Orientation: June 27-July 1
Midpoint Break: July 21-23
Closing: August 12-14
The Ideal Volunteer:
- Has an open mind and a big heart. Teaching experience is not required but enthusiasm and a sense of humor are.
- Ability to think on one's feet, and go with the flow, as we don't always have all the information in advance.
- Is a leader and a teacher. In the classroom, you are the show and there is no understudy! The ability to lesson plan creatively and engage your students is also key. Volunteers must be able to handle challenges with maturity and a sense of adventure.
- Is responsible and reliable. The program starts from the moment you are accepted.
- Is c omitted to the LE mission of expanding horizons through global volunteerism.
- Duration: 7 weeks
- Number of Volunteers: 15-20
- Language Requirements: None
- Living Conditions: Basic to moderate
- Locations: Rural villages, small towns & orphanages
The program will kick off with a five-day orientation in Budapest, the incredible capital of Hungary. The orientation will introduce volunteers to the vibrancy of Eastern European culture and discuss teaching strategies with the Program Director and other volunteers. The orientation schedule will allow volunteers ample time to explore Budapest in between teaching break-out sessions. One of the highlights of the orientation is a visit to one of the many gorgeous Hungarian thermal spas. You would never know water could feel so lush!
After orientation, you will travel to your first teaching location and teach for three weeks. You will reconvene with your fellow volunteers after the three weeks for a weekend trip in Oradea, Romania. During this mid-point break, you will swap stories and teaching ideas with the other volunteers, indulge in some R&R, and lament how much food your host families have served you. Volunteers have been known to become great friends after orientation and mid-point break is a memorable experience reconnecting with fellow volunteers, and reflecting on the experience thus far.
After the mid-point break, you will travel to your second village and teach for another three weeks. The program will conclude with a weekend back in Budapest, Hungary. This is an opportunity to reconnect with other volunteers and reflect on the LE experience.
The LE Romania program travels to villages, small cities, and orphanages. This allows the LE program to expand its influence and reach out to as many citizens as possible. The villages we travel to are majority Hungarian, this is a very interesting aspect of the LE Romania program in that we are able to experience a multicultural society with a complex history.
Village Stays-- Your experience living with a host family will be one the most defining and gratifying experiences you will have on the Romania program. Some host families will overflow with children; others will be empty nesters. Some will have an array of modern amenities in their homes; others might not even have indoor plumbing. What the families share, though, is that certain Eastern European warmth. It is the absolutely best way to truly experience authentic Eastern Europe culture on a deeper level than any average tourist. Many host families will go out of their way to show volunteers the local sites. You will generally be the guest of honor at every local birthday party, wedding or festival. Most households will have limited amenities, but all will abound in liveliness and, of course, food. They are not paid to participate in the program and graciously open their homes and their hearts to Learning Enterprises volunteers. You will find it difficult to say goodbye after three weeks.
Romania Orphanage Foundation- For the past three years, LE has pioneered a new aspect of the Romania program in partnership with the Romania Orphanage Foundation. This year, we will be coordinating with multiple orphanages. As the volunteers will be living together in the orphanage, they will have the opportunity to connect with their students on an incredibly meaningful level. This is a unique aspect of the Romania experience that has left volunteers feeling deeply connected to the children and the community they become a part of.
The main responsibility a volunteer has at the orphanage is to just spend time with the children—play soccer, weave bracelets, sing popular songs, and enforce the importance of education in general. You will not have structured lessons every day like the other volunteers in traditional village settings. Rather, you will teach English organically as the day goes on. I will hold special training sessions about the orphanage locations during orientation.
Volunteers always cite their experiences in the classroom as the most rewarding component of the program. Volunteers living in villages will be expected to teach for at least three hours a day, five days a week. Most volunteers divide the students in to groups according to age and English proficiency, and teach multiple classes. Volunteers are encouraged to also develop evening classes for adults interested in learning English as well. You will teach in the local community centers or schools. Different villages will have different supplies. The majority will have basic teaching materials, such as chalkboards, chalk, and pencils. While Learning Enterprises will provide you with teaching ideas, you will have complete freedom in determining how to run your classes.
LE encourages volunteers to teach creatively. If you love to sing, teach your kids the words to your favorite Billy Joel song then have the class write and perform an original rap. If you love to act, hold a drama festival on the last day and invite the entire village. It’s your classroom, your world! The students you will be teaching relish the opportunity to study with a native English speaker. The older students recognize the value in learning an important international language and eagerly ask about English business jargon and colloquialisms. For the younger students, simply interacting with a native English speaker helps transform the language from work sheets and verb conjugations into something more real. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your students grow and learn. Even if your students aren’t exactly fluent by the end of the summer you may have ignited their interest in English and helped them to dream bigger about their future.