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Volunteering in Romania: Children and Village Life in the Carpathian Mountains

Program Number: 18286RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/28/2013 - 10/13/2013;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Romania
Price starting at: $2,038.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Service Learning Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    

Spend 10 days living and working at a Romanian orphanage near Valea Screzii, a slow-paced village nestled in the Carpathian foothills. Support the farm, interact with the children and take on a variety of tasks while experiencing Romanian life and culture. Explore historic castles in Transylvania and learn of Romania’s turbulent past. Then spend two days in modern-day Bucharest to trace its cultural and economic recovery.




Highlights

• Assist with orphanage work in the daytime, then interact with children in the orphanage in the evening.
• Visit four Transylvania castles, including Bran Castle — commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle” — for insight into the country’s past.
• Explore the historic capital of Bucharest, once called the “Paris of the East,” to examine its economic and cultural resurgence.



Activity Particulars

Physical work at orphanage. Walking 2-3 miles on city streets.



Program in remote village, three hours from city. Single rooms available at hotels in Bran and Bucharest, not at orphanage. The orphanage is part of a larger organization that is a home for many people. There are other types of residents staying on the grounds.
Listening devices not available.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Bucharest; coach to Valea Screzii, 5 nights; coach to Bran, 2 nights; coach to Valea Screzii, 5 nights; coach to Bucharest, 2 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Bucharest
Coach to Valea Screzii
5 nights

Enjoy a welcoming dinner at the orphanage. Then engage in a variety of daily tasks that will benefit the orphanage. At night, spend time with the children and hear their stories. Enjoy the opportunity to help them with evening homework. A Romanian language lesson will provide additional insight into the culture. A local priest explains the Romanian Orthodox faith, including its beliefs, practices and role in villagers’ daily lives.



Coach to Bran
2 nights

Delight in an exploration of Transylvania, which abounds with castles and a cultural past integral to Romania’s history. Visit four castles, including Peles Castle, a neo-Renaissance castle considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, and Bran Castle — also known as “Dracula’s Castle” — perched on the Bran Pass. Learn the history of Brasov’s Black Church, built in 1384 and standing as the main Gothic-style monument in the country.



Coach to Valea Screzzi
5 nights

Resume daily tasks in morning and afternoon to benefit the orphanage. Spend time with the children, pitching in with evening homework. Hear a local craftsman explain his work, its importance to him and how it relates to the culture and life of the local people. Enjoy a farewell dinner and goodbyes with the children.



Coach to Bucharest
2 nights
Departure

In evolving Bucharest, explore "The Little Paris" to find a 300-year-old church near a steel-and-glass building in a city of 2 million whose population is expected to double in 10 years. Explore the Palace of the Parliament, the world’s largest civilian administrative building, the Arcul de Triumf and the Village Museum, a collection of Romanian peasant homes. Share stories during a farewell dinner.




Romania

Medieval castles and fortresses mingle with traditional villages and modern life, from Romania’s capital city of Bucharest to the infamous region of Transylvania. This strong spirit of preservation extends to the country’s natural wonders as well — its care for the Danube River Basin and pristine forests makes Romania the third-most biodiverse location in the world.



Accommodations
Valea Screzii: House on orphanage grounds, double rooms, shared bathrooms, communal living area. Other: Centrally located hotels.
Meals and Lodgings
   Pro Vita Orphanage
  Valea Screzii, Romania 5 nights
   Vlahia Inn
  Bran, Transylvania, Romania 2 nights
   Pro Vita Orphanage
  Valea Screzii, Romania 5 nights
   Hotel Michelangelo
  Bucharest, Romania 2 nights
 Pro Vita Orphanage
Type: Other
  Description: Participants will live in a house (shared bed rooms) on the grounds of the orphanage.
  Contact info: Comuna Posesti, Judet Prahova, Cod 2124
Valea Plopului,   Romania
phone: +40-44-280-600
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  If participants will arrive early or stay late in Romania, we recommend that they make arrangements to stay at a hotel in Bucharest and travel with the group on the program start and end dates to and from Valea Screzii.

