Survival BG: a stage for expats in Sofia

Bulgaria is undoubtedly a very beautiful country, but one that doesn’t always live up to its hype. A nation that, especially after its EU accession, has been revalued by many people with the result of a small wave of immigration. Many of those who arrived on the back of the positive promotion of the nation’s benefits at the time (and its particularly cheap life cost) have subsequently fallen out of love with their dream. Others who have taken perhaps a more considered approach to relocation, who have spent time getting to know Bulgaria for themselves before the big step, have seemingly adjusted well to it.

Survival BG by Foundation 42

The benefit of having two such divided perspectives is that here in Bulgaria, there are a lot of foreigners that can bring you in both the positive and negative aspects of living in this country. Give them a stage to be listened is the main objective of the project Survival BG from the organization Foundation 42, based in Sofia.

A community for expats in Sofia where the sense of humor is mandatory and where foreigners can speak about the way they live in Bulgaria, their strange experiences, hear some interesting stories, get some tips about surviving in this country, enter in contact with local people and spend some nice, relaxing time.

As Alexander Kumanov, chairperson of the organization Foundation 42, says:

“There was nothing for foreigners in Sofia where they could get together and make laugh about the way they live here in a positive manner -which is exactly what Bulgarians like: we are pessimist, but there is also national proud. You can say something wrong about us, but not too far-. So that’s what we are trying to do here: have fun, organize events for foreigners and laugh at us in a positive way.”

Survival BG Vol. 2

Survival BG Vol.2, the second meeting organized by Alba and Danilo, EVS volunteers from Spain and Serbia working at Foundation 42, took place at Dada Cultural Bar in Sofia on 25th January. The (Y) volunteers team participated at the event and met the four “survivors” invited to this second session to share with the audience their perspectives about living in Bulgaria.

Andrey Nikoloff

Andrey comes from Ukraine and he has been living in Bulgaria for around 2 years. Before coming here, he travelled a lot and lived in other few nations. He works in the educational center “IT step” and he shared with us some cultural differences, between Russian and Bulgarian vocabulary, and what was shocking and interesting for him when he moved to Bulgaria. His supposition that life here was easier because it resembles the one in his native country was not exactly correct: everything here looks the same but is different. He gave us also some tips on how to survive and deal with life and food. His favorite Bulgarian dish is Shopska salad and Yordanovden is his favored tradition. The places he loves most are Banya Pancharevo and Buzludzha monument.

Paula Lorena Sabau

Paula comes from Transylvania (Romania) and she has been living in Bulgaria for almost 2 years. Former EVS volunteer, who knew nothing about the nation when she arrived, now is working as a team coordinator and project manager for the organization Synergy Bulgaria. As a volunteer, she has personally experienced all the solutions to travel in the most economical way possible and problems related to Bulgarian trains and hitchhiking. She shared with us some interesting stories about traveling throughout the country and some tips on how to overcome some situation that can happen during your traveling. Her favorite Bulgarian dish is Lyutenitsa and Martenitsa is her favored tradition. The places she loves most here are Veliko Tarnovo, Lakatnik mountain and Banya Pancharevo.

Jan Weyer

Jan comes from Germany. He has been living in Bulgaria around 2 years, where he works for Smart Organic. Extremely open-minded, he faced the Bulgarian law system at first hand. He shared with us interesting information about it and what can happen to you when you least expect it, how to face the police and maintain the calm. He told us all the terrible, funny and strange moments of his adventure and how to be the winner at the end. Remember: always have a Bulgarian lawyer that can speak English. His favorite Bulgarian dish is Rhodopean Kachаmak and Martenitsa is his favored tradition. The place he loves most is the region around Buzludzha monument

Eric David Halsey

Eric comes from the USA and has been living in Bulgaria for around 6 years. He’s the creator of Bulgarian History Podcast and works for the start-up called Enhancv. A rare example of a “balkanized” American, he spoke about the cultural differences between two very distant worlds like Bulgaria and USA. We discovered how this country changed him; what are, in his opinion, the positive and negative aspects of the Bulgarian culture compared to those of his native country and how he ultimately brought the best of both into who he is. His favorite Bulgarian dish is Zelevi Sarmichki. His favorite place in Bulgaria is Banya Saparevo and his favorite tradition is Martenitsa.

From the beginning to the end, from the stories told to the new people known, the games and the closure with live music, the Survival BG event was a great occasion to remind everyone that wherever you go you are never alone. If you feel the need to share your experience with someone, you are looking for a tip or a great company come to Sofia at Survival BG. Surely you will be warmly welcomed.

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