Me and A.C.T.O.R.) … and it was really amazing, although many people had warned us that Bucharest is the most expensive city in country, you can find places really cheap and to have fun with not much money, some of this clubs are Kulturhaus and Panic! both close to Piața Universității. After two intense days our trip came to its end, but we still had time to meet us with some volunteers from Tismana whose we met in our arrival training and they came back to their respective countries after have finished their project. After that, we walked around the city for a couple of hours before to take the train that would bring us to Arad, promising ourselves back in town when the weather is more benevolent to enjoy the city in all its splendor and to meet again with our friends (whose aren´t few).
And, in this way, it finished a very intense week in which we met people from the 5 continents, we did more than one thousand kilometres and very many priceless new experiences.
Ne Vedem
P.R.
Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mid-Term Training (1/2)

The last week we were in Predeal again for the Mid-Term Training, and it was a bittersweet feeling. On one hand we can come back to the Hotel Eden and enjoy Predeal with a lot of EVS volunteers (we were 66) from the five continents (from Africa – Tunicia, Marroco-, from Asia -Nepal-. from Oceania – New Caledonia- , from America – Perú- and the rest from Europe), almost half of them were with us in the arrival training and we had met many others volunteers in these months in Romania; the sessions were, in general, better and more interesting that in the arrival training, the nights were more quite but maybe, more intense. On the other hand, we met with a lot of volunteers who will leave Romania soon and it´s difficult to meet them again in a short time; another negative side is that this training means we already spent the half of our time as EVS volunteers.

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I started this trip with Luca and Aga, we decided to squeeze the long trip to Predeal, and we made a stop in the amazing city of Sighișoara, we spent one day in this beautiful place roaming the narrow streets of the citadel, visiting The History Museum inside the Clock Tower and we even entered the house where the famous national hero Vlad Tepes was born, now reconverted in a hotel with restaurant. It looked like a good place to rest and eat something but the prices are prohibitively expensive for our pockets so we ended up into a small pension eating the most typical Romanian dish (șarmale cu mamaliga și smântână), it was my first time. After that we went to the train station, under the snow which began to fall minutes before, towards Brașov.

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In Brașov our friends were waiting for us in “Casa De Cultura a Studentilor Brașov” where they were helping to the “Incubator107 Brașov” in a multicultural event. There we met a lot of unknown volunteers (local ones, EVS from Craiova, Baia Mare…) and other ones already known, after this meeting our friends showed us the nightlife in Brașov (we already knew the city by day) so we went in a taxi to the downtown (it was my first time I was been driven under a snowfall) and we came to a wonderful place, at least for me, Beraria Ciucas. We ate and drank something to go after to another club: For SALE PUB, a typical irish bar where between beers and peanuts where we took shelter from the bitter cold that Brașov offered us that night.

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If in our first trip to Predeal we ended up spending the night in Brașov, this time we slept in Brașov just before going to Predeal. So on Sunday  came to Predeal… but that part of the story I will tell you the coming week.

It shall continue… (click here)

Ne vedem saptimana vitioare!

P.R.

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Gastronomy, Volunteer´s life, Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moș Crăciun pentru o zi!

Hey!

After  this long Christmas holidays pause, here we are again!

Someone came back home, someone used this free time to take a round. Personally I went to Poland with Aga and an Italian friend, we went by hitch-hicking and, honestly, it was a bit hard to come back home but after three days we did it and we had the possibility to see and appreciate some cities in Slovakia and Hungary, really nice places.

Anyway I would like to tell you about what we did for Christmas with our little friends, our “copii din Curtici” and maybe I’ll tell you about my trips in another post, why not!?

So as I said let me tell you about our “Moș Crăciun day” in Curtici.

Some days before the holidays we got a call from our organization, they asked us to help them to unload some packages from a truck, actually it was more than some package, it were “second hand” toys collected in Germany and sent to Romania to make happy Romanian kids that unfortunately couldn’t have the chance to enjoy this period as other children do. We stored all this presents and we took some of them to bring to Curtici and gave them to the children of the Curtici children center.

Some days after Aga, Antonio and me went with Cristina, our coordinator and Ana, local volunteer, to Curtici.download

The surprise for them was that we were wearing the costume of Santa Claus and  children were amused to see us in the shoes of Moș Crăciun ( as Santa Claus is known here in Romania).

Everybody was enjoying that moment,  children sang for us some Christmas songs (the little Aida was superb) and after we started to give them the presentsDSC00131

Laughs, hugs and kisses, great!

We spent with them some time and after giving the good wishes for a happy Christmas we left Curtici with a smile in our faces!

Here you can see some pics of the event…

La revedere my friends!

 

Luca G.

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Like kids in a school trip

The last tuesday, we had the first “activity” with our new collegues from Zimbawe. It wasn’t an activity, it was kind of a trip, as I said already in the title; we went to the turnul de apa of Arad, our city!

