Let me introduce myself, my name is Vincent but I prefer Vincentiu or Vince. I’m from Dijon in Burgondy. Before I came to participate in the project, I worked at the hospital in Dijon for 3 years as a nurse’s aide. I already have some knowledge of the Romanian language and the country because I already volunteered at the French Institute in Cluj-Napoca for one year between 2016 and 2017.
About his volunteering experience in Romania
I have now been in Romania for two months and at this moment I have been able to confront myself with the Romanian life. I really appreciate my impact and being a volunteer for this project.
I had some difficulties regarding the language barrier, but they disappeared as soon as I spoke in English and Romanian. I attend English classes twice a week. I also discovered cities and visited them. I find Arad very lively and cosmopolitan. I was not afraid to come here.
How was it to be part of an intercultural team ?
The principle of being in an intercultural team is very interesting for me. Because we have different ideals, different social, personal, professional experiences and that adds to the whole. From the first moments, as the only boy in a team of girls, situations could appear both scabrous and strange. But I had to get used to the idea and move on. When you are also working with other people from different backgrounds, it is very important to trust and adapt. We were able to strengthen our links with the different structures and actors of our project. Thanks to this, we were able to create relationships and a network and friendships.
We shared our experiences and contributed to strengthening our links. Throughout this experience between my Turkish and Romanian friends, I was able to improve my language in Romanian and English. Even if I still have some gaps in my organization, we are learning to trust each other and to live together in this project. I enjoyed working with them and I wish to keep the contacts I made in this wonderful project of ours. I also enjoyed sharing our differences in culture, traditions and cohesion.
First impressions of the Special School
I was a little bit surprised by the way I saw the difference and the handling of the disability sector between my country and Romania. I admit that it was difficult to work with children with disabilities and I was very stressed in the beginning.
Can you present the structures you went to ?
Oaza is an association in Arad that helps young children, often aged between 6 and 12, with homework after school. As a volunteer we were mainly involved in activities with the youngsters. Such as Intercultural days like the presentation of a country (France, Turkey), drawing and art workshops, and of course little games. Book reading. The main mission was to provide social support and non-formal education to young people.
Do you think that volunteering in Romania helped you earn skills ?
In the framework of the Kaleidoscope 2.0 project, I think at least for the moment I have discerned some skills in my personal and collective work. Such as the organization between my colleagues and the organization to find cultural projects with the library.
I think that communication is a very important point that I had to face and that allowed me to be a little more open-minded. This entrepreneurial spirit has allowed me to be curious and inventive, which has allowed me to develop my self-confidence and my sense of responsibility.
What was the impact of the volunteering project on your life ?
I was able to develop my ambition and break down stereotypes that one makes of oneself and through the opinions of others. I was able to gain new perspectives on myself and others. I plan to continue to explore my spirit of curiosity and to pass it on to my colleagues and the audiences I will be confronted with in my future experiences.
Presentation of the places we visited
Having lived in Cluj, I knew the city. I joined a long-time friend where he works on Cluj. I was able to get to know some friends. I also visited the Hoia Forest and the Cluj Art Museum. But this is not the only city I visited. In my travels, I went to Craiova, Orsova, Oradea, Timisoara and many other cities.I find the welcome and the difference of hospitality in the Olteni region. People are more accepting But I could visit many cities in Romania, like Targu Mures, Oradea, Timisoara, Zalau, Baia Mare, Sibiu, Brasov, Bran.
A little advice for the future volunteers
If I can give some advice for the next volunteers, I cannot say open up to others. Enjoy sharing and be accommodating to your projects and to others. Above all, traveling a lot is what brings richness and culture to everyone and open-mindedness.
If you have ideas, share them with your colleagues, be curious and find interesting aspects and topics.