Traditionally known as Bessarabia, the centrally-located-and-landlocked country of Moldova presents a new and interesting landscape for volunteers interested in exploring Europe. Having served for centuries as an avenue connecting Asia and southern Europe, Moldova has a large abundance of cultural relics attractive to travelers and volunteers alike.
Throughout its existence, Moldova has withstood wars that each drastically affected the country; formerly run by the Greeks, then the Romans, the Huns, the Bulgars, the Mongols, and most recently the Russians. These political changes, coupled with the recent downturn in its economy, have presented complex challenges for the Moldovan people. Volunteering abroad in Moldova ensures a first-hand contribution to lessening their plight.
The last two decades in Moldova have been fraught with economic crisis; since the country’s separation from the Soviet Union, its crashing markets and financial downturns have lead to an increase in poverty, theft, and petty crimes. The Moldovan people today earn less than money on average than the citizens of 1989. There is a great need for volunteers in Moldova and many fields for volunteers to consider helping in.
Volunteers are needed in and around the capital city of Chisinau to teach English to learners of all ages. As many Moldovan schools were constructed in the Soviet era, the facilities are very basic, and the availability of quality teachers is low. Volunteers are needed in Moldova to help individuals improve their English conversation skills, and provide creative language lessons to students despite the limited resources. Most times, this is the only opportunity for Moldovans to interact with native English speakers, as traveling is too much of a luxury for the typical Moldovan family.
The presence of orphans is an unfortunate reality for Moldovan society, with more than 200 children not having a home. As a volunteer, you will be able to give these children the playtime and attention they deserve, in addition to helping with everyday tasks around the orphanage. Some orphanages in Moldova are smaller and privately run - choose which type of environment you prefer to work in!
Moldova’s hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities are quickly dilapidating; the Moldovan health care system is currently under a multi-year transition which has made the services more difficult to access and of poorer quality. Volunteers are needed in the medical field to create lasting partnerships with health care providers in Moldova and to provide actual care to needy patients. Helping hands are also needed in general maintenance of health care facilities.
Volunteering abroad ensures a culturally immersive experience - not only will you be giving back to the planet, but you will also be investing in yourself and your skills. You will be able to work in community with people of all backgrounds and age groups for a common cause, ultimately giving you new perspectives on life. Additionally, employers are increasingly attracted to candidates with volunteer abroad experience, as it showcases a strong sense of self-confidence and problem-solving skills, and often indicates that your heart is in the right place.
Volunteer abroad in Moldova and take a peek into a country in transition; witness firsthand the legacies of Moldova’s past as it charges into the future. Gain practical real-world skills and make a lifetime of memories - who knows what you’ll find there!
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Moldova
If you do not speak Russian or Romanian, you may find it difficult to navigate the medical care in Moldova. It is recommended that you take a trip to your doctor/physician prior to going for a general check up - be sure you are up to date with routine shots! In a case where you do run into an emergency, you may be required to pay the Moldovan hospital immediately; travel and medical insurance is highly advised.
The streets of Chisinau are hotbeds for street crime and petty theft; be sure to be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas. Avoid using credit card or ATMs whenever possible as fraud is a growing threat in the country. Otherwise, travel smartly and always be aware of your surroundings!
Contributed by Megan Lee