“Nobody who has ever visited me in Bucharest has gone home having not had a brilliant time,” says Marc Jenner, director of fundraising with Hospice Casa Sperantei, in an interview for Romania-Insider.com. When he's not running the marathon raising funds for the Hospice, or running the Edelweiss Charity Ball auction, he'll be found at the charity's quiz night at the MoJo bar in Bucharest’s Old Town. We've asked him a set of standard Expat Interview questions and here's what we got.
Interview by Corina Saceanu
Name, occupation, where are you from? Marc Jenner, Director of Fundraising at Hospice Casa Sperantei. Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK.
How long have you been living/working in Romania? What brought you here in the first place? I moved here in June 2010, following a short 4-day trip the previous month. My purpose was to help develop the fundraising initiatives being undertaken by the Hospice.
What do you do here in Romania? As Director of Fundraising it’s my job to seek out and develop new opportunities and partnerships that will benefit the charity, whilst also educating the general public on the work we undertake and fundraising best-practice. I also support the hardworking fundraising team in Bucharest.
Where else in the world have you worked/lived or just traveled? For what projects? My work in the charity sector has taken me to a number of diverse places ranging from Peru to China to Tanzania. Prior to moving to Bucharest, I had just completed 2 years working with an NGO in Hollywood, California. This role was very hands on and I spent the majority of the time working with underprivileged and sick children, making fun films with volunteers from the movie industry. The children got to choose their own character, background, plot, costumes and were then involved in the whole process of making a real movie. This would be followed up some weeks later by a ‘premiere’ which they would attend with their families or carers. It was incredibly good fun and unbelievably fulfilling. I even got to ‘star’ alongside the kids once or twice!
What is your favorite place in Romania and why? When and how did you discover it? The one place that I tend to take friends and family when they visit is the balcony on the top floor of the Intercontinental Hotel. It offers spectacular views of the city that just can’t be seen from anywhere else. I’m lucky enough to be a member of the hotel gym that has the same view.
What don't you like in Romania? What would you change about it? It’s hard to dislike anything about Romania. It’s a hardworking country with a tough history and you have to admire how far it’s come in 20 years. I do wish the stray dogs were a little friendlier though!
How do you spend your free time in Romania? What would you recommend to others? It’s not hard to have a social life in Romania, and I seem to spend far too much time in the Old Town. However, I am a big sports fan and would absolutely recommend going to watch the national Rugby team play at the National Stadium at the Arc de Triomphe. The side has improved immensely in recent years and even came close to beating Scotland at this year's World Cup. It’s cheap, you can drink hot wine throughout the game, and you can move around the ground to watch the match from different angles. Romanian rugby fans are extremely lucky!
What do you think is your biggest accomplishment in life so far? Give us a few details please. I have taken on a number of personal challenges in the past. I have climbed Kilimanjaro, travelled to the advanced Base Camp of Everest and run the London Marathon 16 times; I once dressed in a 22 pound Rhino suit. But my biggest accomplishment, and the one I am most proud of, was conducting the funeral for my beloved Grandmother 3 years ago. We were extremely close and it was my family’s wish that I did it for her. She was a wonderful woman and lived to a grand age, and the funeral was very much a celebration of her life.
What are you passionate about? How often do you get to pursue your passions in Romania? I have two big passions in life, running and Fulham FC. I try and run as often as possible, either in the Intercontinental gym, around the Peoples Palace, or in Herestrau Park. Watching Fulham is a little harder, although some games are shown on TV and often broadcast with English commentary in bars. In a perfect world, Fulham would draw a Romanian team in a European competition and come to Bucharest! Better still, the final of the Europa League takes place at the new National Stadium in May. Maybe Fulham will manage to get there!
What are the main pieces of advice you'd give foreigners who plan to come to Romania? Don’t believe everything you’ve heard, which is usually negative. Nobody who has ever visited me in Bucharest has gone home having not had a brilliant time. I always meet ex-pats who recall stories of only planning to be here for a few months but ended up staying for many years. And who knows, I may end up being one of them…
(photo credits: Johannes Kruse)