Planning a change in your life and you’d like to know how is living in Romania, the country of Dracula? Then you’re in the right place, read on to learn more about this interesting country.
- From Argentina to living in Romania
- Paperworks to work and live in Romania
- Living in Romania: rentals
- What is life like in Romania?
- What are Romanians like?
- Living in Romania: climate
- Life and work in Romania
- Living in Romania: language
- How and where to look for a job in Romania?
- Do I need to speak Romanian to work?
- Living in Romania: Quality of life
- Recommendations and tips on moving to Romania
From Argentina to living in Romania
- Basic info: Micaela Gómez Popescu, 30 years old, lawyer. I was born in Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- I currently live in the city of Ploiesti, 60 km far from Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It’s not a city we’ve actually chosen to live in. I married a Romanian and this is the city where he was born and raised.
- We’ve lived in Romania for three months, but I’ve been here on vacation before. Before we settled here, we lived together in Barcelona, Spain.
Love on a cruise
I met my husband on a cruise in Brazil. He was a ship crew member and I was on vacation in 2019 with my mom. After meeting and falling in love in 10 days, we decided to meet again in a month and take a longer trip together (we went to Italy and Romania to get to know each other better). After that trip we decided we wanted to be together for all our lives. That was the time when I visited Romania for the first time with a road trip through several cities that amazed me.
At the end of that trip, I arrived in Buenos Aires and I quit my job, I took my few savings and moved with him to Barcelona, which was the city where he was working.
Paperworks to work and live in Romania
To access to Romania as a tourist you don’t need a visa, you can stay up to 90 days as a tourist. However, if your intention is to come to work or study and you are not a EU citizen, prior to this you will have to process a visa at the Romanian consulate in your city that enables you to stay for a longer time.
In my case, I am processing the residence permit because as married to a Romanian citizen.
Once you have processed your study or work visa, you can rent an apartment for a long period without a problem.
As for the job, you need a visa or a residence permit. Otherwise you can’t work, even knowing the language. They are extremely strict with law enforcement and more in this area. Undeclared employment here isn’t an option.
Living in Romania: rentals
Here it is not usual to rent a room in a shared apartment (that happens when the city has expensive rents). As Romania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, the most common thing is to rent a small apartment for one person.
The average rental price in Bucharest or Cluj Napoca would be around 1,600 lei for an apartment of about 60 m2 and two rooms (about 400 USD or 324.78€). The amount may vary depending on the city, area, etc.
What is life like in Romania?
One of the things that caught my eye is the food tradition. For example, they eat a lot of Romanian “corba” – which is a kind of soup – that can be of different flavors (chicken, meat, chancho and vegetables). It is a high calories meal, which is normally consumed when there are low temperatures. However, some Romanians also eat it in summer even if there are high temperatures.
They usually have a very rich breakfast. Before coming here, I used to have breakfast with two mate and some cookies and that was it. Here, in the morning it is common to have breakfast with a wide variety of products such as eggs, sausages, meat, salad, bread, Nutella, cheese, juices, coffee, etc.
Romanian culture and religion
In Romania approximately 98% of the population is Christian and 87% of these, are Orthodox Christians. For this reason, Christmas and Easter are very important for Romanians.
In Easter season it is typical to paint red eggs (because reputedly Mary placed a basket of eggs under the cross of Jesus that were stained red by her blood). Today, not only are they painted red, but combine various colors and designs, they are a real artwork. It is a very traditional thing in the whole country, but in the area of Bucovina there are the best “egg artists”.
Currently, at Easter it is common to give red eggs as a symbol of friendship and long-life desire. Also, they use to dress new clothes to go to Resurrection Mass. That day it is usual to eat “pasca”, which is a cheese doughnut and lamb. And according to tradition, whoever breaks the egg with the first blow or shock will be lucky the whole year.
What are Romanians like?
Romanians are very warm, talkative and loving people and they are very good hosts just like Argentinians. They generally love that foreigners visit their country and are interested in their culture. They also like to learn new things about South America in general and Argentina (many have asked me about mate, roasting, weather etc.). In addition, Spanish music and telenovelas broadcasted on TV right now are really fashionable, so it is common for you to find Romanians who know some Spanish.
As for the gastronomy of Romania I didn’t have a hard time getting used to it as the meals here are delicious, super plentiful and there’s a lot of variety. You have everything to eat and also a lot of variety of each products in supermarkets. I don’t eat red meats so I don’t miss Argentine roasts. However, I’m a mate lover and I take it everywhere.
Living in Romania: climate
The weather here is very extreme. When I came in June it was summer and it was very hot (40 degrees and I even remember that well-frozen beers didn’t refresh me). As for the cold I can say that I haven’t lived a very raw winter yet since there are restrictions due to the pandemic, so I hardly even go out. And if I have a chance to get out, I try to avoid it because I’m not a cold enthusiastic. Historically in Romania recorded a minimum temperature of -38.5 degrees and a maximum of 45 degrees.
Life and work in Romania
I am a lawyer but my profession is very territorial as each country has different cultures, customs and laws. So, I quit my profession when I fell in love and decided to move.
In order to practice this profession and any other here you need to make a research if you can homologate your degree or career in the country you are interested in. And that will depend on whether your profession in your country exists in the other country or not. If it exists you will have to realize the corresponding exams or in some cases you only need the homologation of your title or degree. In my case, I investigated it when I was in Spain and as a lawyer I had to take several additional subjects, and it was pretty expensive, then I had to take an examination with the Ministry of Justice and finally register and start working.
