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TTF Talks: An honest perspective on Romania

In this interview, you will meet Maris, a young German student who’s been studying Medicine in Timisoara. Her warm and sincere style were an instant catch for me. I hope you can take advantage of her insights in the Romanian lifestyle and people, as well as the city where she currently lives and studies.

For a start, please introduce yourself and say how long you have been in Romania. What do you do here?

My name is Maris, I am 21 years old and I am from Germany. I have been in Romania, more precisely in Timisoara, for 8 months. I study here.

The Opera building in Timisoara

What expectations did you have about Romania?

Being honest, I was not really sure what to expect. I knew that Romania has difficulties with poverty in some regions, so I did not expect the cities to be as modern as they actually are. Since I did not know a lot about the Romanian culture and mentality, I arrived here without concrete expectations.

What is better and what is worse than your expectations?

As I mentioned above, I did not expect Timisoara to be as modern as it is. In addition to that, I completely fell in love with the Baroque architecture of the city center.

Now that I got to know the Romanian mentality a bit, I really like how open minded the majority of people is. I had many unexpected encounters that were very interesting and enriching.

The only thing that comes straight to my mind when I think of things I dislike are the roads and the traffic. For me, every time I have to take an Uber/taxi somewhere is like a near-death experience. Most of the cars do not have seat belts in the back, the drivers drive very fast and many of them are more focused on the phone rather than on the road.

Where have you been in Romania? What were your favourite places and why?

Unfortunately, I have not seen a lot of Romania until now. I live in Timisoara, which I like a lot. I have visited Hunedoara once. Honestly the city was not very pretty, but the Corvin Castle and the landscape during our drive was worth the ride.

The famous Corvin Castle; fb discover romania
Corvin Castle looks really majestic!

What about the stereotype saying that Romanians are very hospitable and friendly?

I agree with the stereotype. Of course there are always exceptions, but as mentioned above the majority of people that I met are very friendly, open minded and keen to help however they can.

What do you believe about driving in Romania ?

Don’t do it. Traffic is insane, roads are in bad condition as well as most of the cars.

Please tell us three things you like about Romania.

First of all I really appreciate that I feel very safe here, much safer than in Germany. For me, walking home at night alone here is not a problem.

Secondly there is always something happening in Timisoara, there are concerts, exhibitions and many events on a regular basis.

Thirdly, in comparison to Germans, Romanians are very fashionable. I love walking through the city center and observing the people around me. I feel like most of the people here are very concerned about their appearance and that they express part of their character via fashion.

Vibrant Timisoara

Please tell us some things you dislike or some negative experiences you had.

I have noticed that even though Romanians appear to be very respectful, they will never take a step back to make some space. When I walk through the center, it really annoys me that everybody is so focused on where they want to go, and they really do not care at all if you might cross their way or not. If didn’t avoid people every time, I would bump into others on a regular basis.

What is your favourite Romanian food?

Papanasi

Papanasi; photo: depozitulderetete.ro

Would you recommend the country to your friends?

For sure! Since I am always talking about how much I like it here, a few of my friends are already planning to visit me.

What could Romania do to be more visitable?

That’s a difficult question. I am not really sure, I feel like especially Germans have a completely wrong impression of the country. But I don’t know how to change that.

Can you summarise your experience in Timisoara and give some recommendations/tips?

Moving to Timisoara was a major change for me. It is the first time that I moved out of home, the first time that I live in a foreign country, I started studying here, I got in contact with different cultures. So all in all, for me it is a great experience where I learn things about other people, but also about me.

I would highly recommend visiting Timisoara. For me it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Of course there are basic things you need to do here, like visiting the opera or the cathedral. But in my opinion, what is really special about the city is its vibe. So just go with the flow, relax in a café in Unirii Square and soak it in. You will understand what I mean when you’re there.

Now after spending this time in Romania, what is the general and most powerful feeling that Romania gives to you?

Romania is a multi-faceted country. It will surprise you in many ways.

The Danube Delta is one of a kind

What are some of the misconceptions you most often hear about Romania and how do you feel about them?

Since most of the Germans think of Romania as a really poor country, it automatically gets linked to being monotonous  and dreary. In reality, Romania is the complete opposite.

What do you like about Romanian culture, history, customs? Please give us some examples. 

I like the Romanian mentality and the traditional music. I once was in a karaoke bar, and as the evening got late they started to sing traditional songs and we all ended up dancing traditional dances with people we did not know at all. That was fun.

Thank you so much Maris for your feedback and good luck with your studies!

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