Life in Bulgaria through the eyes of a foreigner
Stories from European citizens who moved to Bulgaria, part 2
Edited by Claudia Pecoraro and Andrea Vushkova, photo by Unsplash
You can read other stories from foreigners who settled in Bulgaria in our previous article
Cindy, from the Netherlands, Teleagent
The reason I came to Bulgaria was simple – a holiday. I arrived on 4 July 2020 and went for a holiday to Sunny Beach. I met some people there, and they offered me a promoter job for the summer months. I accepted as I’ve been a bar manager for 20 years, but I lost my job back in the Netherlands because of the pandemic. I didn’t want to go back after the summer, so I looked for a job in Sofia to "survive" the winter, and I am still here! I'm currently living in Sofia and I work for a call center that sells products for the Dutch and Belgium markets.
I find the quality of life in Bulgaria good. The only downside is that the air in Sofia is a little dirty, so I try to be out of the city during weekends. The prices are low (except for rent, if you’re a foreigner), and I've always felt safe both in the city and in the areas around here. A tip to foreigners who want to settle in Bulgaria is to use Facebook to look for people who live here and want to help you look for a place to stay. Otherwise, you may risk finding scammers (there are a lot).
I like Bulgaria and its nature is amazing. The advice I would give is to find accommodation outside the city center. You’ll have the chance to be surrounded by nature, and the prices there are lower.
Marcel, from Romania, Content Moderator
I came from Romania because my wife is Bulgarian; we have a 15 years old child. I've been in Bulgaria for six uninterrupted years and a further 12 years with temporary stay. I work as a Content Moderator in a company – I found this job as they needed native language speakers.
I've already worked for three international corporations in Sofia. In all of them, I found a very deeply rooted Balkan style and nothing from Western-style management. They do follow the company's structure, with all the corresponding hierarchy and job positions. However, promotions and privileges are quite often given on the nepotism principle and have nothing to do with competencies. Those are just the international corporations - private entities, not a government agency or a family business. If you’re ready to accept that, you may be fine living in Bulgaria.
Regarding the lifestyle, prices are slightly increasing year by year, transport and security depend on the neighborhood. There's a good variety of cultural events, but I'd say they're average. To foreigners who want to settle in Bulgaria, I’d say don't expect a European country. Be prepared for a 20th-century society with a deep Eastern European and very Balkan mentality.
Anonymous, from Poland, Teleagent
I studied Balkan languages in Poland – Bulgarian and Croatian. After my Erasmus experience in Plovdiv, I decided: it’s time to try something new!
Currently, I’m employed as a Teleagent with Polish language. I really like the job, as it gives me the opportunity to practice English and Bulgarian and meet fantastic people from all around the world.
I’ve been in Bulgaria for nearly 3 years now. What’s Bulgaria to me? Amazing cuisine, interesting culture, kind, open people, nice language, and surprisingly low prices. Without a doubt, Bulgaria has its cons, but I feel safe and happy here.
Some tips? Smile and learn some Bulgarian! A sense of humor really helps when it comes to dealing with ridiculous or frustrating situations. If you learn even a few words, Bulgarians will love that – and will do everything to make you feel welcomed.
Life in Bulgaria as a foreigner: what do you need to know?
Based on what you’re looking for, and what the main reasons you came to Bulgaria are, you may either agree or disagree with the stories we shared. Life is not always black and white, and everyone’s experience is unique. It’s important to keep in mind that life in a foreign country can be challenging, especially at the beginning, but it becomes easier with time – so, don’t get discouraged!
We believe that joining international communities, such as the Foreigners in Sofia & Friends Facebook group, or attending international events can help you settle in a totally new environment. If you’re ready to come to Bulgaria (or have just arrived), don’t be afraid to ask for advice and share your story if you think it can help someone!