So why come to Bulgaria?
Instead of choosing one of the countries that everyone goes to, why not head off the beaten track and head to a country that is small and relatively unknown, but full of surprises?
Situated in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria has a long and interesting history, a beautiful and diverse landscape and, last but not least, friendly, hospitable people who will be glad to open their homes and hearts for you and teach you something about their culture.
Living abroad in Bulgaria will open you up to a whole range of new experiences. Imagine the smell of roasting чушки (chushki – peppers) that fills the house in October, the singing of an Orthodox choir in Easter, the feeling of warm sand beneath your feet by the Black Sea – these are not things you can learn from Google.
It’s a country where food still changes with the seasons, and you can see a farmer using a donkey cart to transport his produce, while a businessman drives his brand-new Mercedes only a few miles away. By doing a YFU exchange to Bulgaria, you will not only learn a new language and explore a different culture, but you will discover new things about yourself and gain confidence and worldly experience!
What will I do in Bulgaria?
Learn to read and write in Bulgarian: Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet, and while you’re on exchange you will learn to read, write and speak Bulgarian! The Early Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the First Bulgarian Empire, and modern Cyrillic is used across many Eastern European countries, including Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Eat banitsa: Banitsa is a Bulgarian pastry usually eaten for breakfast, typically filled with cheese but sometimes also with vegetables or meat. On New Year’s Eve, fortunes written on paper are wrapped in tin foil and baked into the pastry to wish health, success and happiness in the new year.
Celebrate your city’s patron holiday: Every city in Bulgaria has a patron saint day, where once a year there is a holiday to celebrate and honour your city’s patron saint. Often it will involve certain traditions, such as in Burgas where fish is eaten on Saint Nicholas Day’ (December 6), as St Nicholas was the patron saint of fishermen and sailors.
Wear martenitsa for Baba Marta: On March 1st Bulgarians celebrate the ancient holiday of Baba Marta to welcome the approaching spring. Martenitsa – small decorations made of red and white threads – are exchanged amongst family and friends and worn until you see a stork or a fruit tree in blossom, and then you tie the martenitsa onto a blossoming tree to bring health, happiness and longevity.
If you want to read more about life in Bulgaria, we have these blogs:
YFU Bulgaria Blog – the official blog by YFU Bulgaria (in English and Bulgarian)
Ein Jahr Bulgarien – written by Anika, Tabea, Joleen and Jacquelina, four of our inbound students from Germany in 2012/13 (in German)
Year in Bulgaria – written by Mari-Liis, a current inbound student from Estonia (in Estonian)
Sounds great, now how do I come to Bulgaria?
If you have any questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com
If you haven’t already done so, click here to find your national YFU organization and fill out your national YFU organization’s application, making sure to list Bulgaria as your host country.