More and more employees, especially in the IT field, consider remote work to be the best option for their professional future. With a less static framework compared to the office, it is a trend that is becoming more common in recent years and its benefits have become more emphasized by the coronavirus pandemic.
During this period, working from home became a norm for many and helped people understand that they can work from anywhere in the world. Thus, they began to seek out new places and experiences and to orient themselves towards areas that would offer them both professional and personal development.
Some moved from the city to rural areas, others preferred exotic countries or those about which they did not know much. For example, according to the MoveBuddha portal, more than 6,000 residents of the San Francisco Bay Area have recently moved to other states such as Texas, Washington, and Colorado, and even to foreign countries such as Bali or Mexico. Others faced prejudice and moved to Eastern European countries.
Once they arrived in the cities that became their new home, they quickly discovered that following their intuition was the best move they could’ve made. They discovered places where people and opportunities offered ideal working and leisure conditions, exciting traditions, and a rich history. This harmonious combination of factors create a high quality of life.
“Transylvania, my new home”
This is what many foreigners who left the places where they were born and/or worked behind and decided to move to Romania, especially to Transylvania, often say. This region of the country is becoming more and more attractive for Westerners who are looking for places to challenge them and also to provide them with the necessary conditions for the jobs they have – especially in the IT industry.
It doesn’t take too many queries addressed to Google’s “friend” to find out the arguments that convinced many Western specialists to move to cities in Transylvania. One of them is that the area’s IT industry has recently grown due to more and more investors developing their start-ups here, along with foreign IT companies opening their offices in the region’s big cities. For example, Cluj-Napoca was nominated among the finalists for the prestigious European Innovation Award.
In addition to the economic dynamics of the area, foreigners appreciate the security offered by the cities of Transylvania, where the crime rate is very low compared to other areas of Eastern Europe. In addition, the European Commission has declared Brașov, Oradea and Cluj-Napoca to be among the safest cities in terms of health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, like all Romanians, Transylvanians are kind, welcoming, and eager for social interaction. Any foreigner who comes or returns to Transylvania can be convinced of all this. Of course, all experiences vary, but in the end, most of those who come with the thought of relocation ultimately remain.
Among them was Josh Kingsley, a software engineer in Oradea who moved from Great Britain to Transylvania. In an interview for Transylvania Tech News, the Briton residing on the banks of the Crisul Repede explained why he chose to stay in Oradea and what experiences marked his time here.
Tell us a bit about yourself: background, hobbies, where are you from, how long have you moved to Romania, your occupation?
I was born and raised in a small village in Warwickshire, England. I moved to London to study Scandinavian languages at the age of 18, but I ended up dropping out of university to pursue work as a software developer. I’ve been programming and building websites since I was 13, and I’ve lived and worked for companies of all sizes in London and Berlin, and now from Oradea. I moved to Romania at the end of 2018, and I work here as a freelance software engineer, doing full-stack web development in Clojure, mostly remotely. The rest of my time I spend thinking about music and when I can go traveling again and exploring new places in Oradea and around Romania.
Why do Brits drink so much tea? 😁
The long answer is something about colonialism, but the short answer is just that it’s better than coffee!
Why did you leave the UK?
On the day of the Brexit referendum result, the first thing I did when I saw the news was to download Duolingo and start learning German. I already had a strong sense that I wanted to move to Berlin, and at the time I felt that if I didn’t take the opportunity to move abroad now, I would never do it. One year later I was in Berlin looking for an apartment. I haven’t missed my life in London much at all – it’s an overbearing and expensive place to live. But I’m always glad to go back there to see friends and family.
What was your opinion about Romania before coming here and what is it now?
For my part, I knew very little about Romania before I first came to visit, just the usual stereotypes of “Eastern Europe”. I think this is one of the main reasons I love it here so much: I had no expectations, so everything has been a very pleasant surprise. Romania is a country that is full of surprises, and it’s uniquely beautiful and diverse.
Why did you choose Oradea?
I had the good fortune to have a friend living in Oradea. I came to visit a few times and got a chance to imagine how life here could look. When I decided that Berlin wasn’t the place for me, Oradea was at the top of my list for places I wanted to experience next. Although I had no expectation to stay here long term, these last two years have shown me that there’s nowhere else I want to call home. Oradea is a beautiful city with a very high quality of life. We have nature always nearby, good access to airports, and a great mix of awesome places to go out. Life here is easier and simpler, but still full of opportunities.
