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Andrea Carman, Bucharest

Who are you?

My name is Andrea Carman (Canadian) and I’ve been living in Bucharest, Romania for close to 8 years.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Bucharest because I wanted more international experiences, having lived in Mexico prior to my European move.As Thoreau wrote once upon a time, “I felt like I had more lives to live.”

What challenges did you face during the move?

Challenges included learning an entirely new language, cuisine, and culture, which I found invigorating. For me, every day was “new” in the way that I never knew what to expect; Bucharest is an idiosyncratic environment. It keeps you on your toes in more ways than one!

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How did you find somewhere to live?

Finding a place to live was made easier through my job as they offered assistance. I think I saw about eight apartments before making my final choice: the Romanian decor was very Eastern, in a mixed pattern and colour mixture I wasn’t a big fan of. I had to do some re-decorating, to say the least.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There aren’t many other expats in my area, but I joined the local gym and made friends with a few Romanians, most of whom speak English.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

The locals in Bucharest and in Romania in general, are very welcoming, interested in ex-pats and love speaking English with me which is probably why my Romanian is so bad.

What do you like about life where you are?

What I love about living here is that it’s a city on the move: new restaurants, cafes, bars, events and opportunities are continually present. The country has an incredible array of offerings including beaches, mountains, historical sites and if you want to leave town for the weekend, there are cheap flights to Turkey, Italy, Greece and more. NEVER a dull moment! I just booked a trekking adventure to Mt. Etna in Sicily.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Dislikes are few, but the distance from my family in Canada is not a plus. Fortunately, they like to travel so we can organise meet-ups in various international destinations. We are all meeting for Christmas in Rome!

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest cultural difference would be the economic one. Things here are about a third less than in Canada, so my style of living on my ex-pat salary is much better than expected. I can afford to travel more and that is hugely important to me.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

The food here is amazing. Bucharest has an immense selection of international eateries at accessible prices. The same goes for beer and wine, and Romanian wines are highly regarded by connoisseurs. A beer here is about $1.50 Canadian, so drink up!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

The advice I’d offer to anyone thinking about taking the plunge is to just go ahead and do it. I have had countless rewarding experiences as an ex-pat and my life is definitely the richer for having made the move. Everyone would be surprised about what you can accomplish once you leave your comfort zone.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future include more travel and to live life to the fullest! Oh, and ski season is coming…

You can keep up to date with Andrea's adventure on Instagram

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