 Vlahia Inn
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: str. Principala nr. 21A
Brasov - Moieciu de Sus,   Romania
phone: +0747 118 311
web: www.vlahiainn.ro
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Hotel Michelangelo
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Contact info: Strada Henri Coandă 25
Bucharest,  10667 Romania
phone: +021 650 0027
web: www.hotelmichelangelo.ro/en/
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: see website Please see the website for booking details.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
8:00am You will be staying at Pro Vita Orphanage that night.
  End of Program:
6:00pm You will be staying at Hotel Michelangelo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants will sign the United Planet volunteer contract.
  Parking availability:
N/A
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  In flight
  Transportation to site: Participants will be taken together in a van to the program site from the Bucharest airport.
  From End of Program
  Location: In flight
  Transportation from site: Participants will already be in Bucharest the night before their departure. Transport to the airport will be provided.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Overnight flight to Europe
(Saturday, September 28)
   
 Depart From: Depart from USA to Romania. Overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrival to Bucharest, transfer to orphanage, welcome dinner
(Sunday, September 29)
   
 Morning: Arrival to Bucharest's Otopeni airport
 Lunch: lunch on own en route to Romania
 Afternoon: Late afternoon - depart in van for 3-hour drive to Valea Screzii.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Orientation and settling in at the orphanage
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Orientation, introduction to work projects, volunteer work
(Monday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Introduction to work projects at the orphanage. The exact tasks that volunteers do will depend what the orphanage needs at the time, but morning tasks may include: organizing donations, delivery of food and donations to families in need, clearing up around the site, painting, basic repairs, gardening, work on the houses, working in the fields and harvesting crops.
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Free Time and Volunteer work. Participants will usually be free after lunch until about 4pm when the children return from school. From about 4-6pm volunteers will assist the children with their homework and do activities with them.
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Participants spend time with the children after dinner playing games and supervising them.
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Volunteer work, Romanian language lesson
(Tuesday, October 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Romanian language lesson and volunteer work
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Time with the children on activities/helping with homework. Time for the group to spend together.
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Volunteer work, guest speaker
(Wednesday, October 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: A local Priest will talk with the group about the Romanian Orthodox Faith. He will address its beliefs, practices, and how it affects the daily life and culture of the Romanian people.
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Volunteer work, language lesson
(Thursday, October 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work & Romanian language lesson
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Time with the children and packing for weekend excursion
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Travel to Bran for weekend excursion. Dinner in Bran and night in hotel.
(Friday, October 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work and prepare for excursion
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Travel to Bran
 Dinner: Dinner at Bed & Breakfast
 Evening: Free time to explore local area
   
Accommodations: Vlahia Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Tour of castles in Bran, night in hotel in Bran
(Saturday, October 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at B&B
 Morning: Visit Peles Castle
 Lunch: Lunch in the Medieval town of Bran
 Afternoon: Visit Bran castle (Dracula's castle) and explore the town of Bran
 Dinner: Dinner at the Bed & Breakfast
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: Vlahia Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Tour of castles in the morning, transfer back to orphanage
(Sunday, October 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at B&B
 Morning: Visit Rasnov and Brasov castles
 Lunch: Eat lunch in town of Brasov
 Afternoon: Visit the Black Church then transfer to the orphanage in Valea Screzii
 Dinner: Dinner at the orphanage
 Evening: Time with the children
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Volunteer work
(Monday, October 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Time with the children to help with homework and do activities
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Volunteer work, guest speaker
(Tuesday, October 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: A local craftsman will talk to the group about his work, why it is important to him and the community, and how it relates to the culture and life of the local people.
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Volunteer work
(Wednesday, October 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work
 Dinner: Dinner at orphanage
 Evening: Time spent with the children on homework and activities
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: volunteer work, farewell dinner at orphanage
(Thursday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Volunteer work
 Lunch: Lunch at orphanage
 Afternoon: Volunteer work
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the orphanage
 Evening: Farewells with the children, packing for departure
   
Accommodations: Pro Vita Orphanage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Transfer to Bucharest, tour of sites in Bucharest
(Friday, October 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at orphanage
 Morning: Transfer to Bucharest, check into hotel
 Lunch: Lunch in the city
 Afternoon: Guided tour of Parliament Building and explore surrounding area
 Dinner: Dinner in the city
 Evening: Free time to explore the city sights
   
Accommodations: Hotel Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Tour of sites in Bucharest, free time, group's farewell dinner
(Saturday, October 12)
   
 Breakfast: Visit to the Village Museum
 Morning: Breakfast at hotel
 Lunch: Lunch in the city
 Afternoon: Visit to the Cathedral and other local sites
 Dinner: Group's Farewell dinner in the city
 Evening: Group time for final explorations and farewells
   
Accommodations: Hotel Michelangelo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departure from Bucharest
(Sunday, October 13)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Transfer to Otopeni Airport
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Lonely Planet Romania


Author: Leif Pettersen and Mark Baker


Modern Romania: The End of Communism, the Failure of Democratic Reform, and the Theft of a Nation


Author: Tom Gallagher


Romania – Culture Smart! A Quick Guide to Customs and Etiquette


Author: Debbie Stowe


Taste of Romania: It’s Cookery and Glimpses of it’s History, Folklore, Art, Literature and Poetry


Author: Nicolae Klepper




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