Here at Oyster Worldwide we love to receive feedback from our volunteers. We asked three important questions to Megan Kirsten, who spent 4 weeks as a volunteer with children in Romania in November 2014.
1. How would you rate your experience as a volunteer with children in Romania?
Overall the experience was wonderful! Everything was what I had imagined in terms of living arrangements and life in Romania. Razvan was a great support and the other volunteers were also really fun to meet and get to know. It turned out to be a really great experience and perfect for me.
2. What were the highlights for you on this project?
I LOVED the children’s hospital and the neuropsychiatry ward I was in. It was wonderful meeting new children and getting to know them over the course of a week and then sad but also happy for them when they had to leave. I felt very welcomed by the children in both the hospital and the family homes. I loved that the children teach you their language even though sometimes you just have know idea what one another are saying but still we somehow managed to communicate and laugh and make memories. I think it was more special for me than for the children, being able to play with them and just spend time getting to know them.
I also loved that we had a lot of free time, especially on weekends to do things, both touristy and what the locals do. My 3 favourite/top adventures were going to watch an ice hockey game, going to Peles Castle, and going to the Bear Sanctuary but I loved all the other little things as well. It was great to experience real snow for the first time, and to see Christmas lights in the square and being able to walk almost everywhere. The whole trip and everything that went with it was a huge highlight. It was just so wonderful!
3. Why should other people do this?
This experience is good for learning how to be more flexible and open to new things and to realise that it is actually fine if things don’t happen how you would like them to or how they usually do. It’s good to change up one’s routine every now and then. You get to meet interesting people that you probably wouldn’t come across otherwise
You grow in so many ways and on so many levels. Travelling on your own makes you more independent. It is also a really special and humbling experience to be around children. They teach us so much. Even though you might not feel you are making much of a difference, if you had not been there that one child in the hospital would not have met a person from another part of the world and had some sort of experience with them. It is also eye-opening to realise some people’s realities and helps you to appreciate what you have. It is really special to connect with people, especially children on a personal level and to just do something that you wouldn’t usually do in your daily life outside of Romania or wherever you have travelled, like playing Monopoly or Uno or doing the same puzzles over and over for hours because it makes other people happy and brings them joy.
A huge thank you to Megan for her feedback on her time in Romania. To see more about becoming a volunteer with children in Romania, visit our teaching and childcare webpage.