Discovering the World Through Traveling, Volunteering and Learning with Iosif
Iosif Csorba has been with Yardi Romania’s Call Center department for almost nine months, starting his current job right after arriving in Cluj from South America and not knowing exactly what to do next. He was fortunate enough to find a job that keeps him busy, intrigued and excited about the concept of learning something new every day. Iosif managed to easily fit in his new team, a trait he surely cultivated along his numerous travels around the world.
As a legitimate globetrotter, Iosif told us about his many adventures while volunteering in India, the effort it took to get there and the advantages—as well as disadvantages—that come with discovering the world. Along with tips and tricks for traveling, Iosif also shared some interesting book recommendations with us - The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
When and how did your story at Yardi Romania begin?
I’ve been with Yardi Romania for almost nine months now. Initially, I came to Yardi Romania without having any expectations or any other thoughts about the company. I was just looking for a job. It did not matter what it was as long as it paid well. I remember arriving from Latin America to Cluj Airport and asking myself “now what?”. Well, that’s how I ended up searching for jobs on eJobs. And soon I came upon Yardi Romania’s ads.
What do you enjoy most about working at Yardi Romania?
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is the atmosphere. I love my colleagues and the work environment in the call center. Especially the night shift. There is a “strange/cool” feeling while working during the night. I really enjoy it. I can just tell you that I like the job more than anticipated. From “it’s not that bad” I went to “actually it’s quite the opposite”. I was surprised at how efficient the trainings at Yardi are and how well implemented the whole process is. There are quite a lot of new things to learn on this job and in this company. Because of the job itself, there is the risk of being in a repetitive atmosphere at one point. But somehow, for now, it all seems quite challenging and new. I also love the fact that there are numerous activities that Yardi Romania proposes.
Can you tell us about the time you spent volunteering in India? Did it change your way of thinking?
I spent six months in India. I was volunteering in a school situated in the middle of the slums around New Delhi. The project was called Academy for Working Children. The idea behind it was to offer free education to the children from the slums. In addition to that, the project was trying to help families get IDs for their children in order for them to be able to enroll in governmental schools. Most children did not have any valid identification or birth certificates. We can say that officially they did not exist.
Now, what did we do in those six months? Well, in the beginning, we had quite a difficult time understanding what is happening around us. At first, nobody knew exactly how we could help and what we could do. But two months later, we were working hand-in-hand with teachers to make sure the children got the possibility to come to school and participate in classes. We were going out every morning and trying to convince the parents to let the children attend the classes.
More often they were forbidden to join the school because parents thought it was more important for children to work (at the age of 12) than to go to school. We were also teaching during classes because the school was understaffed. We managed to build a new library for the kids and we also organized different trips for them. After going back to Norway, we worked there for a couple of months to secure a hot meal for the students during school days. We fundraised the much- needed money and sent it to our project. Thus, for a 12-month period, the students got a meal per day when attending classes within the project.
Was there a particular story from the entire experience that stuck with you?
I do have a lot of interesting stories and happenings from that period, but it would take me a lot of time and space to write everything down. The idea is that being there for six months helped me develop much more than I could have ever imagined. In the end, the whole project helped me more than I could help the project itself. And the thing is that there are so many problems, that one feels overwhelmed and has the idea that their presence there was in vain. But sometimes we can see it as not in vain. For example, in the last days, I received an email from the former project leader saying that all the children that were in the seventh grade where my colleague and I taught managed to enroll in a governmental school. That’s something, believe me.
You have an exciting track record when it comes to traveling. What are some of the places you visited and which one(s) impressed you the most?
- Taj Mahal—not for the beauty, but for the experience. To see people washing the Taj Mahal with a paste made of almonds and milk, and seeing children die of hunger a few yards away
- Machu Pichu—not for the site itself, but for the five-day track
- Quilotoa lagoon—sublime
- Rainbow Mountain in Peru
- Biking from Timisoara to Lake Bled in Slovenia—amazing
- The Lost City in Colombia—cool
- Norway—all of it—no comment
- All of Iran – not for Persepolis, but for the wonderful people
- Never visit Bali
- Pablo Escobar’s villa in Colombia—nice area
You succeeded in getting around on a low budget. How did you manage that?
That was what I loved during the volunteering project. We had a limited budget when traveling toward the project in India. We traveled for three months through Iran, Indonesia, and Malaysia. So, we ended up hitchhiking, taking local buses, sleeping (in Iran entirely) with Couch Surfing, selling our stuff and sometimes begging for food. Some of us had to steal food from the local market. I know, that’s not what one is supposed to do, but at one point some of us were forced to do such things. This kind of experience changes people.
You get to stay with local people and visit places that normally one would never visit. You take a third-class train in India just because you need to. And that is something I would never recommend to anyone. We were very much exposed during the whole period. I do have to say some of our friends and colleagues died in these programs. One must know that traveling is not something that is always easy and pleasant. For many of us, traveling like that was indeed a challenge. We all had bad times and rough days. But somehow, for those who make it ’till the end, it’s worth it.
How does your traveling experience translate into your day-to-day life? Did you pick up any new tips, habits that you still use today?
Some of my tips are: just go for it, the timing is never right. It’s always too late or too soon. Try to be open-minded and always watch out. Assume that you are being cheated all the time. My favorite quote from Indonesia is “If you pay, everything’s free.”
Know your limits and never try anything you do not want to or feel up to. I broke my eardrums while scuba diving. Never-ever eat a fruit (in the middle of the jungle) that you think is a tomato. No joke!
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