Love the idea of a semester abroad in Europe, but worried about the cost? Don't worry, there are tons of little ways to save some cash.
While you're volunteering with ILP (and volunteering in an orphanage in Romania) you'll have lots of time to snuggle up those cute babies and really make a difference ... but you'll also have lots of time to shop around, get some rad souvenirs and test out a ton of the local food.
Want to know more?
Learn more about volunteering in an orphanage with ILP.
Because you’ll be living in Romania for a whole semester you’ll have tons of weekends and afternoons to really experience what this country has to offer. We’re big fans of scoping out every museum, testing some local treats, and hanging out with your group but we’re also big fans of finding ways to do all of that for less cash. If you want to save your lei, use these tips!
- Find Some Free Hidden Gems
- Shop At Thrift Stores
- See A Cheap Movie
- Host Your Own Tasting Menu
- Visit Free Museums
Find Some Free Hidden Gems
See if you can have a day of exploring the best of what Iasi has to offer, without spending any money. As a part of your ILP program fee, all meals are covered so after you have lunch, take a self guided walking tour to see some of the sites of your city. Here are a few things to see in your city that don’t charge a fee:
The Palace Of Culture
It’s a stunning palace you’ll want to visit more than once. Inside you can pay to visit a few of the museums (but get a huge discount with a student ID), but you can keep it free by just walking around the grounds outside and hanging out on the steps for sunset.
Get more info about the Palace of Culture here.
This Gorgeous Library
The Gheorghe Asachi Technical University Library is, in a word, gorgeous. The school itself has been around for over 200 years and you can feel that history on campus, especially in the library. Books are neatly stacked in old wooden shelves behind glass, but the main attraction has to be the intricately carved and decorated walls and ceilings. If you love libraries, you’ll have to visit.
Free to visit
Address: Bulevardul Carol I no. 11A | Gheorghe Asachi Technical University, Iasi 700506, Romania
Tour Some Monasteries
The city you’ll live in is dotted with churches and monasteries, and most don’t cost anything to enter. Some groups suggest just walking towards one steeple then once you arrive at the church, find another steeple to walk towards, etc. It makes for an adventure filled day!
One monastery in particular to pay attention to is Treo Ierarhi. Like most in your city, it’s hundreds of years old, but what makes Treo Ierarhi special is all the hand-carved details that blanket the exterior and interior. It’s stunning.
Here’s the address: Bulevardul Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt 28, Iași 700259, Romania
We have a bit long list of free things to do in Iasi if you want more ideas: it includes gems like Copou Park, the botanical gardens, etc.
Shop At Thrift Stores
We love the malls in Iasi, but they come with a full-ticket price if you want to buy a sweater to keep you warm in the fall or come home with a new pair of earrings. Our pick? Shop at a thrift store instead. It’s more of an adventure to see what you can find in bins of jewelry, rows of shoes, and racks of clothing. Some stores in Europe will charge you per piece, and others will charge you a price depending on how heavy your bag of clothes ends of weighing.
Magazin Mobila Second Hand Emmaus Iasi is a fun thrift store that carries a whole array of items you didn’t know you wanted. Like any thrift store their inventory is changing all of the time, but you can find fun household treasures, furniture, clothing, books, etc. It’s like an eclectic flea market that’s just waiting for you to check out.
Address:Strada Sfântul Petru Movilă
Hours: Monday, 1:00 - 6:00 PM
Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
One’s Outlet is more of your pick if you want to shop for clothing items and accessories. Find bags, purses, sweaters, jackets, shirts, dresses, scarves, shoes and other finds at this thrift store.
Address: Bloc CL1, Strada Bacinschi 6, Iași, Romaia
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
See A Cheap Movie
If you want a cheap night out, opt to see a movie with your ILP group — there are a couple of movie theaters to check out (we recommend Cinema City in the Iulius mall). Most of the movies are in English, but some are dubbed (the schedule in the theater and their online site can tell you if it’s dubbed or not).
Also, to save even more, bring your own 3D glasses (there are some from past groups in one of the apartments). Most movies are in 3D and they charge you for glasses, so bring some from the Head Teacher apartment to save a few lei.
Host Your Own Tasting Menu
We talked to a few ILP Romania volunteers about their favorite things about Iasi and more than a few said the food. So all three meals are covered as a part of your ILP Program fee, but it’s still fun to try the local food! One way to do that and save is to grab your ILP group and each buy a pastry, but split it into a few pieces so you get to taste a bunch of different kinds while you're only spending the lei to buy one. This works with pastries, chocolate, candies, ice cream flavors ... you name it.
Visit Free Museums
On the first Sunday of every month, some museums let you in for free — here are a couple of check out:
Bojdeuca Ion Creangă
Bojdeuca Ion Creangă is the home of the famed Romanian writer. It’s a small home filled with original documents and pieces of his life. Overall, the home creates a peek into traditional life in Romania from the 1800’s. Ion Creanga is one of the most famous authors from this country, so his rustic home is a big part of Romania’s history.
Address: Strada Simion Bărnuţiu nr. 4, Iași 700118, Romania
Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Closed Mondays)
Free to visit on the 1st Sunday of the month, but it’s only 5 lei to visit otherwise.
The Mihai Eminiescu Museum
The Mihai Eminiescu Museum is found Copou Park (another thing you should check out) and is home to exhibitions honoring Romania’s most famous poet, Mihai Eminescu. Check out historic photographs, books, texts, plus a painting and sculpture collection. If you head upstairs, you can check out an exhibition on theater where original costumes, posters, and other memorabilia are on display.
Address: Find it in Copou Park
Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, closed Mondays
Free to visit on the 1st Sunday of the month
Romania on a budget is totally do-able.
Interested in volunteering abroad at the Romanian orphanage? Learn more about the program here or just start your application.