Maia Sethna - Drama in Romania
It was a year ago that I decided it was time to do something different. After hesitation and a dollop of persuasion from my father I set out from Mumbai, India leaving behind the monsoon rains, and journeyed to Brasov, Romania, where I would reside for a month. My nerves ate away at my excitement, I was not quite sure what to expect.
‘What will the people be like? Will they like me? What if something terrible happens? What if I get lost? Will there be a massive culture and language barrier? Will I get bored?’. These were only some of my many apprehensions. I could not help but worry, but I was soon to discover that all my fears could be put to rest.
I could tell that I was in good hands from the moment I was received at the airport by a member from the Projects Abroad team. I immediately took to the beauty that surrounded me, lush green countryside and magnificent hills.
My host mother, Elena welcomed me into her home with an embrace filled with more warmth and love than I have ever received from any stranger. Our relationship blossomed from that moment on. Although there was a language barrier, it did not stop us from communicating with one another. She was eager to know all about me, and I was keen to know more about her culture, language and cuisine.
The Projects Abroad office was not too far away from my residence, which made my commute to work and back each day simple. I was provided with a bus pass and map for my convenience. The team at the office were extremely devoted, creative, fun and went out of their way to ensure that all the volunteers were happy and comfortable at all times.
Along with some of the volunteers I conducted drama lessons for local students who enjoyed performance and theatre and were keen to learn more. I found this work both interesting and helpful, being a drama student myself. We worked on various aspects of performance; voice, movement, improvisation, space awareness and improvisation exercises. We would plan ahead of each class so that we had an outline of things that we needed to cover with the students. We played various drama games as well, allowing the pupils to let loose and drop all their inhibitions, making them more confident.
The students’ parents and friends were keen to see their progress and hence we put together a performance at the end of the month, showcasing their talent. The performance comprised of; short plays (both in English and in Romanian), monologues, poetry narration as well as a singing performance and the volunteers participated in the show as well. We published the show on the radio and posted flyers around the city centre as well. To our delight there wasn’t a vacant seat in the audience, and the show was a success.
Over the month that I spent in Brasov, I formed several close friendships, and even a year later I am in touch with the Projects Abroad team, other volunteers and students. We’d visit restaurants and karaoke bars together, and have movie nights and dinner parties as well. We spent the weekends exploring Brasov, and taking day trips to the various sights the city had to offer; one Sunday a few of us went on a hike, to see the 2nd longest waterfall in Europe.
In a matter of a few weeks I had settled into my new environment. I even found myself fighting back tears whilst bidding farewell to the many friends and acquaintances that I had made, with the promise that we would all meet again. However I left with a sense of enrichment and pride. I had interacted and socialised with people of different ages, cultural backgrounds and ideals, gaining a lot from each individual. I felt proud that all the work we put in paid off in the end and the performance was so well received. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and hope to visit again soon. I will always cherish the fond memories from my month in Brasov, Romania.