- Romania was a member of the communist block before 1990.
- Expats and foreigners can expect to find much in Romania that may initially seem strange and may inspire a fair degree of culture shock.
- That said, there are more and more expats substantiating that the challenges faced when adjusting to the way of life in this Eastern European nation are diminishing, as compared to the past.
- Foreigners should keep in mind that culturally, many locals are guarded, and sometimes seem abrupt or rude. This should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as most Romanians are warm, friendly and welcoming once you’ve gotten past their hard exteriors.
- The largest degree of culture shock in Romania mostly comes from the country’s absurd bureaucracy, corruption and poor infrastructure.
Language barrier in Romania
- The official language of the country is Romanian, a Latin language linked to French, Italian and Spanish and seasoned with some Slavic influences. The second most widely spoken language is Hungarian, a language more common to Transylvania than to any other region of Romania.
- Foreigners will find that in major cities good English speakers are easy to come by, and are often eager to help, guide you on your way or even to walk with you for a while. Furthermore, expat English speakers will be able to complete basic transactions, like grocery shopping or opening a bank account, with as little knowledge of Romanian.
- This is not the case in small towns or tiny villages though, where the level of English proficiency notably declines.
- Tipping is the norm in Romania. Tipping in restaurants/bars/clubs is appropriate in Bucharest. Romanian waiters receive a very small hourly wage because their employers expect that customers will tip them. There are many waiters who expect to be tipped just because this is the norm and don’t understand that tip should be given only in exchange for very good service.
- A tip is normally not added onto a restaurant bill.
Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs and Prostitution
- Best known internationally for its cheap yet good wine, Romania also offers some decent beer and very strong spirits:tuica, palinca, visinata.
- Although smoking is forbidden by law in public places, many adults in Romania are smokers and unfortunately, some of those who do smoke have little regard of non-smokers' comfort.
- This is a ‘zero tolerance’ country. Just do not do it! Penalties are draconian.
- Prostitution is not legal in Romania, so act accordingly.
Inconveniences in Romania
- Small inconveniences are drivers disregarding the rules of the road (and even rules of the pavement), Traffic, specifically, can be an absolute nightmare for any expat living and working in Romania, and many may be surprised to learn that Romania has the worst safety statistics in Europe.