Being an Erasmus student in Bulgaria: a Café Babel Sofia survey

Article published on Jan. 7, 2010
Article published on Jan. 7, 2010
150 foreign students come to spend a semester in Sofia. Why have they chosen the Bulgarian capital, how do they like the country, what do they like and dislike here? Café Babel Sofia offers you a panorama of this question.

erasmus1Name: Séounsboum Park, 30 years

Nationality: Korean

Education and period of stay: International Economics, 3-year PhD course

“I am studying international relations and I think that Bulgaria has the potential to attract foreign investments. In Korea your country is well known for its long life expectancy due to the famous Bulgarian yoghurt and for its beautiful women. That was sufficient personal motivation for me to come here.”

erasmus22Name: Lenka, 24 years

Nationality: Czech

Education and period of stay: Finance, 1 semester

“I am doing my Erasmus in Finance in Varna. I chose this city because of the sea, which we don’t have in my country. I used to take part in a folklore group and I did an exchange in Bulgaria. I enjoyed it and here I am again! Now I am studying Bulgarian and I enjoy your cuisine very much.”

erasmus3Name: Béranger Dominici, 20 years

Nationality: French

Education and period of stay: Political Science and Anthropology

Education and period of stay: Political Science and Anthropology “My interest in the Balkans dates back to 10 years ago when I came to live in Belgrade for 4 years during one of my father’s secondments. This was the war period in Bosnia and Kosovo. This is where my interest in the history, traditions and culture of the Balkans comes from. There are some things that scandalize me, like seeing beautiful women in the streets dressed in a vulgar fashion, or the way Bulgarian men behave: they are always very loud and not ashamed to demonstrate their superiority over women. However, in the capital there is a rich cultural life with loads of cinema festivals, theatre plays, concerts, exhibitions, which is really nice. Parallel to my studies here I am also writing for one Bulgarian website, Le Courrier de la Bulgarie (a French speaking internet portal about Bulgaria).

erasmus4Name: Anne-Sophie, 22 years

Nationality: Belgian

Education and period of stay: General Economics, 1 semester

“I find your country very beautiful, you have magnificent nature, very diverse. I had the chance to travel around a bit and I was fascinated by Varna, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo and the Rila Monastery. I was also in Russe. The discovery of another culture and another language was what motivated me to come and spend a few months here. One thing I find a little regrettable is the pessimistic look of the majority of the Bulgarians. This can be explained by the country’s politics, its past… communism was a pretty difficult time…”

erasmus5Name: Henning, 23 years

Nationality: German

Education and period of stay: European Studies, 1 semester

“Bulgaria is part of the European Union, so it is interesting for my studies. Besides, living as an Erasmus student in Sofia is great, going out is not too expensive. Before coming here I had already been to Serbia, Greece and Israel. I like the East, people are friendlier here.”

erasmus6Name: Blanka, 23 years

Nationality: Czech

Education and period of stay: Business Russian, 1 semester

“I had a choice of a couple of countries for my Erasmus exchange but I think Bulgaria was the best for my studies. I am studying Business Russian and before coming here I spent six months in Saint Petersburg. Therefore, I can compare the inhabitants of those two historically related countries. I find Bulgarians nicer, more polite and open minded than people in Russia, where you can still feel the control of the central government. You can still see the communist heritage here but this is also the case in the Czech Republic. This is more distinctively manifested in the older generations. What I dislike here is the bad organization in the university and the red tape.”

erasmus7Name: Quentin, 22 years

Nationality: French

Education and period of stay: Bulgarian literature, 1 year

“I love Slavonic languages and this was my strongest motivation to come to Bulgaria. I am studying Bulgarian, Russian and Korean. I find Bulgarians quite likeable. I have also been to Moscow and there it is not the case, everyone is too serious.”

erasmus8Name: Simona, 21 years

Nationality: Lithuanian

Education and period of stay: Business Administration, 1 semester

“A professor at my university recommended the Varna University to me, so I came here. There is also the sea which was a second motivation for me. In Lithuania we don’t have mountains so here I take advantage of the small distances to visit many different places. I find the country beautiful and the people are pleasant and quite hospitable.”

erasmus9Name: Samir, 23 years

Nationality: Palestinian

Education and period of stay: Biotechnology, 3 years (Master)

“I acquired a scholarship to finish my Master in Biotechnology and I don’t regret to have chosen Bulgaria. Life here is not very expensive. The country has an amazing history. There have been many wars. This reminds me a little bit of the history of my own country. What also surprised me was to see so many Roma, whom I had never seen before. By the way, there are many stray dogs. Despite everything, I am very optimistic about your country and I can even tell you that one day, if I find any job opportunities, I will stay here to live.”

Valia Ivanova

Translation: Maya Mircheva