Live in Sighișoara, Transylvania
The Romanian Studies Program is located in Sighișoara, a small city in the Transylvanian region of Romania. Sighișoara is home to about 30,000 people – Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, and Roma (Gypsies) – the rich cultural mix reflecting the region’s history. Sighișoara was established by German settlers in the 12th century who were invited here by the Hungarian king who ruled Transylvania. The architecture of the historic town center reflects this German heritage, but the majority of the so-called Saxons of Transylvania left in the early ‘90s, after the fall of communism, to live in Germany.
The old city center of Sighișoara, known locally as “the Citadel”, is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, complete with picturesque city walls, cobbled streets, churches, and towers. Its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site brings tourists here from all over the world. Sighișoara was briefly home to Vlad Dracul, father of Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula, and the local tourism industry would like us to believe that Dracula was born here – the inspiration for many tacky souvenirs. The Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet both highlight Sighișoara as a tourist destination not to be missed.
The town is small enough (and safe enough) that students generally walk everywhere, although affordable public transportation and taxis are also available.
The House on the Rock, a 17th century master craftsman’s house on the main square of the Citadel, is Education Center for Veritas and home to the Romanian Studies Program. It has been renovated and equipped with Wifi, an English-language library, classrooms, comfortable spaces to read or work on assignments, and the International Café, a coffee shop which offers a selection of American cookies, cakes, and pies for when you feel homesick for Mom’s cooking. Students’ service activities mostly take place at the Veritas’ “Family Center”. Students have also served in community development projects in the village of Tigmandru, some 15 miles from Sighisoara.