Emilia in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania // Final Report

A look back at my last 10 months in Romania

My time in Romania has ended after 10 incredible months and now that I am home I look back at the time I have spent there, the friends and experiences I have made and of course the things I will miss about my time in Csikszereda.

I am back in Hamburg now and as exciting it is to see my friends, family, dog and home again I just can’t believe that my life there is over and that even if I come back there and see my friends again it will never be the same as it is now. But that’s the thing with time right? You don’t notice that you were living in the good times until they are over. At least I didn’t and now I wish I had clung to every fleeting moment just a little bit longer.

I don’t want to give you a wrong impression there were most certainly times that were not good and times where the only thing I wanted was to go home. Going abroad for a year is not easy, or at least it wasn’t for me, and I feel like the impression you get on social media is very one sided but I am very glad that I decided to do it. I think nothing else I could have done in this year between school and university could have given me this kind of experience and growth and as much as I am always pushed to put a specific explanation to this growth I simply can’t. I just now that I did grow and develop and that I am a different person that got off the train in Hamburg than I was when I got on it last August.

I still remember the beginning, how scared and excited I was and how new everything felt. It was almost overwhelming. In my first few months we would spent hours in the kitchen and just talk. You couldn’t just grab a snack because you would inevitably get stuck there and end up talking until it was time for dinner anyways.

Our first trips where in huge groups. Everything was difficult to organize and we would split up anyways because everyone had different expectations. It was rare that we would spent a weekend just relaxing at home. There were so many volunteers coming and going and we would meet new people from all over the world almost every two weeks.

After that winter came and everything slowed down. Which was good but also very cold and dark but we made the most of it. I’m glad I stayed here for Christmas. I think I would have regretted going home and I know that I will never be able to experience this kind of Christmas again. As cold as winter here was at least I had snow and we could go skiing and sledding.

I feel like I blinked and spring was over but that might have been because I was gone a lot during spring. I took my first solo trip in March to Budapest. I went traveling with my best friend in April and immediately after went on vacation with the other volunteers to the Black Sea. And then my parents visited me and I spent two weeks with them in the beginning of May and then it was suddenly summer and with that it was also time for me to say goodbye. The last few weeks were amazing. We spent a lot of time together, went traveling to Budapest and on several day trips in our area. On my last Monday I turned 20 and I celebrated together with all the other volunteers in our backyard. The last week flew by and then it was suddenly my last night. I barely slept because I felt like I had to cherish every last moment and after I had said Goodby to Genny, another ESC volunteer, I finally got an hour of sleep before I had to get up to get ready for my train.

It honestly doesn’t feel like I have spent 10 months there already but I have and I miss my time and my friends there dearly. I am glad that I decided to go and I am so incredibly grateful to have gotten the opportunity.



Emilia was hosted by the organisation Care2Travel on the project “Practising Solidarity in Children’s Homes“, financed by the European Solidarity Corps and the Agenţia Naţională pentru Programe Comunitare în Domeniul Educaţiei şi Formării Profesionale.

Curios to read and see more about Emilia’s activities at Care2Travel? Have a look at the links below:

Presentation about Hamburg

Emilia’s Video about her ESC

If you are volunteering and working with children and youth, you might find this booklet with activity suggestions useful – compiled by Emilia and her fellow volunteers.