My traineeship in Yellow Shirts - like Emily in Paris, but in Transylvania
I remember once watching this Netflix TV series, “Emily in Paris”, which was rather frivolous, but also a good example of the mixture of disorientation and vitality one feels when moving abroad.
I don’t do fashion, but like the main character, Emily, I am doing this experience to better myself in my dream career. I feel lucky even if there have been tragicomic moments.
I arrived here in Baia Mare on the 20th of June and all I could think of the town was that it is beautiful, but most of all, I have never seen so many trees, gardens, flowerbeds and hedges manicured to perfection anywhere else. It felt surreal, and let’s just say surreal is the best adjective to describe the first few weeks.
I arrived at the same time as the ESC volunteers from the V4Volunteering project, which was particularly dedicated to sport activities and setting up a local beach volleyball tournament. I was a bit far from the project they recruited me for, SoundBeatsTime, which is related to music, so I waited and watched.
On 6th July I turned 28 here in Romania, my present was ‘culture shock’, yuppie! Simply put, culture shock refers to that set of feelings of confusion and bewilderment due to a sudden change in lifestyle caused by moving to a different social and cultural environment, for example, a foreign country. That morning, the ESC volunteers had left, and I realised that I would not be leaving with them. Then I went to the supermarket to prepare some lasagne for the evening, the supermarket is from a well-known chain that is also in Italy, yet it was very different, I was looking for the usual things I would buy in Italy but I couldn’t find anything. Suddenly, boom culture shock! It is important to realise it and above all to talk about it, the housemates, my coordinator Andreea, suggested events, museums, places to see to get familiar with my new reality.
Since then, it has been better. I have visited other cities like Cluj-Napoca and Brașov; they are important cities in Romania, and they are really beautiful, I always recommend them to everyone. The architecture is a mixture of Art Nouveau, Baroque, medieval and it blends perfectly with the surrounding green mountains. They are vibrant cities of life, art and culture. I fell in love.
I worked for an International Data Science Summer School in Predeal, among the Carpathian Mountains, in the Brașov region... yes the one of Dracula’s castle, but believe me there are many other places more interesting than the castle, starting with the dark and wild forests. And if at first I wondered what I was doing in the midst of a group of computer geeks, in the end I realised that in terms of dynamics and human connection, it really is the same as an Erasmus+ cultural exchange. Education and fun, no? Just that!
But it wasn’t until the end of August that I could finally touch the reality of SoundBeatsTime: music, manuals, online courses, a project guide for music and culture, a multiplier event and even a mobility!
Since August, I started editing the subtitles for the online courses and doing researches for the guide, but it was in September that the lively and engaging work around the construction of this project in its details began. The project and the activities had been planned for a long time, but it was very nice to brainstorm with Andreea on the activities to bring to the final part of the mobility in Baia Mare, on how to plan each day, I found it extremely instructive! Over the years, I have written projects, participated in activities, facilitated an exchange, but what comes before is pure magic. I had never experienced it. While thinking about the details, I imagined the participants living them.
Yet, as always, life never follows our plans. And I would say better that way! At the end of September, I visited Timisoara, in the Banat region. Did I mention that I had fallen in love with the main Romanian cities? Well, in Timisoara, if possible, I fell even more in love!
During the exchange, I felt a lot of responsibility on me, perhaps even more than I was entitled to, but for this project, the first real project in which I feel I am part of the organisation, I wanted to give everything. I had never worked with such young participants, and it was an experience that was sometimes exhausting but overall amazing and fun. I observed, with the objectivity of a grown-up girl, all those little details of adolescence that cross state borders and point straight to drama and fun. But I also got to know many talented musicians, with their own dreams and their own projects. For them, it was worth all the effort.
When the project was over, I was not in time to be sad that we attended the SoundBeatsTime multiplier event at the well-known local festival Street Delivery, here in Baia Mare. Another first time, many new people met.
This first half of my internship here in Romania has been a kaleidoscope of ideas, important lessons in both work and private life, challenges, adventures. I enjoyed discovering the organisation first as an observer and then as a member. I felt stimulated in every dialogue and peer-to-peer discussion with my coordinator, Andreea. Not to mention all the moments when we joke around. The country is an overrated gem that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. And I haven’t mentioned the hospitality and irony that characterises the inhabitants, which made me feel at home.
Can’t wait to collecting and recounting the new adventures of the last few months ahead!