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Animal Care In Miercurea Ciuc

Local dog shelters are important institutions for both animals and locals in Romania, keeping dogs off the street and providing them with their daily basics with the hope of getting re-homed. Animals are commonly mistreated or abandoned, and volunteers are needed to help local staff deal to give the required attention to all the dogs at the shelter.

Volunteers help to protect the animals, providing companionship, medical treatment and opportunities for play. You’ll be responsible for brushing the dogs, providing basic obedience training, cleaning cages, assisting with feeding and playing, maintaining the shelter grounds and occasionally walking them. A key aspect of your role is to provide positive social experiences for the dogs so they’re ready to be adopted.

Animal Care volunteer in Romania with IVHQ

Depending on your program duration, you may also be able to assist with some small construction projects at the shelter, photography, administration and vaccination campaigns in the community. All dogs are fully vaccinated.

The shelter in Miercurea Ciuc is in better condition than many other Romanian shelters, but is different to Western European standards, so you’ll need to be prepared for this. There are hundreds of dogs and the shelter tends to get quite muddy, so you’ll also need to dress accordingly.

It’s important to note that volunteers participating from October until February need to be prepared for very cold conditions, as most project work is based outdoors. You can expect ​a lot of snow and​ for​ the terrain to be muddy.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $360 for 1 week
  • Volunteer in a local shelter for abandoned and mistreated dogs

  • Help with playing, feeding and cleaning, with the aim of having dogs adopted by new families

  • Suited to animal-loving volunteers who don’t mind getting dirty

  • Volunteering for up to 8 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Romania at a glance
  • Based in the town of Miercurea Ciuc in central Romania

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer apartment

  • Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in Romania each month

The IVHQ Romania volunteer program is based in the town, Miercurea Ciuc, Harghita which lies in the Székely Land, an ethno-cultural region in eastern Transylvania, and is situated in the Olt River Valley.

Volunteers can begin the IVHQ Romania volunteer program on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks, although the Special Needs Care projects has a 2 week minimum duration. The first day of your volunteer program will be orientation, after which you will begin your volunteer placement.

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Miercurea Ciuc the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flight to arrive at Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation. Alternatively, you can arrive into Cluj Napoca Airport (CLJ) ​which will incur an additional pick up fee of 400 lei (​about ​$100).

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night prior to your start date.

If you are traveling in Romania prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a pre-arranged location in Miercurea Ciuc the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Romania team at their office in Miercurea Ciuc. It begins Monday morning and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Romania – Introduction to Romania, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for language lessons, and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

There are two options for orientation in Romania:

The first option is a standard full-day induction on your selected start date that covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Romania. You’ll be provided with an introduction to Romania, including Transylvania, Szekelyfold and Harghita counties, meet the program staff and get an overview of procedures. You’ll learn about the history of Romania and Hungary, religion, festivals, customs and traditions, dress/clothing, safety issues, food, transportation and travel opportunities and go through details about your volunteer project and accommodation​.​

The afternoon includes an introduction to the Hungarian language and a city tour of Miercurea Ciuc​ which is​ provided by local volunteers.​ ​The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

The second option is a one-week cultural orientation which takes place during the first week of your program. This orientation week has an extra cost of $300 and is very popular among IVHQ volunteers. We recommend all volunteers take advantage of this week as it’s a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in Romania.

The Orientation Week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer work will start the following week. If you wish to participate in the one-week orientation, you’ll need to indicate this to your IVHQ Program Manager in advance. You need to book a place and pay for this week prior before your volunteer program starts. The schedule for the week is outlined below:

Day 1 (Monday): You will get an introduction to Romania, including Transylvania, Szekelyfold and Harghita counties, and be introduced to the program staff and their procedures. They will prepare you for your time volunteering with information on Romania and its Hungarian influences, as well as festivals, customs and traditions, dress/clothing, safety issues, food, transportation and travel opportunities. You will also be given your orientation week schedule and receive details about your volunteer project and accommodation for the following week. You’ll be treated to a welcome lunch and an afternoon city tour of Miercurea Ciuc.

Day 2 (Tuesday): The day begins with an introduction to the Hungarian language followed by a look at travel opportunities in the area and the awesome weekend activities available nearby. In the afternoon you will take a trip to a beautiful castle and Franciscan monastery where you can enjoy the history. You’ll also take a trip to the renowned Red Lake and the impressive road through Bicaz Gorge, with its sheer vertical cliffs and narrow openings.

Day 3 (Wednesday): On the agenda for Wednesday is a visit to a controversial local 72-foot high statue of Jesus Christ, set with a spectacular view of the countryside. You will also visit local villages, known for their intricate pottery and authentic markets. The day concludes with a visit to the spectacular salt mines in Praid, 390 feet below ground.

Day 4 (Thursday): In the morning, you’ll have another Hungarian Language Lesson covering basic letters, greetings and useful vocabulary and expressions. This will help assist you at your volunteer placement. In the afternoon you will visit the ethnographic museum and hike a nearby mountain known as Somlyó, where you can enjoy the panoramic views of Miercurea Ciuc.

