The Bucharest expat community is growing every year, as the capital city of Romania keeps on attracting people from all over the world and manages to make them want to stay forever. Whether it is Romania’s growing economy and its affordable prices, its gothic air and its vampire stories or its amazingly hospitable inhabitants and their rustic East European folk tales, foreign people love this country.
I am a native Romanian, but I have been an expat in the UK during my studies and once you get a taste of belonging to an expat community, you pretty much always want to be part of that, even in your own country. There is something special about people who step out of their comfort zones and start living in another country, far from their homelands. They are always fun to hang out with, they always have interesting life stories and have fun hobbies to share with you.
As soon as I got back from the UK, I started joining expat meet-ups in Bucharest and never regretted it. So if you plan on becoming part of Bucharest’s expat community, tune-in and I’ll share with you our secrets;
1. The Best Indian (Clandestine) Restaurant You’ll Ever Visit
I love Indian cuisine and Indian culture, so when I met Amarjit, an Indian expat born in Punjab and raised in Los Angeles, I wanted to know more and more. I soon found out that he is a very good chef and that he is cooking for his friends every week, hosting International Meetings in his incense-scented house in the heart of Bucharest. So when I say clandestine restaurant, what I mean is actually something much, much better: a lovely dinner in the house of one of the warmest people on Earth, surrounded by travelers and expats from all over the world. Everyone sitting inside his modest home on the floor or outside on some colorful benches, is enjoying the best dinner and the best conversations, all thanks to Amarjit.
He does not advertise his food, he does not create events on Facebook, he is simply being an amazing host and cook and people in this community keep talking about him. He looks somewhat like Gandhi, he’s old, but would never mention how old, he’s been a pilot and a journalist, he photographed Nelson Mandela and his stories always keep you coming back for more. He’ll never ask you for money for the food, only for stories – real experiences people can learn from or have a good laugh at, depending on the kind of adventurer you are.
2. Geeks from all over the world, UNITE!
Comic Book Heroes and nerdy games have a way to unite people from all over the world.The expat community in Bucharest seems to be filled with geeks and I am proud to say I am one of them. Whether you love Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman or only go for Marvel characters, whether you play Dungeons and Dragons every Thursday or you are a fan of any other board game, you will find people here to join you in your quest. Whether you are the Sheldon Cooper or the Leonard Hofstadter of your nerdy group, there is a place and a time for any geeky activity you like, here in Bucharest, together with your fellow expats.
People in this community have weekly activities that include visits to the comic book stores (Red Goblin is probably one of the best ones), Dungeons and Dragons game nights in English, Board game nights at Journey Pub (everyone here knows English, so don’t worry about making your reservation) and philosophy meetings and discussion groups. Once a year, we organize ourselves to attend Comic Con together…Way to live your Big Bang Theory fantasy!
Check this group out for any posts on our Geeky Events.
3. Where do expats in Bucharest eat and have fun?
Caru’ cu Bere (the Beer Carriage) and Lacrimi si Sfinti (Tears and Saints) are probably the best traditional restaurants in Bucharest. They have delicious, but affordable food and there are always foreign people there. Who knows, maybe you’ll make new friends there over a plate full of sarmale and a glass full of tuica.
When it comes to night-outs, the one place we usually head to is Mojo Pub. They have British Comedy Nights, Karaoke Nights and Expat Quiz Nights every week, so there’s a good chance you’ll end up meeting part of our community there basically at any time of day or night.
Other than that, InterNations is organizing events and night-outs for expats twice a month and I highly recommend you to join their platform.
There is also the Romanian Couchsurfing and Expats group on Facebook with over 15,000 people sharing their experiences, looking for recommendations or inviting you to their events. I am sure you’ll find a friend or two with the same interests here.
4. Cultural events we love to attend
Language Exchange Bucharest is organizing meeting every week, where people speaking English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and a lot others can join for interesting discussions and of course, boardgames. They promote practicing foreign languages in a friendly environment, where pretty much any topic can be tackled. They also offer Romanian Language Lessons for Foreigners if you want to sign up. A similar concept is offered by the Social Language Events.
Bucharest’s expat community also has Opera and Ballet nights, as Bucharest offers world-class shows at the National Opera and the National Theatre. Plus, you don’t have to know Romanian, to enjoy Swan Lake, right?
If you want to find out more about the day to day life of an expat starting from where to live in Bucharest, to the cost of living here, Romanian history, restaurant reviews, attractions for expats and important details such as schooling and healthcare systems, here is a very comprehensive blog I recommend, written by an old American expat who lives in Bucharest since 2009.
With these tips in mind, whenever you come visit Bucharest, be ready to fall in love with it completely and never want to leave! And if you decide this is your new home, we’ll be here to make you feel like you belong!
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