Going from western to eastern Europe, we anticipated things will not go the exact same way as it does in our home countries. After being here for 6 weeks, we have definitely noticed some differences and challenges compared to Denmark and The Netherlands. Today’s post will elaborate on that.
Starting with the biggest challenge, connecting with the local people. This is because a lot of people in Iasi aren’t willing to speak English, or don’t speak it at all. This makes not only the communication very difficult, but we feel like an outsider as well. When we’re in the tram speaking English for example, there will always be people looking at us because they’re not used to internationals here. This is especially awkward in the beginning, but they are probably just curious because they don’t hear it that often. If you would see a unicorn on the street, you would look as well. In this case (and actually always) we are unicorns. The language barrier can make the people feel a bit cold and distant. However, when you do find English speaking Romanians or Romanians that are willing to try to speak English, they are always more than willing to help you and guide you around the city.
Another personal challenge is the apartment we live in. It’s an old soviet style apartment. When I showed some pictures to my mom she said the kitchen looked like her parent’s kitchen in 1979 during the Soviet Union. With this you can only imagine somethings bound to happen. I think we’ve encountered an issue at least every week. Be it that the wifi doesn’t work, they’re renovating the stairs so you can’t access your apartment in the usual way, or the electricity being out. However, these issues are more funny than annoying, and we love to come home and see what kind of surprises we have for the day.
Opening a bank account can also be tricky. The Romanian ID card has the address you live in on it, but the Danish and Dutch ID card don’t have this. My bank card was blocked for example because I provided a Dutch address, which they couldn’t find on my ID card or any other official document. To fix this, we would recommend to get a Romanian registration card first. You have to get this anyway if you’re doing an internship for example and this has also your Romanian address on it. This makes the process go way easier. With this, we would also recommend to go to ING because you’ll get your bank card the same moment you apply for it, instead of waiting 3 months.
Public transport might be challenging in the very beginning if you’re not used to it. The busses and trams don’t have timetables and they won’t tell you what the station is you’re arriving at. You have to recognize the place you’re going to, but if you just pay attention to your surroundings this shouldn’t be too hard. Also, you’ll start to notice a pattern when it comes to the times they arrive so it gets easier to play into this.
Being in a different country than your own always brings challenges, and while the issues are frustrating at times, they definitely aren’t a deal breaker to visit Iasi or do an internship here.