Volunteerism vs Voluntourism — Romania


Termín konání: 16-25 October 2019

Místo konání: Busteni, Romania

Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Youth exchange

Venue: Busteni, Romania

Dates: 16-25 October 2019

Participants: Quang Hai Nguyen, Zdeňka Jarošová, Kateřina Kvapilová

Host organisation:

Group leader: Jitka Jurníková

Please read the info-pack & daily programme

Participating countries: Czechia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of North Macedonia, Poland and Romania

Video from project:  https://youtu.be/woiggv7ojdA


Project report: Volunteerism vs. Voluntourism – Romania


Are you volunteer or voluntourist? We were thinking about this question during our stay in mountain city Bușteni in Romania. For 8 days group of almost 40 young people from 8 European countries met to discuss this topic. We spent first days getting to know each other and learning about Erasmus+. We were very lucky about weather, every day was sunny and temperature reached 22 degrees, so we could walk to the waterfalls in mountains and we could spend one morning in forest, where we played some teambuilding activities and created land art with topic of volunteering. It is very necessary to explain, how organizers defined a volunteer. For purpose of this project volunteer is participant of youth exchanges and training courses (or other projects under Erasmus+). After we understood the definition, we could share our experiences being volunteers. For many people this project was first experience, but also we learned about situation of volunteering in each country, this time we understood volunteer as a person how does work for free. Then we had several workshops about qualities of volunteers, preparation for project, spreading results of project. Organizers planned many group activities, teamwork, we had to create some posters or make role plays. Also they explained us concept of world café, when we discussed several topics about volunteering. We also focused on voluntourists, as we discussed what could be their main motivation to take part in project and how they can affect the group dynamic, but we also tried to understand what could be hidden reasons why voluntourist doesn´t participate in activities during project.


My opinion is that last days of project were the strongest experiences for many participants. We spent last 3 days with world school debate. Firstly we learned what it means and how it works, then 8 teams were created. We got 2 questions for debating, first motion was „Voluntourists should be put on the black list by European Commission.“ and second was „Volunteers should be paid for their work“. In each debate there were 2 teams ( government and opposition) and they discussed one topic from their point of view. Main purpose was to persuade the judges (group leaders) about their true, so team should find strong arguments and examples as well as responds for arguments of other team. After few rounds of debates we experienced very interesting and exciting final debate. This activity was very demanding but I think participants could get the most from it – experiences from speaking publicly and debating. As a reward we all could go for a trip last day. Organizers took us to Bran castle where we listened to the legend about Dracula, then we visited fortress in Rašnov and we also spent few hours in beautiful city of Brašov.


At the end I can´t forget to mention that we had certain programme also for some nights. For youth exchange projects it´s typical that each country tries to present their culture, this project wasn´t different, so we tasted typical food and drinks of each country and tried folk dances. We had a lot of fun because as a part of intercultural nights we had to present other countries, for example with presentation, quiz, video or short theatre scene.

Jitka Jurníková

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