Vincent Kuiper may have more marketing insight than I, but as a 66 year-old American who spent the 2008-09 academic year teaching in Cluj-Napoca and traveling throughout Romania, I have another perspective. The are hospitable. The Romanians are diverse. The Romanian countryside is spectacularly varied and beautiful. Romania is rich in both culture and cultures, having had in its history the influences of the Greeks, the Romans, Mongolians, Turks, the French, Germans, Celts, Russians, Serbs, Austrians, Hungarians, and God-only-knows how many others. Rural Romania, especially in the north and southwest, is characterized by family farms still being farmed with human and animal muscle. The haystacks and stork's nests are present-day models for the illustrations I saw as a child as my mother read to me from Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Romanian education is excellent. My university seniors in the Englishline at Babeș-Bolyai University's Faculty of Economics were well-read in the classics, competent in mathematics, and a delight to work with. If Romania has a long-term problem, it is that the country's business community is not yet large enough to employ all of the qualified graduates of its many fine universities. Talent-seeking foreign companies would do well to invest in such a country.
Romanian culture is colored by the religious traditions of the , which along with the Roman Catholic church has leant a strong sense of values to the majority of Romanians. The 40-year nightmare of Communism was unable to kill the Romanian spiritual core, hence Romanians appreciate their freedoms more than do we who grew up taking freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free elections for granted.
Romania still has its share of problems, of course. But in my view it is about to soar into prominence as a productive and culturally advanced member of The European Union, in which Old Europe's charm and work ethic still prevail.
Yes, Vincent, the Romanian women are self-assured, confident and charming, and many are very lovely, as well. And yes, a bottle of Ursus Dark in a pub costs only one buck. But those facts are but surface decorations on this emerging jewel of a nation.