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Relocating to Romania – An interview with Dmytro Dobrovolskyi

Relocating to Romania – An interview with Dmytro Dobrovolskyi

Relocating to a new country is always a challenge, and when doing so with your family, there are even more factors to consider. Several hurdles exist, from finding a new home to adapting to a different environment, language, and culture. However, with research, preparation and a positive attitude, you can make the transition as smooth as possible. In this blog, we will explore the crucial aspects that Dmytro Dobrovolskyi and his family faced when relocating from Ukraine to Romania.

Dmytro Dobrovolskyi spent 40 years in Ukraine and is a husband and father of a 12-year-old son. The idea of relocating to another country had been on his mind for a long time, but it was a difficult decision. Each time Dmytro received a relocation offer, his response was "no." However, due to the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022, his family had to make a rapid and decisive choice last year.

Dmytro, tell us what made you choose Romania as your new country.

When making this decision, we considered moving to one of the countries closest to Ukraine, which shared similar living conditions, traditions and mindsets. Thanks to its pleasant climate and similar religion and traditions, Romania stood out to us. After living here for a year, it was the right choice for my family.

What were the first steps you needed to take while relocating, and what helped you to make the relocation and adaptation process as smooth as possible?

Relocating involves numerous considerations, such as finding an apartment, obtaining a phone subscription, and enrolling children in new schools, amongst other things. The People Team at EPAM Romania assisted me during the relocation process, guiding me through the initial steps of settling in Romania. They helped me secure an apartment and provided valuable tips for starting my new journey. Additionally, my new Romanian colleagues were incredibly helpful, reaching out online to offer assistance in any way they could.

Which city did you choose to relocate to, and where do you live now? Also, can you tell us what made you choose this city?

Initially, we lived in Bucharest, Romania's capital, which resembles my native city of Kyiv. The architecture in Bucharest is impressive, featuring a blend of modern skyscrapers, historic buildings and churches. I discovered numerous points of interest and beautiful parks, making it an ideal place for our quick adaptation.

We decided to find a quieter town to live near Bucharest. After careful consideration, we relocated to Targoviste, a small and cozy town 80 km from Bucharest. I was fascinated by the city's rich history, including the famous Chindia Tower built by Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Tepes, the renowned Voivode of Wallachia. Despite its small size, Targoviste boasts well-developed infrastructure, including schools, kindergartens, hospitals, supermarkets, a mall, convenient public transportation, good roads, cinemas, museums and churches.

What I admire most about Romania is its people. Romanians are friendly and always willing to help, regardless of your challenges. Whether it was the neighbors in my apartment building, people on the street, or my colleagues in the office, everyone contributed to making my adaptation as smooth as possible. I fondly recall the first words spoken by my landlord: “Hey, Dmytro, don't hesitate to reach out to me for anything. I'll be your local ‘Google’ guide because I understand how challenging it can be to settle down in a new country.” He truly served as my guide until I became familiar with my surroundings, assisting me with enrolling my son in school, registering with a family doctor, and doing everyday things like finding a garage to change my car’s tires, for example.

How do you deal with cultural differences? Can you give an example of a situation that felt like a cultural shock?

I remember my first day at the EPAM Romania office when I sat there, not knowing anyone, yet everyone passing by my desk greeted me warmly and smiled as if we had known each other for a long time. The local tech support team members gave me a tour of the office and recommended places to eat out. I was genuinely impressed by how people treated one another here. On a broader level, it feels like being part of a big family or a group of old friends who have worked together or known each other for a long time.

Romanian and Ukrainian cuisines share many similarities, which made it easy for me to adapt to the local food. However, I was particularly amazed by the diversity of soups in Romania. Here, you can savor regular soups and “ciorba,” a sour soup with vegetables or meat. But what truly impressed me was the local pastry! Regardless of location, you can always find a small bakery offering freshly baked sweet or savory pastries. I made it a point to try every pastry from the local bakery, and each one was worth savoring.

How do you feel adapted to EPAM Romania? Did you participate in events or enroll in some programs?

Having incredible colleagues helped me adapt swiftly to the new environment. I thoroughly enjoy participating in various EPAM events and gatherings. Last year, we celebrated EPAM's 2nd anniversary, which allowed me to have fun and meet other colleagues. Eventually, I wanted to contribute to shaping the culture in Romania, so I volunteered as a trainer in an educational project for children by teaching Scratch programming to eKids participants.

Where are your favorite places to visit in Romania?

Romania boasts numerous picturesque cities and places to explore, with the mountains offering abundant recreational opportunities. Whether skiing in winter, biking in summer, or having picnics in national parks, there is never a dull moment. If you crave a change of scenery, you can always visit other cities like Sinaia, Brasov, Sibiu, Timisoara, Constanta, and many more. Each city showcases unique architecture that reflects different periods of Romanian history. Romania also has awe-inspiring castles, parks, monuments, and impressive salt mines deep underground. One of my highlights was visiting the "Slanic Prahova" salt mine near Targoviste.

Last summer, we visited Constanta, a coastal city near the Black Sea. I discovered several references to Romania's Roman ancestors there. In the city center, there is a statue depicting a wolf feeding Romulus and Remus, reminiscent of the one in Rome. I also witnessed a fascinating tradition: honor guards dressed in ancient Roman attire who were stationed near the statue. They meticulously guarded the statue, and I had the privilege of witnessing the ceremonial changing of the guard, a remarkable tribute to ancient traditions and origins.

To summarize my story, after living in Romania for a year, I have come to appreciate my spontaneous decision to relocate here with my family. I am immensely grateful to my EPAM colleagues, who assisted me during my initial steps in Romania, ensuring I felt comfortable and quickly adjusted to life in a new country.

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Photos by courtesy of Dmytro Dobrovolskyi.