Moldova is a fascinating land locked country in Eastern Europe. To the west you’ll find Romania, and to the north, south, and east you’ll find Ukraine. The countryside is charming, with cozy villages and beautiful landscapes. The authentic buildings, mouth-watering food, and tons of gorgeous monasteries will quickly make you fall in love with this unique country.
However, Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries. This gives students plenty of opportunities to volunteer here and make a positive impact in the community.
Moldova is a great choice for students interested in studying Russian and Romanian language, Eastern European culture, politics, and international relations.Photo credit: peatc.
There are a ton of topics students can choose to study in Moldova. Some major areas of study include:
- Romanian culture: Students can study a unique culture rich with historical evolution over the progression of many years.
- Russian / Romanian Language: Students can choose to make this their sole area of study, or combine it with another area.
- Peace & Conflict Studies: This may include conflicts and their resolutions in Moldova and neighboring countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia.
- Politics: The politics in Moldova are complex, due to the differing ruling parties over the past centuries.
Because of Moldova’s war ridden past and ruling by the Greeks, the Mongols, and the Russians, the country has been under political and economical stress.
Here are a few ways students can volunteer in Moldova:
- Community Work: Students may have the chance to volunteer with efforts to improve life for the underprivileged, children, or even people with disabilities.
- Teaching English: As English is a highly popular language, students may have the chance to teach community members basic English.
While the official language of Moldova is Romanian, many people speak Russian. You’ll have the chance to learn and practice multiple languages when visiting Romania.
Students can learn these languages as part of their study abroad program or can choose to take separate courses. These courses can last anywhere from a several hour crash course to several weeks.
Enrolling in a summer program in Moldova is a wonderful choice for students who don’t want to diverge from their studies in their home country, but still want to learn about another culture. Programs can last anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months, depending on the study or volunteer program. These types of programs commonly take students to more than one destination, making it a great option for travelers with wanderlust.
Students will need to apply for a student visa for Moldova before arrival. The visa costs around $90 USD. They will need approval from their academic institution, an application form, passport, recent photos, and several other items. Learn more by visiting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova online.
Students often have the option to live in a homestay while in Moldova. Otherwise, they can also choose to live in a shared housing with other peers in their program. Sharing a dorm or a flat is a great way for students to meet others their age, though you may not have as many chances to interact with locals.
Chisinau is the capital city of Moldova as well as the largest city. Many study abroad programs are based in Chisinau, so you may find yourself living in this stunning city with incredible architecture.
Tiraspol is another major city in Moldova and is situated near the Ukrainian border. Tiraspol is relatively unchanged from the Soviet Union period, and is a great city for students to visit to take a step back in time and experience how Moldova used to be.
Discover medieval architecture in the quiet town of Soroca, another beautiful city in Moldova worth visiting.
Moldova is in close proximity to the Black Sea, making the summer months warm, mild, and comfortable. Pack clothes that can be layered to prepare for any type of weather, like warm weather during the day and cooler weather at night. Loose-fitting cotton clothes, light jackets, pants, sneakers, and flip flops are great items to bring along.
If you’re in Moldova during the winter, pack thick jackets, gloves, hats, warm pants, and boots. Thermal clothing that can be layered during this time is also a great way to prepare for any kind of weather.
Moldova is a relatively cheap country, especially when compared to other European countries. An average meal at a restaurant will cost less than $5 USD, water is typically around 50 cents or less, and local transportation can cost you less than a dollar one-way.
Students can easily budget themselves on $10-20 a day. Keep in mind that added expenses, like toiletries, supplies, medical costs, and any excursions may set you back in your budget.
There are no required vaccinations for Moldova; however, students should still be up to date on any routine vaccinations such as tetanus, typhoid, Hep A, and Hep B. Talk to your health care provider to determine what’s best for you, especially if you plan to travel to multiple destinations.
Knowing a bit of Romanian or Russian while in Moldova is a good idea in case of an emergency situation. It’s also highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance before arriving in Moldova in case of any medical emergency or theft.
Fraud is problem in Moldova, so avoid using ATMs or credit cards when you can. Avoid political and social demonstrations in Chisinau, which can get out of hand quickly. Police harassment is also quite common, so if a police officer stops you, make sure you know your rights and ask to see his or her identity card.
Petty theft is also common, so take typical safety precautions, especially with your valuables and important documents.