This article compares UK and Romanian students' perceptions of the concept of democracy and their attitudes to politics and political issues. One of the aims of the study was to compare the students' different levels of political literacy and to explore some of the possible contributory factors to young people's alienation and disengagement from politics. This analysis develops the view that, if citizenship education is to make a genuine contribution to the creation of a vibrant, participatory democracy in which young people are fully involved, then careful consideration needs to be taken account of how the subject is implemented and delivered. The research suggests that the Romanian students' greater political literacy has evolved through experiences that were relevant and personal to them. This highlights the importance of engaging students' interest and enthusiasm in teaching through citizenship education and not just teaching about citizenship.