With an interest in Eastern European countries and the will to contribute where help is needed Nancy Haga, volunteered in Barlad, Romania this past May. Nancy taught at the middle school students of different ages using various techniques to keep them focused, interested and made all her classes worthy to attend. She was very energetic, smart and creative and used all her qualities to help the students in Romania improve their English and gain new perspective on American culture while learning herself about Romanian culture from her students. Here, Nancy shares her reflections of her two-week volunteer experience in Romania.
Overly excited and pleased with her experience with Global Volunteers, Nancy can’t hide her pleasure of teaching conversational English in Romania: “I FELL IN LOVE WITH THESE STUDENTS IN ROMANIA!!! I don’t think there can be any experience that will match the wonderful opportunity I had teaching English to these beautiful children in Barlad. From the very first day, I was welcomed by teachers and students in Romania as a Global Volunteer “celebrity.” On the first day, my assignment was to interview students to assess their responses to questions I prepared. Their responses had to be in English. The winners would be announced the following week with monetary awards, so the stakes were high!”
Talking about her teaching experience in Barlad, Romania, Nancy says: “For the next two weeks, I was asked to teach three classes of conversational English each day for students from Grades 1 – 7. The curriculum was not set, so I was able to create lessons, based on their interests and abilities. I don’t think the students were used to learning English through fun games. They ate it up!The students and I delighted in each other every day, with some of the older students returning in the afternoon with the younger students to continue the “lovefest.” The students were polite, bright and eager to learn or improve their English. Fortunately with a background in Speech and Language Development and TEFL certification, I was able to tap into years of experience.”
“Conversational English is critical to these students in Romania, and the staff would appreciate volunteers of various disciplines to converse with the students in less structured setting. You don’t have to be a teacher to enjoy teaching conversational English!”
Nancy explains that during free time she had the opportunity to discover the Romanian culture, nature, history and cuisine: “The two weeks in Barlad were supervised by the local Global Volunteer Coordinator, Mihaela, who made sure that we were enjoying our total experience. She was exceptional!! When we were not volunteering, we enjoyed dining in wonderful restaurants, attending student concerts and ceremonies, dining at the home of the Coordinator of the Hospital Program (the Romanian food is incredible!), touring Bucharest and spending a weekend visiting castles in the scenic Carpathian Mountains & Transylvania, home of “Dracula’s” castle.”
Building bridges of understanding and leaving an impact, is important while volunteering, Nancy talks about the strong connections that she built with her students: “The group hug photo on our last day says it all! Kids lives were impacted. I left feeling that I had made a significant difference in their lives, as they did mine.”
“On Day 1, the students were strangers – at the end of two weeks, I wanted to take them all home with me!”
STUDENTS IN ROMANIA ARE WAITING FOR YOU
You may never again feel so loved and appreciated after working with these children. No special skills are necessary to teach conversational English – just to be a native English speaker and have the desire to help youth. Ready to take up your Global Volunteers experience? Contact us!
“The experience has impacted me so and I can’t wait to sign up for another teaching service program with Global Volunteers!”