How hard was it to adapt? How hard was it to make friends? Are Romanian people welcoming foreigners?
One thing about Romania is that it’s normal here to speak two or more languages. People speak great English, and a lot have lived or worked abroad and returned home. I’ve never once felt that someone was angry with me when I don’t speak perfect Romanian, or asked them if they speak English. I’ve felt welcome here since I first arrived. It’s been great meeting people and making friends, who’ve all helped me to learn Romanian and discover new opportunities.
Tell us a bit about your experience with Romanian authorities? How bad was it? What was the worst experience?
There seem to be many more steps involved in any process dealing with the government here than I’m used to. And lots of separate offices I need to visit to collect the right paperwork. However, I’ve always managed to find someone to explain the processes to me and help me out. It’s always difficult learning how things work in a different country. The worst experience was registering for public health insurance.
What do you think that we can do to ease the process of foreigners moving to Oradea?
I think that Oradea is at the beginning of a big upwards curve in progress and opportunities, and people here are very optimistic about the future. There’s nothing big that I would change, except that more people should know how great it is here!
How did you find the tech community? What did you expect to find?
I met a lot of people through the co-working space at Oradea Tech Hub, and at events like the HackTM hackathon. I was really happy to find such a big community of developers and tech workers and all of the events I’ve been to have been interesting and inspiring. That definitely exceeded my expectations.
How are the people from the community?
Everyone has been welcoming, it’s great to be part of the community here. There are a lot of smart people in Oradea, people who are building awesome things and seizing the unique opportunities we have here. Many have chosen to stay here or returned from living in other places, so there is a real sense of love for our city and a desire to make things better for everyone. Being a part of that gives me a lot of energy that I don’t think I’d find anywhere else.
What attracted you to join the community (co-working space)?
Initially I needed a desk and a place to work, which I didn’t have at home. But it’s become a place that I’m glad to spend my day. It’s important to be around people who provide positive energy, and I’ve definitely found that at OTH.
What is the community lacking?
I think that we can only keep doing more of what we already are: more events, more outreach in the wider community, more spaces for people to meet and connect.
What are your future plans? Are you considering moving out to another country/city?
Living in Oradea has made me very happy, and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
Anything you wanna close with this interview
I think we all know this to be true: that Romanians will be the first to complain about their own country. And a lot of people have a rosy image of life elsewhere. But the reality is that, in terms of quality of life and cost of living, Oradea strikes an ideal balance when compared to other cities in the EU. And Romania as a whole is in a unique position to become a really special place to start a business and create a life, for Romanians and immigrants alike. The history of Romania has always been to make progress very rapidly when the time comes, and it’s super exciting to be here as Oradea seizes its moment.
Josh considers that Romania offers a lot of opportunities to people who choose to move to this country, just like it did for him. Over time, he appreciated the kindness of the people who helped him to integrate, the way the technology industry imposes itself and evolves, and the social and cultural activities in Oradea.
Among the famous people who admire Romania is Prince Charles, heir to the throne of the United Kingdom. He owns 3 properties in Transylvania, which he visits regularly. His holiday homes are located in Miclosoara, Valea Zălanului and Viscri.
Prince Charles explained in his speech when he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa From Babes Bolyai University, the reasons why he returns to Romania every time. “I have often been asked about what brings me so often to Romania, what makes this place so special. The answer is, to me, very simple: you, my Romanian friends; your cultural and natural patrimony, your traditions, but also your capacity for innovation and change.” the Prince said.
Let’s explore the Transylvanian lifestyle
Transylvanian cuisine adds flavor to your experience
Transylvanian cuisine offers unique dishes and unexpected taste food pairings. These have been shaped and adapted over time, with Hungarian, German, and Turkish influences being evident today. The gastronomic heritage is rich, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t find something you like. In addition, Romanians are good at greeting their guests with the most appetizing food.
The most famous recipes are inherited from generation to generation, and therefore the process of making them is often a traditional one, especially in rural areas. Potato bread, sarmale, and zacusca are just some of the dishes you should try if you visit this region. Mark Viewns presents his culinary experience in a Transylvanian village in an “appetizing” video entitled Unseen Transylvania Village Food.
