Having lived for the most part of my life in a small city in the interior of Portugal, the chance of going abroad can be presented both as an exciting and scary experience. The feeling of leaving everyone and everything behind, counters with the opportunity of meeting new people, discovering new cultures and most of all expanding one’s horizons through EVS Volunteering.
Somewhere along the road, after 4 hours of plane and traveling half Hungary by car, the first buildings of Arad come into view and with them a very peculiar scenery with an architectonic mix of the modern and the classic. Once inside the dormitories, time to get to know all the other volunteers and what will be the accommodations for the next 10 months.
Now that almost two weeks have passed much can be said about this experience. For starters being in touch with a multicultural group is something that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime, like getting to know a little something about others’ cultures and languages, sometimes thousands of miles away from our own countries. The support and commitment from our organization, Pro Prietenia is for sure something to be amazed as well.
Furthermore, the chance of visiting some typical places from Romania is always an interesting experience, such as the picturesque market in the city centre, where traders sell all sorts of goods every day, especially vegetables and fruit. Worth of mentioning is also the botanic garden in Macea (some kms from Arad) where one can see a most astonishing palace surrounded by beautiful nature.
The palace at Macea’s botanic garden.
And of course one cannot forget about the special events that take place once in a while such as:
- An incredible Flash Mob organized by people at Pro Prietenia that took place, first in the children’s park and then at Parcul Pandurice.
The guys from Flash Mob
- A concert from an excellent Portuguese singer (living in Romania for 8 years now) together with a brilliant 14 year old blind pianist at Loja bar, performing great classics such as Sinatra’s Fly Me To the Moon, some Romanian songs and even a Brazilian song Garota de Ipanema from Tom Jobin, which he dedicated to all the Portuguese speaking people in the audience.
- Last but not least coming with Rita, the other Portuguese volunteer, to TV Arad to talk about our first impressions of the city and project as well as hopes and expectations, and.
Me, Rita, and Cristina (Pro Prietenia’s project coordinator) at TV Arad
That’s all for now, even though so much more could be written about these first days, I’ll leave it for another time for sure.