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Free Romanian language courses for CSOs from the left bank of the Nistru River, with the support of the EU and UNDP

“I realised that I was missing out on a lot professionally and personally,” says Iulia Melnicenco, one of the participants in a Romanian language course held in Tiraspol. The course is run by the Regional Development Agency from Tiraspol, in partnership with the “SMART” Educational Center, with the support of the European Union (EU) and UNDP, and offered as part of the EU Confidence Building Measures Programme.

As a result, 25 representatives of civil society from the left bank of the Nistru River studied Romanian intensively.

“It is a useful and necessary process for them. The journey is challenging, but we are dedicated, and the results at the end of each level are visible and as expected. The students are interested in learning,” says Tatiana Mazepa, Romanian language lecturer.

“At the end of the course, we have 25 people—representatives of CSOs who have learned Romanian from scratch up to level B1, according to European standards for foreign language learning. Romanian courses are about possibilities and opportunities,” says Tatiana Yaskova, President of the Regional Development Agency from Tiraspol.

The organisers of the Romanian language courses did not limit themselves to the traditional teaching approach. They also provided participants with alternatives such as online lessons, thematic brunches and discussion workshops outside of classrooms focused on various topics such as history, traditions, and customs. Additionally, all the training was complemented by a glossary of terms in Romanian.

“In our work, we constantly interact with our project colleagues from the right bank of the Nistru. Therefore, for better understanding and communication, as well as for the implementation of joint projects, knowledge of the Romanian language has become a necessity. I study Romanian intensively and it’s challenging because my work schedule is packed. I believe every person should learn a new language, at least to enhance their skills. Furthermore, since we live in Moldova, knowledge of the Romanian language, the state language, is necessary, and to travel through the country, you really need to know this language,” says Alexandr Bomeșco, a course participant.

Among the students of the Romanian language courses is Ludmila Burlaciuc, Vice-President of the National Karate-Do Federation of the Republic of Moldova. “I have wanted to study Romanian for a long time, but as a karate coach, often the study schedule coincided with my work schedule. When I found out about the new opportunity for studying, especially with the option of online courses, I enrolled immediately. At the same time, the organisation of thematic brunches, where we discuss various topics in Romanian, is a new way of studying for me, and it’s also convenient. I have many colleagues in Romania and Moldova. When we meet at various regional and international sports competitions, I want to be understood by them. Now I have the opportunity to learn Romanian and that’s what I’m doing,” she relates.

“The role of the Romanian language in project management has increased and it is good to understand our partners from the right bank. I believe that these courses will strengthen and increase the number of partnerships between organisations on both banks Leaders will be able to participate in joint events not only in the Republic of Moldova but also in Romania,” says Roman Sandu, an expert at the Social Entrepreneurs Association.

The 25 participants were part of a pilot project through which those interested in studying Romanian managed to overcome linguistic barriers on both banks of the Nistru river.

The Confidence Building Measures Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, contributes to building trust between residents on both sides of the Nistru river by involving them in common development projects.