Hello! We are Romania team 9 participating in the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program teaching English to the Romanian 33rd Mountain Battalion. We come from various areas around the United States, bringing diversity and new ideas to our group. Follow our journey as we explore beautiful Romania and learn how to work together as a team for the betterment of others.
This first week has been a lot of traveling for us. We left Fort Knox and three connecting flights later we finally arrived in Romania. For many of us this is the first time ever traveling over-seas. For the first couple of days we had the luxury of staying in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. During our stay we were able to experience different views and the culture of the capital. We even witnessed the International Fair and an old Romanian wedding tradition called the “stealing of the bride.” The International Fair included different cultures (Italian, German, Danish,…extra) dressed in representative costumes. For example, Holland parade marchers wore large flower outfits and Italy involved intricate devil and fairy outfits perched on large stilts.
It was amazing to see them balance on their stilts while walking on the wet cobblestone!
A few days later, we left Bucharest for Curtea de Argeș, where the 33rd Mountain Battalion is located.
These long bus rides can be exhausting!
The little town of Curtea de Argeș is vastly different from the crowded city. We enjoy the freedom of being able to walk around the town and explore the small shops. A few high speed Cadets have already established a run route in the town to work on some personal PT.
Meeting the 33rd Mountain Battalion
After officially settling into our new place, we prepared ourselves to finally meet the 33rd Mountain Battalion. We were given an introduction ceremony and assigned to a second lieutenant who will be around for us throughout our stay. At the ceremony, we were all impressed by the Romanian marching skills. After formal introductions we were brought to the classroom that we will spend our time teaching the NCO’s. Here, it was time for us to introduce ourselves to the class—as a collective our team decided to create a PowerPoint with personal pictures of each of us. This allowed us to tell a little about about our families and where we come from; the NCOs then asked us questions in English about our life or families. After each Cadet presented something about themselves, we had two NCO’s come up and to the best of their ability describe a little about themselves in English. This allowed us to recognize the skill level of the NCO’s.
First Teaching Day
The next day the NCO’s were arranged in groups based on skill level and each Cadet from our team is assigned to a different skill level ranging from intermediate and advanced to beginner. Most of us were a bit nervous for our first day of teaching and were unsure of how it would go. After our first presentation, we separated into our groups and began group discussions about Romanian money versus American money. At lunch, we discovered that different techniques work for each group and we must accommodate the daily teaching to work best with each group of NCO’s. After a long day of teaching and learning on both parts, we took a break and played soccer! We were no match to the Romanian NCO’s but we had a fantastic time and it was a great team building activity!