Is the language barrier in Romania a problem?

Stephanie Katz's picture
By Stephanie Katz - Posted on
05 May 2011
Hi- I'm moving to Romania with my Romanian husband (mind you, he's been living in the States for the last 25 years) and I'm worried that the language barrier will be too much for me to handle. We're going to take care of his sick mother, and though the greater purpose of our journey is a noble one, I'm concerned that I'll be living a life of isolation, consumed by too much sadness. Is it very difficult to communicate with local Romanians if you don't speak the language at all. Do they speak English at all here?
Stephanie's picture
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Language barrier in Romania is certainly a concern and is usually the primary reason expats moving to the Eastern European country cite experiencing so much culture shock.

That said, there's plenty of language schools in the big city, and studying as you're immersed in the culture will speed up the learning curve.

Expats may notice that Romanians do not sugarcoat things. They speak to each other in a straightforward way, I would even say in a borderline blunt manner. That said, they tend to be very patient with those who even give the language a try.

Just say, "Scuze, nu vorbesti Romaneste foarte bine....., and then carry on with the conversation. Most people will even try and help you as you go. Sure, you'll run into the random self-entitled bat out of hell that feels the need to stand on a soapbox and chastise you for your lack of fluency, but just take these people with a grain of salt and don't let it get you down.

Long story short, you'll definitely need to learn a bit of the language, but just consider it an exciting challenge rather than a burden.

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Anonymous's picture

Romanian language is fairly easy to learn...there are many young people who are very interested in speaking a little english with any American...because of the authentic accent we have. You can say :"Vorbesc englezeste" which means I speak only english and they will try to find someone to translate...
Mio (romanian -american)

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