Beginning in 2011, New Horizons became a site for academic internships. In 2014, they invited Chelsea Lampen, MSW, to the team. BSW and MSW students from universities and college have been involved here in Lupeni since 2008 through the study abroad program, and now are able to receive practicum hours. Our interns take on significant responsibilities and provide an important contribution to the foundation. As an organization that promotes service-learning, we believe our internships provide an invaluable education of community development within the complicated context of Romania’s post-communist society.

New Horizons Foundation offers great opportunities through internships to learn the importance of a holistic approach to community development; work within a context where the lack of social capital has visible implications; engage in action-based research projects that have lasting impacts on the community and young people; live in a new culture that combines remnants of both traditional agrarian settlements and the more recent communist society; gain professional experience in an office setting; contribute meaningful work to NHF’s mission; enjoy the natural beauty of the Jui Valley.

As a grassroots organization, New Horizons Foundation provides its interns with a high level of responsibility as well as the capability to contribute to the organization’s development in a significant way. This, paired with strong supervision and debrief support, creates a dynamic and career-shaping practicum experience.

  • Work in a grassroots NGO doing cutting-edge youth and community development programs in a Post-Communist context
  • Supervise and participate in a local IMPACT club with Romanian youth
  • Produce action research projects
  • Shadow an NHF social worker and receive 400+ hours of experience
  • Work with the Residential Center (Orphanage) children
  • Further develop the IMPACT curriculum
  • Engage with local social work department at the University of Petrosani
  • Observe sustainability practice and community development through social capital

You are given the opportunity to develop professional skills in a cross-cultural work environment with friendly and professional Romanian nationals. This experiential education path will set you in the direction of being able to work many different types of clients upon your graduation. This practicum takes hard and soft macro and micro skills you have gained from the classroom, and put them into practice in a way that will benefit the organization or population you work with in the future. You will gain experiential knowledge of Romanian culture through language study, home-stay experience, and excursions to cultural sites. You coming will also benefit New Horizons Foundation.

You will write action-based research projects that could have long-term affects on how NHF engages various populations. We strive to create a practicum environment that is beneficial to student, NHF, and the larger population of Lupeni.


Social work Practicum Students will partake in action-based research. Carr and Kemmis (1986) define action research as, “simply a form of self-reflection enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out” (162). As Kurt Lewin (1946), who created the term “action research”, stated, “research that produces nothing but books will not suffice” (202-203). We push students to engage in the community through ethnographic research to learn the deep, underlying metanarrative of why things are the way they are in the Jiu Valley. Students also engage in qualitative research through creating needs assessments and community mapping that benefit the local IMPACT clubs in designing best-practice community engagement activities. While here, you will not idly sit back and read about the ways to engage in the Post-Communist community, but rather saturate yourself in the community in order to create active, engaged, and impactful research projects that will have lasting effects.


During your time you will have the opportunity to experience the culture first hand through a home-stay experience. You will live with, eat with, laugh with, and create community with a Romanian family. Further, you will get to visit museums, historical sites, castles, ruins, and more. Finally, the natural beauty of Romania will take your breath away. In 2016, Lonely Planet listed our area, Transylvania, as the #1 place to visit! Will have the opportunity to backpack, hike, rock climb, ski, and go caving while surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains.


Studying with NHF will give you hands-on experience that will take your Social Work education out of the classroom and into daily living in Romania. By creating meaningful relationships, long-term implications will blossom from the practicum experience you create here. The internship program works closely with the Study Abroad Program, which was rated as one of the top 10 International Programs offered throughout the U.S.