The Water Tower it’s really beautiful and it’s a piece of history, a monument of Arad.

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It was built in 1896, located in Piață Pompierilor,  used to spread the drinking water to the citizens and it was able to provide it for all the city. Restored in 1927 , now hosts many art exhibitions and paintings.  The Tower is 38 meters high , built in the vicinity of the barracks fire,  and it was the tallest building in the city .

The project comes from the idea of the famous architect Miklós Ybl, who used as a model a dungeon of a medieval fortress . At the top was mounted a giant pool of water, which ensured supply to the entire city with drinking water.

The tower was in activity until 1956 and since 1990 it’s a private property.

When we arrived a kind man received us, he was our guide, an old man really passionate in his role as an “information giver”.

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In the entrance we can find a collection of city maps, some of them are really old, from the Austro-Hungarian empire, some are newer, for sure it’s really interesting to look at them to have an idea of the development of the city.

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It is possible to see a lot of curious and old objects in the different rooms of the tower, objects used in relation with the water, of course; we saw “strange” bottles and a lot of different pipes to pump the water into the houses, some old bidets (not everybody uses bidet, in Italy we do; for more infos click on it) and other small objects.

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In one of the floors it is possible to admire an art collection, there are paintings made from romanian artists and some great pictures as well.

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In another floor are exposed the different uniforms used by the fireman in different times.

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After climbing the small and narrow spiral staircases (some of you could have problems with vertigo), we arrived on the top floor of the building, a “giant pool” that can hold 400 tons of water. Before it was even possible to perform plays due to the perfect acoustic.

From this point of the tower we could admire a really nice Panorama, all Arad was under our sight, beautiful!

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The End…

Hey you, if you are reading this article and you are curious enough, just go there and take a look at the history.

Arrivederci!

Luca G.    

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Our City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colors and Outlines

It was somewhere in November that the EVS volunteers had the chance to visit Lipova’s orphanage. Alongside with other Romanian volunteers from Pro Prietenia (Denisa, Georgiana and Ruben) we were delegated with the task of painting the walls, not with solid color but with happy motives so that the building would have a more cheerful look, thus more appealing to children.

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After a long, yet interesting walk from Lipova’s train station through the village where we had the chance to appreciate and know it better, we finally arrived at the orphanage. Even though this was a state’s orphanage, it must be said the conditions were surprisingly good with a very welcoming atmosphere and provided with lots of didactic and playful items for the copii. In addition to that, most of the children there were really nice and polite, with some of them showing a considerable potential in the fields of arts and sports, having won already some distinctions.

The activities started right after dinner with a quick brainstorming of what the motives would be. Of a total of six walls to paint, it was then decided that references to both Madagascar and Ratatouille movies would have each one its own wall, and the subsequent ones would portray motives of each season of the year. The day finished with the drawing of the outlines.

It was early in the morning of the following day that the “hard work” took place. Although painting walls it’s no easy thing to do, especially when you have to respect the outlines and multiplicity of colors, the ambience was still filled with great mood and interaction between the volunteers, the children and the women working at the orphanage.

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Later in the afternoon, after an exhausting day with pretty much everything done, we went back to Arad not only with the feeling of job well done, but also with the will and desire to repeat the experience in a near future.

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La revedere…

AS

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EVS TRAINING IN PREDEAL

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From 30 September to 6 October we were in Predeal for our EVS arrival training.

First I would like to write a short information about one of the famous towns in Romania. Predeal is a well known tourist destination in Romania, especially in winter, when many people come to spend the holidays. Predeal has 5 major ski runs, depending on the difficulty grade and it’s a town in Brasov County. It is the highest town and one of the most important mountain resorts in Romania.Image

During this week we had the possibility to meet a lot of volunteers (we were 85!) that are taking part in EVS project in different romanian cities. We met people that live in Bucharest, Baia Mare, Iasi and many other cities.

We were divided into 4 group, each group had 2 “coaches” and we had 4 sessions per day, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Ok, stop with the technical description!Image

It was a great experience, not only because of the funny atmosphere that normally is in the air when a lot of young people live together, it was great, as well, for the activities that we made in our groups.

We had the possibility to compare our points of view with other people, we learnt more about the EVS project and personally I knew more about myself, it was an intense stay even if it was only for one week!

One of the most interesting moments was the intercultural night in which each Country had to present himself in a funny way, it was really amusing and I really enjoyed to know more about countries that I didn’t know a lot about!

What can I say more, Predeal it’s a “legend” for all the romanian EVS volunteers, we were there and we really appreciated the town and  his beautiful landscape, volunteers, trainers, hotel staff, everything was perfect!

I hope you enjoyed this short thought about what we did,

See ya soon

La revedere!!

Luca G.

Categories: Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Volunteer´s life | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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EVS experiences in Arad

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EVS experiences in Arad