Come live in Europe while volunteering in this unique orphanage program.
ILP (International Language Programs) has a few different programs in quite a few countries. But choosing to do one of the humanitarian programs in Romania means you'll be a part of one of the most unique ILP program out there! Instead of teaching English, you'll be helping out in our orphanage program.
We have quite the soft spot for our orphanage program in Romania. Here, there's an opportunity to work with children with mild to severe disabilities in a few capacities. Some volunteers will be working with children in a most home-like setting. Others will be working with families, carving for children who may be in a wheelchair or are semi-mobile.
Be a part of our European orphanage program
All about volunteering in Romania
No matter how you're helping, you'll be spending lots of time loving these kids, singing songs, sharing stickers, and swapping smiles!
Volunteer In An Orphanage With ILP
What Is This Program All About?
International Language Programs (ILP) is a non-profit organization that gives college-age volunteers a chance to spend a semester living in another country and serving the people there. The ILP orphanage program we have is in Iasi, Romania.
ILP volunteers typically serve by helping children learn English, but the program in Romania is really unique. Volunteers serve by spending time with children in an orphanage — part of that includes volunteering in the orphanage-extension apartments, where children from the orphanage live in a more family-like setting. It's a really special experience (read more about that system in Romania here). Volunteers may also provide respite care for parents who are struggling to take care of a child with challenging needs.
How Will I Be Helping?
The chance to volunteer in Europe means time to explore all the cities on your bucket list, but we love even more how you'll be helping when you volunteer in an orphanage here with ILP. These children all have unique needs, and volunteers are there to help them with fundamental, physical developments and milestones (like helping a child learn to crawl or walk). These children have their basic needs met, but the orphanage needs help giving these children more — more one on one time and love, more connection, more teaching.
Depending on where you’re serving, volunteers crawl around with young children, and play games outside in the yard with the older children. Stretch tired legs and arms while singing songs to the kids who can’t leave their beds. Work with children who don’t receive the attention necessary to develop basic social skills, like learning how to share or not to shout. Help parents who are fostering children with difficulties. Serve in apartments with orphans who are trying to adjust to a more family-like setting. There are many ways to help in Romania.
The way you are serving seems small and maybe even insignificant. Moments of singing until a sick child cracks a smile, laughing while you place stickers on smiling faces, or realizing that the shyest girl in your room now lights up when you walk into her room. They are small moments, but mark huge levels of success.
If you’re excited to give back with your time, attention, and love through these acts of service, Romania’s the spot for you. You can get a glimpse into what it's like to volunteer in Romania here.
What About When I'm Not Volunteering?
ILP volunteers live here for a semester with a team of other ILP volunteers. You'll be serving children up to 20 hours per week and have the rest of the time to immerse in the culture and explore Romania as well as other parts of Europe!
First off, where you're living is a dream. Your city is tucked near the border of Moldova, complete with an impressive Parliament Building and more churches than you can count. There's a saying about Iasi that goes something like this: You'll never be able to toss a stone in Iasi without breaking a church window. From Iasi, you're just a quick bus or train ride to some of the most impressive sites in Romania.
Like we mentioned, you will have every weekend free, along with scheduled vacation time to visit all the other cities on your bucket list (talk about the perks of living in Europe and traveling all over Europe in the same semester!) Here's how vacations work for ILP volunteers.
Hear From Past Volunteers
Wondering what things are really like? We've pulled some advice from volunteers who spent a semester in Romania to help you know the insider scoop about this European program:
Why Did You Choose The Romanian Orphanage Program?
"I was searching for a way to serve ... and wanted to devote my time to people other than myself." — Sadie
"I decided to volunteer because I was looking for a safe place to do humanitarian work and immerse myself in a foreign country." — Aubrey
"I went to an ILP meeting up at BYUI my second semester and the idea was in the back of my mind for a while. I finally signed up with ILP and was assigned to teach in Asia ... I was all ready to go. Then, I was in my developmental psychology class up at BYUI and I read in my textbook on a section about the development of children and the importance of human interactions and time spent with each child, especially those with special needs ... it struck something with me". — Anonymous
"I had seen the Romania program on the ILP website but hadn't really considered it until then. I went right home and researched it and started thinking about switching. I was hesitant because of my finances but really felt that Romania was the place I needed to go, and so I made it work. I knew Romania was where I needed to go and it was where I felt I could make the biggest difference and have the kids impact me." — Sierra
Why Did You Choose ILP?
"ILP has rules to keep us safe and attract people that genuinely want to volunteer. I also chose ILP because of the price you pay for what you are receiving. Most programs charge the $5,000+ for two weeks abroad, and ILP is about 3-4 months." — Brooke
"As I searched for a program to go with I wanted to be sure I'd be safe traveling especially since this is my first experience outside of the U.S." — Sadie
"When I heard of the Romania program, I knew it was the program for me because you have the chance to help someone and truly make a change every single day. Also, I had been to other countries through ILP before, so I knew that my needs would be met and that it would be a safe program to go through." — Ashley
"I chose ILP because it fit well in my life. I felt safe knowing that everyone was being held to high standards and loved the idea of learning a new culture and language." — McKenna
What Advice Would You Give To Future Volunteers?
"While you're here, do everything you possibly can ... (G)et to know Romania! Speaking the language isn't required but it's sure going to help a ton if you learn more than just the basics you need to get by." — Sadie
"Give your all to these kids. They need all the love they can get. If you love them they will love you in return." — McKenna
"You will see hard things, but know they are loved and cared for. We are here to help and cherish them with all our heart, and to help these kids reach certain goals in order to get into a foster family ... You will learn a lot, and work a ton, but it is worth every penny because the difference you make!" — Brooke
Where Can I Learn More?
We have lots and lots of resources to help you get to know your newest favorite country and info on how you'll be helping.
Visit our country page to learn all about Romania, travel and country specifics. You can get a glimpse into what an actual day looks like, where you'll be living, and a hint at some of your go-to vacation spots.
Wondering why Romania is such a unique program? You can compare the differences between the Teaching English Programs and the Orphanage Program.
How Did This Program Get Started?
If ILP is focused on teaching English, why do we have an orphanage program? How our orphanage program in Europe got its start just adds to how special Romania really is.
In the early 1990s, there was a program through BYU that gave students the opportunity to live and teach English abroad. Due to the nature of the program not fitting academic requirements, the program was discontinued after a few semesters. Some of the volunteers loved the program so much that they wanted to see it grow, so they started a little organization known as International Language Programs.
A similar situation created opportunity for ILP to expand its program into Romania.
We wanted to give a shout out to all of the dedicated former BYU Orphanage Program Romania interns who have done so much to support the orphanage and give their love and dedication to the kids. We especially want to thank the handful of former BYU Romania interns who took it upon themselves to make sure that the orphanage continued to get the help that it needed by being very persistent with ILP. Because of them, ILP was able to start a program here. Thank you!
I Love The Idea Of Volunteering In Europe At An Orphanage! What Do I Do Now?
We have great news for you — we're currently accepting applications for this unique program! Once you apply, you'll be put in touch with someone who can answer all of your questions and help you complete your application. Your ILP rep will be there all along to help you prep for your semester volunteering at an orphanage in Romania!
Ready to spend a semester making a difference at an orphanage?
You'll be put in touch with someone who can answer questions, give more details, and help you make your dream a reality.