My gap year as a ski instructor in Romania
When I first arrived in Romania I was extremely nervous. This was to be expected: it was a new country, I was meeting new people, settling in a new home and getting stuck into a new job, all which resulted in a mixture of feelings. However, the first few weeks in Romania went by in a flash and all my apprehensions were lifted.
Brasov is similar to any European town with all your needs satisfied. I was welcomed very warmly by Razvan who settled me in and showed me around, he is always on hand or a quick phone call away. My first introductions at the ski school were very friendly and got me ready to qualify as a ski instructor.
To start my time in Romania I spent my first week at the children’s hospital in Brasov Hospital which is about 25 minutes walk from the house. It was great to get comfortable with children, the Romanian language and life in a foreign country before starting at the ski school. We spent half the day talking, playing and just being around to help with the kids. The children ranged from 5-18 years old and they were all extremely friendly and nice and many of them spoke English. The afternoons were spent at the children’s home(s) which were extremely fun as we just played games and hung around with the kids. These are miniature orphanages, and the kids loved having us around to practice English and play.
My first week of ski instructor training
The training period lasted about two weeks in which time I had my technique boosted and my skiing improved. We ran through the lesson plans for beginner and intermediate skiers and we practiced more advanced techniques. The training is not hard so there is nothing to worry about, by the end of the programme everyone understood.
The exam was daunting as about 100 people were herded into the ‘exam hall’ (a restaurant cafe) and were given their papers. The examiners had forgotten that I was English so insisted that I do the exam in Romanian (which might have proven to be a problem), however I talked to the boss who said that he would print out an English version, so I did my exam later in the ski shop. The exam itself was not too difficult and all went well. The following day I was a qualified ski instructor and started to teach!
The typical day is arriving at the shop at 8:00am, setting up, shoveling snow until about 9:30, then 2-5 hours teaching (depending upon time in the season, late December to early January is the busiest), then pack up and return around 5pm. I mainly teach beginner adults which is very easy and fun. It can be hard with younger students who are either scared, cold etc., however there are places to stop and rest all around the resort.
The resort is comparatively small but it does offer enough to keep most people entertained, there are several major lifts which rarely have a queue and are very nice. There is a good variety in runs with lots of powder opportunities, particularly on a quiet day.
There are many places to visit in Brasov during free time with museums, restaurants, bars etc… but I personally just prefer to ‘chill’ and do nothing on my days off to regain some energy for the week ahead.