How can young internationals in Bulgaria build a brighter future?

Promoting a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe with AEGEE Sofia

Edited by Scott Green, photos by AEGEE Sofia

Hello, everyone! My name is Stanislava and I’m 20 years old. A very important thing about me is that I am a part of AEGEE-Sofia. You can consider me a fairly new AEGEEan, but hyped up to the fullest for the clean slate of our organization in 2021! In the midst of the socio-political and epidemic crisis we are facing, being connected to volunteering and European values are the best cause I could identify with. It is the AEGEE spirit, the optimistic community, and the never-ending motivation for developing active citizenship that gives me the strength to fight for my beliefs. Enough about me, I am just one amongst many! I want to tell you more about us!

AEGEE - the European students’ forum - is one of Europe’s biggest interdisciplinary student organisations in the world. It is non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit, open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines. Founded in 1985 in Paris, today AEGEE has grown to a Network of 13,000 AEGEEans, present across 161 cities in 40 countries all over Europe. 

AEGEE’s main mission is to empower students and young people in Europe to take an active role in society. The organisation strengthens mutual understanding and brings Europe closer to young people.

AEGEE strives for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe, which is socially, economically and politically integrated through the participation of young people in its construction and development. One of our fundamental principles is that the progress in Europe has to be based on knowledge and unlimited access to education. By providing diverse learning opportunities and supporting a European dimension in education, we believe it gives young people better opportunities for the future.

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AEGEE-Sofia has been a very proud branch of the AEGEE network since 1992. Our activities are very diverse and inclusive in terms of areas of interest for young people – cultural exchange, civic activism, higher education, non-formal education, European citizenship, youth policies and intercultural dialog. Usually and, of course, before the pandemic, we were really active in the direction of developing active citizenship with typical AEGEE projects like Summer Universities, Europe on Track, Network Meetings and more. We have also organized Leadership Summer School, Y Vote, Erasmus+ projects and The Egg, which is a unique event focused on the development of personal skills and competencies through non-formal education and sport. 

Right now we are gathering strength and preparing for the year to come. As the situation was for other organizations, we too have had a rough year. However, the European youth spirit in us is motivated more than ever to inspire and unfold the potential of young people in our lovely city. 

I believe volunteering is a beautiful word. AEGEE is a place where this word is fulfilled in its most wonderful sense. People care deeply about their contribution to local society and at the same time, we are all connected to a positive and supportive community with locals in cities from all around Europe. Honestly, the atmosphere is addictively inspiring.

It is very interesting how Bulgarians don’t realize what a beautiful country they live in. We all grow up thinking the marvelous mountains, the richness of historical sights, the enchanting culture is a given everywhere else. But once you travel enough, as I have, you come to realize how extraordinary our country is, how real and warm the people are. Seeing this behavior in my own people, I imagine how mesmerized everyone else must be! 

I will take this opportunity to tell the young people of Sofia reading this that we are recruiting new members. Feel free to contact us and become part of our European community!

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