Romania is so much more than the homeland of Dracula. It is a diverse nation of vibrant cities, charming villages, unspoiled beaches, and dense mountain forests. Generally overlooked by those looking to study abroad, you will be amazed at all that Romania has to offer.
Strongly rooted in folk traditions, but with a keen eye to the future, Romania has a unique and interesting culture to offer anyone studying abroad here. Romania sits at a crossroads of Europe; influences from its Balkan neighbors to the south, its Roman heritage, communist past, and its location on the edge of Eastern Europe have combined to create a place that is uniquely Romanian.
The cosmopolitan capital city of Bucharest, once known as the “Paris of the East,” has had a resurgence as a world-class destination. It has many top-notch museums, inviting parks, seasonal festivals, and vibrant nightlife.
Brasov, in Transylvania, is one of the country’s best preserved medieval cities. It makes a great base for hiking the Carpathian Mountains and exploring the countryside that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
If you are looking for an escape from the city head to the countryside regions of Sighisoara, Dobrogea, or Maramures to experience the slower pace of rural life. You can also find several low-cost airline carriers that operate out of the main airport in Bucharest if you want to explore other parts of Europe while studying abroad.
Although it certainly helps to speak some Romanian, it isn’t absolutely necessary to get by. Many universities offer classes in English. Also, about 40% of Romanians speak moderate to good English. This is especially the case in cities and among younger Romanians.
However, studying in Romania offers a great opportunity to learn the language. Very few foreigners know Romanian, so at least a little knowledge of it will go far to endearing you to locals and building cross-cultural connections.
Romanian is a Romance language, meaning it is based on Latin. While it shares many similarities with related languages such as Spanish and French, it is also unique. Romanian grammar is notoriously complex. Even native speakers can struggle with its many mood tenses and irregular verb forms.
Consider enrolling in a language immersion program while you are in the country. You could also hire a private tutor to practice for a few hours a day or use an online program.
The process of entering Romania is pretty much the same as going to other EU countries; while Romania is not yet part of the Schengen visa zone, they abide by the same rules. You will need a valid passport but will not need a visa for stays of less than 90 days.
However, if you are staying longer than three months (such as for a semester or year-long study abroad program) more documentation is needed, including a letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Education. Your university program or study abroad provider can typically help you with this. You will also need proof that your tuition has been paid in full and that you have at least $3,000 in a bank account. This process can take several months, so apply early.
Romania offers a wide variety of housing options. Your experience will be greatly influenced by the type of housing you have. Many universities offer dorm accommodations. Additionally, student hostels can be found in the larger cities. These options are usually the least expensive ways to go and are a great way to meet other students and get the full university experience.
Apartments in Romania generally come fully furnished, making this a great option for students who want more privacy.
If you are looking for a culturally immersive experience, consider a homestay. Some programs provide this as an option and it is a great way to truly experience Romanian life.
Fortunately, studying abroad in Romania costs less than in many other European countries. As an international student you can expect to live comfortably on $500 to $700 per month. Apartments can be found for as low as $300 per month in a major city and even less in smaller towns. University provided dorms may be an even more affordable option and can be as low as $350 for an entire semester.
Activities in Romania are also affordable. Meals at an inexpensive restaurant are around $5. In cities, public transportation costs about $1 for a one-way ride. Even better, many of the best activities don’t cost a thing! Romania’s old churches, castles, forests, and mountain trails are usually free to enjoy. Most museums and other attractions cost less than $10.
In addition to living expenses, expect to pay between $2,500 to $6,000 in tuition depending on your program of study.