Differences in workplace: Argentina vs Romania
The main employment difference in Romania, Spain and Argentina, is that in Argentina, most of the employment is unregistered and registered employment is the exception. However, in both Romania and Spain, unregistered employment practically doesn’t exist. And much more complicated with the economic crisis because of the pandemic.
Living in Romania: language
The official language is Romanian, although you can communicate in English without problems. In my opinion, Romanian is a language that is not so difficult to learn as it comes from Latin and has many words similar to Spanish. It also has many words coming from Portuguese and French. In the world this language is spoken only in Romania and Moldova.
Studying in Romania
In case you decide to come to study and you don’t know the language you will have to do a one year language course before the studies begin.
The Romanian embassy in your country is responsible for the management and granting of study visas.
How and where to look for a job in Romania?
It is not common to deliver your resume by hand, like in Barcelona, Spain.
In Romania the average wage is about 3,100 lei that is about 800 USD or 629.26€.
Do I need to speak Romanian to work?
Romanian is not always required. For example in the city of Cluj Napoja there are usually job openings in call center and sometimes they need Spanish-speaking staff. In this case, workers travel with a work visa previously managed by the consulate. To be able to do this, you need to have a prior job application from a company in Romania.
Although Romania is part of the European Union, the wages are not so high. Therefore, it is common to find many Romanians working in other European countries for a salary a bit higher than here.
Living in Romania: Quality of life
The quality of life is good. I like life here a lot. I think with an average salary, you can live comfortably. Of course this will depend on each person and the different lifestyles. Buying food and cooking yourself is the cheapest option. In supermarkets basic foods are cheap, for example: 1 liter of milk comes out 2 lei (0.41€) and the bread 1.50 lei (0.30€). You also have many fast food options like McDonald’s or KFC.
As for the economy, the good part is that it’s not a devalued economy, the prices of things are the same as they were years ago. Although it is part of the European Union, its currency is not the euro, but the Leu in singular and Lei in the plural. Example, 4 lei equals 1 USD. One thing I found curious is that the banknotes are harder and stiffer than other banknotes we’re used to see. They’re super cute because they don’t look like money.
I don’t feel like life is better here or there or in another country, they’re just different cultural experiences and I try to enjoy every stage of my life in the best way possible. Every country has its good and bad things. However, today I feel privileged to be able to discover Romania: not only it has beautiful natural landscapes but also its people are very friendly and good vibes.
Without a doubt, living in another country, whatever it is, opens your mind and changes the way you think and your perspectives.
Getting out of your comfort zone
Leaving the comfort zone is not for anyone, it means to leave the “safe area” (your work, your life, your routine, etc.) for something uncertain that may be better or worse, but it will certainly be different.
I compare it to parachuting into the vacuum, your parachute may open and you may get much higher than where you jumped or it may open much lower.
But that “jump” is an action you never did before and of course we all hesitate to do it for fear of the unknown.
The best of living in Romania
My favorite place in Romania is the city of Sibiu, it is a city famous for having all the roofs of its houses and buildings exactly the same, with two windows in the shape of eyes. I call it the city that looks at you. In addition, it has picturesque streets that in summer show beautiful flowers on its balconies and walls of various colors.
That is my favorite city, but there is also the famous Bran Castle, which is Dracula’s Castle in the Transylvanian region. It is very popular for tourists from all over the world.
Romania is a country that has everything: castles that will make you feel like being in a fairy tale, picturesque cities such as Sinaia and Brasov, the area of the Danube delta, where flora and fauna show their maximum beauty and also has beautiful beaches on the banks of the Black Sea, in Konstanz and Mamaia.
A not-so-known Romania
A curious fact is that 30% of Romanian territory are forests, so there are many animals and in the Area of the Carpathians: it is common to cross paths with some bear lurking in search of food nearby cities like Sinaia or Brasov.
Recommendations and tips on moving to Romania
- Do you plan to live there for a long period? The truth is, we never plan the long-term future so much. My partner and I love to travel, but for the moment we plan to continue living here as we feel comfortable.
- Do you recommend this country to live? Yes, I highly recommend it. At first the language can be a barrier and you may find it strange, but then your ear sharpens and you can understand and have basic communication without problems.
- More recommendations: to learn the language for free I recommend these options: YouTube channels that I found very didactic and free online classes through a closed Facebook group called “learn Romanian”.
Tips on living in Romania
I would advise to apply a work or a student visa before moving here in order to enjoy the stay legally. For this, it is good to follow the official pages of the Romanian embassy in in your city as they regularly relevant information published and open calls for study visas.
I also advise you to watch some videos and learn basic words, as Romanians are happy that you know a little bit about their language.
On top of that, I recommend 100% coming as a tourist, both on winter and summer holidays. One believes that Europe is only Spain, Italy and France. However, there are countries like Romania that have fewer tourists but are just as beautiful as the more touristic destinations. Romania has amazing ski slopes to enjoy in winter and dream beaches of the Black Sea to enjoy in summer.
Best of all, it’s a cheaper country than others in Europe.
If any of the readers have any questions or concerns they can text me, I will be happy to help them.
Finally, if you are looking to live in a fairly economical country, with a language not very difficult to learn, with many castles and history, then go organizing your trip to Romania.
If you want to see other cheap cities in Europe to live in, I recommend reading “Living in Krakow”.
Interview conducted in February 2021 with @unaargentinaenrumania