Animal Care Volunteer Project in Romania - Miercurea Ciuc
Love pooches and hounds of all shapes and sizes and want to look after them as an Animal Care volunteer in Romania? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project is a great opportunity for volunteers to assist at local shelters for mistreated or abandoned dogs. Volunteers gain experience caring for animals while providing important support at the shelter which can house hundreds of dogs in need of loving care, attention and positive social experiences so they have the best chance of finding their forever homes.
- Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
- Affordable fees from $479 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Exercise, play with, feed and groom neglected and abandoned dogs
Explore Romania’s historic castles and towns
Stay with other volunteers in charming Miercurea Ciuc
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
Local dog shelters are important institutions in Romania, keeping dogs off the street and providing them with their daily basic needs with the hope of getting rehomed. Animals are commonly mistreated or abandoned, and volunteers are needed to help local staff give the required attention to all the dogs at the shelter.
As an Animal Care volunteer you will help to protect the animals, providing companionship, basic 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
- Occasionally walking dogs
- Providing positive social experiences for the dogs so they’re ready to be adopted.
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.
- The Animal Care project is a 20min cycle, 40min walk or short bus ride away from the volunteer accommodation. The local team has bicycles available for you to use if you wish.
- 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.
Why do Animal Care volunteering in Miercurea Ciuc with IVHQ?
When you volunteer with animals in Romania you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Supporting local initiatives to care for neglected animals
- Giving abandoned and stray dogs a chance to get rehomed
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining animal care experience
- Immersing yourself in Romanian culture
- Exploring Romania’s historic cities
- Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
- All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Romania photo gallery
”Don’t let the opportunity to experience a life changing adventure slip by. You are about to make unforgettable memories.”
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IVHQ’s Romanian projects are based in and around Miercurea Ciuc - a town in the Harghita county of Romania. It lies in the Székely Land, an Hungarian-speaking region in eastern Transylvania. It has an interesting history, pretty European architecture spanning centuries, an annual music festival, a Catholic pilgrimage, and winter temperatures that reach -30°C or −22 °F, which makes it the perfect place for cold season sports like ice hockey and speed skating.
Arrival and orientation
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. Alternatively, you can arrive into Cluj Napoca Airport (CLJ) which will incur an additional pick up fee of 400 lei, $100. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
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. There are two options for orientation in Romania, a One-Day Orientation and an Orientation Week.
One-Day Orientation: This 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, 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.
Introduction Week: This takes place during the first week of your program. This introduction week has an extra cost of $540 and is very popular among IVHQ volunteers. It includes everything on the One-Day Orientation as well as Hungarian lessons, trips to a castle, a Franciscan monastery, local villages, salt mines, a giant statue of Jesus Christ, museums, mountains and mineral springs. You’ll have the weekend free to do as you please before your specific placement orientation the following Monday. 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 Introduction 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 Introduction, you’ll need to tell your IVHQ Program Manager in advance. You need to book a place and pay for this week before your volunteer program starts.
Volunteer schedule example
Start times and daily workload depends on the project that you are volunteering on, with some beginning in the morning and some in the afternoon. 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.|
|1:00 - 2:00 PM||Lunch. Volunteers either eat lunch at a local restaurant or, in some cases, at their placement.|
|3:00 - 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 and have the remainder of the evening free.|
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 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.
Accommodation and WiFi
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.
The accommodation is based centrally and is a 10-minute walk to the local team’s office, close to many cafes and restaurants. Bedding is provided and towels are available on request.
An accommodation manager lives in a self-contained apartment onsite, and is responsible for purchasing the food for the accommodation. 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.
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 to 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. 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 can place specific food requests with him if they wish.
If you choose to eat away from the accommodation, you can typically expect the main meal of the day to be lunch with two courses. The first course is always a traditional soup which is followed by the second course 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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||$479 Equivalent to $68/day|
|2 weeks||$842 Equivalent to $60/day|
|3 weeks||$1,109 Equivalent to $53/day|
|4 weeks||$1,376 Equivalent to $49/day|
|5 weeks||$1,639 Equivalent to $47/day|
|6 weeks||$1,902 Equivalent to $45/day|
|8 weeks||$2,428 Equivalent to $43/day|
|10 weeks||$2,954 Equivalent to $42/day|
|12 weeks||$3,466 Equivalent to $41/day|
|16 weeks||$4,490 Equivalent to $40/day|
|20 weeks||$5,496 Equivalent to $39/day|
|24 weeks||$6,496 Equivalent to $39/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Romania generally find US$60 to be sufficient for weekly expenses including, transportation, water and miscellaneous spending.
Hungarian and Romanian 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 private class = US$30 (recommended for short term volunteers)
- One hour private class = US$15
These language lessons can be booked directly through IVHQ once you have registered for the Romania program.
Check what's required to visit Romania
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Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 upon arrival
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Currency||Romanian Leu (RON)|
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.