You don't have time to get bored in such a lively region
If you are thinking about what you can do in the coming days, keep in mind that you will decide quite quickly, because you will always find things to do. You can choose to go to a concert, a cultural event, or even a festival to experience extra positive energy.
Surely you have heard of the famous electronic music festival Untold. It takes place every summer in Cluj Napoca and people from all over the world come together for the same purpose: to experience 3 magical and memorable nights. DJs like Armin van Buren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Jimmy Trumpet warm up the audience in an effervescent atmosphere, creating good feelings of ecstasy, union, and happiness.
In addition, you can participate in the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), the Electric Castle music festival, the street food festival, and many others.
Be prepared to be surprised!
Transylvania also offers a series of tourist attractions that will impress you with historical stories, legends, incredible architecture, and also natural attractions. Tripadvisor included Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, and Sibiu in the top most popular cities in Romania. If you are a fan of adventures and travel, discover what you can visit in each of them.
Brasov: You can visit Bran Castle, also called Dracula’s Castle, the famous fantastic character presented in movies and vampire stories. Brasov can be an ideal holiday destination, especially due to the winter sports that can be practiced here. In 2017, Forbes included Brasov city in the list of the cheapest destinations in the world.
Cluj-Napoca: This city is an important university center, thus a city that is always young in contrast to the medieval view imprinted in the old streets and the historic buildings. London-based online guide, The Calvert Journal, made a list of the most stylish cities in 2017, and among them was Cluj-Napoca.
In Cluj County, you can discover Turda Salt Mine, which has been designated by Business Insider as the hottest underground place in the world.
Oradea: The medieval fortresses in this region represent a point of interest due to the imposing architecture that reproduces a part of western history. Oradea was included in the list of best medieval destinations in Europe by European Best Destinations.
Sibiu: Once you arrive in Transylvania, it will be impossible not to connect with nature or to be impressed by the spectacular landscapes. The highest road in Romania, which starts from the county of Arges and reaches Sibiu, Transfagarasan, has been named by Top Gear as the best road in the world.
Nature can detach you from the daily hustle and bustle and offers the peace of places that have been changed over time only by natural and not human influence. In fact, Transylvania owns 60% of all virgin forests in Europe. Here, trees of spectacular heights, diverse vegetation, and wild species of animals can be found.
So, expect to find rich fauna in Transylvania. No matter what part of nature you choose to discover, it is definitely home to different species of living things. There are bats in the caves in the area, and wolves, lions, martens, foxes, and bison in the wilds of the Transylvanian Carpathians. You will also be fascinated by the richness of the birds living in the forests and the waters here. Transylvania is also known for honey produced from beekeeping.
Agrotourism is also developing more and more due to the various resources that this area has. People living in the villages of Transylvania have learned how to promote their traditions and capitalize on the benefits that the rural environment offers. Thus, the locals provide tourists with accommodation services, local food, and recreational activities so that they can discover and experience the authentic and traditional Transylvanian lifestyle.
If you want something more challenging, you can satisfy your adventurous spirit by climbing a mountain or going on a hike where you can cross parks and nature reserves, enjoying the road from one destination to another.
You already know that Transylvania is characterized by diversity and uniqueness, so you may not be surprised to discover the archeological site Sarmizegetusa, which is a Dacian fortification, the traditional Transylvanian village unique in Europe for preserving medieval customs. Or even the Sphinx of the Bucegi Mountains, known for its resemblance to the Sphinx of Egypt.
In conclusion, Transylvania can mean innovation but also tradition, both dynamism, and relaxation, rural simplicity but also urban complexity.
As Josh stated in the interview, Transylvania is a favorable environment where you can grow your own business and have the opportunity to grow professionally. At the same time, here, you will meet hospitable and friendly people, you will discover a region with historical significance and you will be able to have an active cultural and social life.
If you think you need a change in your current status, think about how intense your life can become with so many possibilities that can transform your life. So what do you think? How would this sound: “I’m moving to Transylvania!”?
I am an enthusiastic and always positive person. I like to document myself about the topics I am passionate about, but at the same time, I don’t say no to new points of interest. That’s because I like diversity and unpredictable things. In addition, I like to write about all of this, because I want my readers to form clear and complete perspectives that can help them.