Meet Thomas Bea Dwianggono, a teacher at the Center for Eastern languages and cultures at Sofia University

On being open to new experiences and finding a home in a new country

Edited by Lindsay Martin.


My name is Thomas Bea Dwianggono, and I come from Indonesia. I have been teaching the Indonesian language and culture at the Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures and the Indonesian Embassy in Sofia. 

To be honest, I had no plan to work and live in Sofia before. At the beginning of June 2019, the Indonesian government offered me a cultural and language collaboration program between them and Sofia University. I thought it was a very interesting opportunity. I had never been to Sofia before. I am always excited to go, live, and work in new places. Before, I have been assigned to several countries by this same program but not in Europe. This is my very first time living and working here.

At first, I was feeling different since I am Asian and I did not see many foreign people here, especially Asian or African. Now it is not an issue for me. 

The most surprising thing I learned once I've arrived is that everything is written in Cyrillic, and I don't understand it. I wish I could speak Bulgarian a little so that I can survive better here.

In the very first week of my stay, I went to Fantastico. At the cashier, the cashier asked," Торбичка?" I tried to answer in Bulgarian with a "Да," nodding my head (common gesture to say yes internationally, I think). She asked the same question two or three times, not getting what I meant. Then she asked me, "Angliski?" - "Yes" -" Plastic bag?" -"Yes." She said, "добре" and shook her head, the way people usually say "no," but not in Bulgaria, as I understood later. I realized that I confused her; I said "Yes" but with the opposite gesture to say "Yes" the Bulgarian way. 

I am very happy to be here; I feel at home. I can introduce my language and culture to Bulgarian people. I can also get acquainted with the local culture, which is amazing as well. I can make friends with locals and other people from various backgrounds and nationalities.

I want to extend my stay here. I fell in love with this country. I like everything here: nature, food, atmosphere, weather, and people. It is not so crowded compared to Indonesia, where I come from.

I'd advise a newcomer to enjoy every single moment in Bulgaria. Try to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and some basic Bulgarian language. It will help you a lot in your daily life!

The Open Bulgaria team thanks you for visiting our website, we hope you found our content interesting and have learned something new about this wonderful country.  
If you'd like to guest write, or you have ideas, contact us at [email protected]
General inquiries, feedback, or to join our team, send an email to [email protected]
Do you want to advertise your business or services on our website? Contact us here

If you like our content and want to support us, donate to us here