Written by our new colleague from China.
How much do you know about Romania? Europe Union country in Eastern Europe, with huge nature area and resources… Apart from Romanian, which is the local language, English is commonly used among young people. English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. It is surprising that the majority of young people are pretty confident about English, so you have no problem if you want some help. If you want to do business or study in France, it would be better to learn French in advance. There is a high possibility that you will hear French all the time when you are surrounded by more than 2 French people, opposite in Romania, it is appreciated that people are willing to speak English when there is a foreigner who doesn’t understand Romanian at all.
Actually, you will hear some words similar to French like “Salut” “Merci”, instead of greeting with “Bonjour”, “Bona” is used commonly. What matters to me more is the people in the city not the city itself. The doorman as a Romanian speaker downstairs of your dorm would be willing to teach you more.
The picky and scary clean lady that you heard from local students turns out to be just a normal nice Romanian who can’t speak English but try to help you with gestures or even translation applications. Life is full of kindness, when you go to a laundry room, don’t panic that the old man who sits behind desk can’t speak English, just get into the room and you will find a kind Romanian who will be happy to show you how do the machines work here.
This is just one case that nice Romanians would do. My experience was an encounter with a nice lady, chatting might be one of the best things that you could do in a warm and narrow laundry room. It has been 7-8 years since she’s left her hometown for Bucharest to both study and work, as there are more opportunities, even though it’s not easy to live in a new city alone.
Like in other capital cities, knowing there will be a lot of struggles, people still come with dreams. The kindness here sometimes makes me feel like in Denmark; kind Danes will ask if you need help when they see you are confused in some circumstances. The only difference might be you won’t expect a long talk with the Danish. They are willing to give you a hand if you ask for, but it takes time to get close to and know them or get into a Danish group, since their friend circle has been fixed from a young age.
Speaking of France, we might imagine a light romantic atmosphere supplemented with a bottle of legendary Chardonnay. Talking about Russia or Poland, the keyword might be vodka, in case of Romania, 56 percent of Romanians drink mostly beer, and wine (28 percent), while 16 percent of drinkers prefer spirits. 90% of the beers consumed in Romania are domestically made, though they have foreign brands like Carlsberg, Tuborg, but most of the beers that you can find in the market are made in Romania with different taste.
As there’s no need to import, the price of the beers here is cheap and you can easily get a bottle of 2 liters beer in the grocery with around 1.5 euro. Go out and start with beers, it’s a good chance to get closer with hospitable Romanians.
Mici, a traditional Romania dish could be a good match with beer. You can get 4 Mici in a restaurant within 10 euro, served with French fries and mustard. With the same price, you can get other dishes with ensured quality as well in general. If you are a meat lover, you will enjoy a feast of meat in this country. Contrary to the early stopped subway (at 23:00), night life in the old town won’t stop till the morning. However, no need to worry about way back home, Uber and Yango etc. will be your solid and cheap company. The only rule that you need to remember is: Ask for the price before you take the local taxi.
As most European countries, you can see greens almost everywhere. It is a pity that with all the nature here it’s not easy to bike in Bucharest because of the busy traffic, since most cars won’t stop for the bike to cross the street. Without cycling trial, you need to bike with cars, bus, which is not recommended. Nevertheless, there are parks where you can do sports separated all around the city.
You must have heard about Dracula; Transylvania is a historical region that Western world commonly associates with vampires. If you get out of Bucharest to cities like Sibiu, the European capital of culture in 2007, you will see different structures of architecture. Most historical buildings are well preserved, compared to the ones in the capital. If you are interested in hiking, mountains around Brasov would be options. Sibiu and Brașov are cities more chill than Bucharest, everything seems like slowing down a bit.
It is unfair that people who have never been to Romania think and judge the country as it would have remained the same in the last 10 or 20 years ago. People in this country have the same passion as others to earn and enjoy the life, showing their kindness to everyone who comes to explore the culture. You will feel its own charm only if you enter the land of Romania.