All schools in Romania have foreign language programs. Students must study at least one language to an advanced level and a second one at a more basic level. In other cases there are more than two foreign languages available to study and the student can choose from several. Many schools also offer bilingual courses.
During the communist period, the main language taught was Russian and German was the second most common. Nowadays things have changed and the school curriculum is very different.
According to the results of 2008’s “Key Data on Teaching Languages at Schools in Europe” published by The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), the top language taught in Romania nowadays is English. Some fortunate children start to learn it in kindergarten but usually public schools have a language program which starts in second grade. The explanation is simple: as we can see on the World Language Map, English is very popular all around the world and nowadays it is necessary to have at least a basic command of the language.
According to the cited study, the second most popular language is French and the third is German. Italian and Spanish are the next most commonly taught languages.
There are a wide variety of options available and many kids choose a specialized public school or high school because they want to study a certain language and they then continue to learn it throughout the curriculum.
In the areas highly populated with minority groups, languages like Hungarian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Slovak, Czech or Croatian are taught too. They do not necessarily classify as foreign languages in these circumstances, as they are available as a result of the structure of society.
It seems to be the case that all changes in society lead to changes in the learning process. If you were to ask a young Romanian man something in English you would definitely get an answer. This is less likely to happen amongst the older generation of Romanians, as English wasn’t as much of an integral part of the curriculum when they were in formal education.