Six hour train ride from Valcea to Brasov then to Pradeal and a about 30 – 45 minutes’ walk up a hill to Hotel Eden was the beginning of our one week on arrival training by the Romanian National Agency.
The weather upon arrival in Predeal was somewhat depressing as it was so cold and limiting. Some volunteers had plans to go to the mountains, go ice skating and maybe just take a tour around the town but to no avail.
The fun packed week started at a rather annoying point after having to walk a so called ‘walk able distance’ that left us all wondering why we did not take the taxi but once we got there, we stopped with the complaints and embraced the place and the many different experiences we had.
Being in an intercultural group can be complex and worrying to start with but with our group, everything just fell into place. We had a short meeting in the evening where introductions were made and we were given an idea of what would follow the next day and what we should expect.
The training kicked off the next day at 10AM; it may have started off on a rather boring note as the beginning introductory games seemed more or less redundant and the fact that we had to start getting used to the new people in our various groups added to the dull start of our training.
Later that day, friendships started developing and by supper time, we were already mingling and yes, moving towards the crazy days and nights to come.
We were all naturals, blended in the group, carried out our group tasks and cooperated well with everyone. We built each other, discussed sentiments on different training topics and tasks, had debates, challenging tasks that we had to do as a group to succeed, and also shared our cultural values with each other.
We were tasked to go on a Predeal rally in order for us to practice our Romanian and also to get some information about Romania from the locals. This task was to be carried out in groups of five and we were given a set of questions to have answered by the local people. It was a very fun and different experience for us as we got to work with different volunteers; it was more of “journey to the centre” experience.
It was a refreshing experience because we got to go outside and walk to the city looking for people to give us answers to all the questions on our question papers, we even had to ensure that we got satisfactory answers from our audience because we were presenting our findings to everyone later on.
All in all Predeal for us was very educative and enlightening on so many issues, we had enriched our knowledge as well as our social circles and so bit by bit, Romania is starting to feel like home with the family we are creating.