Day 5 (Friday): Your first stop on Friday will be a visit to the local natural water springs where you will be able to taste the naturally carbonated mineral water. You will also visit the historical Székely gates and Sighişoara, a medieval Saxon city where you will have lunch at a traditional restaurant and experience a tour of the city. Sighişoara is home to an iconic traditional citadel, which is a UNESCO world heritage site encompassing traditional pastel-colored buildings and unique protective walls and watchtowers.

You’ll have the weekend free to do as you please before your specific placement orientation the following Monday. A local team member will go through the specific details of your volunteering and provide additional guidance and advice where needed.

Please note, daily itineraries are subject to change depending on the weather, venue closures and your specific interests.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation day, you will work for approximately three to five hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:

8.00 AM: Volunteers prepare their ​own ​breakfast at the accommodation.

9.00 AM: Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project. Start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are volunteering on (some placements run in the afternoon, where volunteers will have the morning free, or can join another project).

1.00 - 2.00 PM: Lunch. Volunteers either eat lunch at a local restaurant or, in some cases, at their placement.

3.00 PM/5.00 PM: Afternoon placements usually end. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer accommodation, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.

7.00 PM: Volunteers prepare their dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to use as you wish.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers are accommodated predominantly in one of two neighboring volunteer apartments. The smaller apartment accommodates up to eight ​volunteers per room. The larger apartment with three bedrooms accommodates up to 19 ​volunteers. Rooms are always ​separated by gender.

Th​e ​accommodation is based centrally and is within 10 minutes walking distance to the ​local team’s office, and close to many cafes and restaurants. Bedding is provided and towels are available on request. An accommodation manager lives in a self-contained apartment on-site, and is responsible for purchasing the food for the accommodation, as well as all general maintenance issues. A cleaner is provided twice a week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms and the common areas tidy. A washing machine is available for volunteers to keep their clothing and bedding fresh.

If you have any specific requests in regards to your accommodation, please let your IVHQ Program Manager know. Our local team will do their best to make arrangements for you, but it may not always be possible.

WiFi is available at the volunteer apartments, as well as at many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, you can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone.

Volunteers can request a single room with access communal bathrooms and kitchen, which is subject to availability. The cost for this accommodation upgrade is $50 ​per week and can be arranged with our local team once you have registered for the program.

Volunteers are provided with one cooked meal per day whil​e​ on project. This meal is provided either at a local restaurant or ​at your placement. Breakfast, dinner and weekend meals are self-​prepared using supplies in the volunteer accommodation. Food is purchased on a regular basis by the Accommodation Manager, and volunteers have the option to place their specific food requests directly to him.

If you choose to eat away from the accommodation, you can typically expect the main meal of the day to be lunch with 2 courses: the first course always being a traditional soup, followed by the second course, which can consist of potato or rice dishes, chicken, pork, goulash or stews and pasta dishes. Bread is commonly served with all meals and as it’s often made with potatoes it can be quite heavy. Vegetarians can expect to be offered either cheese or mushroom dishes as a general norm at restaurants.

Romania

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $360
2 weeks $550
3 weeks $730
4 weeks $900
5 weeks $1,060
6 weeks $1,220
8 weeks $1,540
10 weeks $1,860
12 weeks $2,180
16 weeks $2,780
20 weeks $3,380
24 weeks $3,980
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Romania generally find US$60 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • Deals on flights and travel insurance
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of things to do in Harghita or further afield in Romania. Volunteers can fill their free time with local markets, adventure activities or simply exploring parts of Harghita. Romania is a popular tourist destination, offering beautiful nature and scenery, with great trekking, climbing, biking, rafting and kayaking opportunities. Volunteers who wish to take a long weekend to travel can enjoy the beautiful limestone mountains and explore Old World Europe. Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Romania and neighboring countries such as Hungary and Bulgaria. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Miercurea Ciuc, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

See our Romania Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Romania!

Capital Bucharest
Population 20 Million
Languages Romanian
Currency Romanian Leu (RON)
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate: Romania has a temperate-continental climate with distinct seasons, cold winters and hot summers. Daytime temperatures in winter range from 0°C to 5°C and in the summers months 25°C to 30°C. The IVHQ Romania program is based in Transylvania where the average temperatures are a little more extreme than the average.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental/guardian consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Volunteers under the age of 18 can only participate on the Agriculture, NGO Support, Summer Camp and Animal Care projects.

If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ also offers a Supervised Youth Adventure program in Romania. Visit our Supervised Youth Adventure page to to learn more.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Romania.

Fluency in Romanian or Hungarian is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Romania volunteer program. However we recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Romania. Volunteers find that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Romanian or Hungarian lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Romania

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Volunteer Language Lessons

We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable Hungarian and Romanian lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by local language teachers. These language courses are organized during your program orientation and are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Hungarian or Romanian. We believe that taking these lessons can help you immensely with your day to day volunteer work and communicating with local people.

  • Three hour intensive class - one person = US$25 (recommended for short term volunteers)
  • One hour - one person = US$12.50
  • One hour - five person group = US$4.50 per person
  • Three hour intensive class - five person group = US$7 per person

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!