Education Beyond Borders

Education beyond borders

From 27th to 29th of March 2015, the association ‘For You’ was pleased to participate, for the first time, in the twelfth edition of the international exhibition ‘Education Beyond Borders’ which was traditionally held in the National Palace of Culture in Sofia.   For a period of three days in a very friendly atmosphere, the president of the non-profit organization, Elina Raynova, with three European volunteers (Javier Sagredo, Manuel Junqueira and Margot Varlez) had the opportunity to present the European Voluntary Service and other various international youth exchange programs to hundreds of young Bulgarians.   Organized by Bery Group Bulgaria, in cooperation with Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of education Bulgaria, the exhibition “Education Beyond Borders” is considered the biggest and the most important educational event in the Balkans. It aims to get together a large number of representatives of embassies, top schools, universities, language organizations and educational organizations from all over the world – USA, China, Greece, Germany, Malta, Lituania and so on. All the participants who attended this fair had the same will to share and exchange their innovative ideas and projects with each other, and to provide proper advice to the young people interested in studying, working or volunteering abroad. Indeed, as the ambassadress of South Africa said in her impressive speech at the opening of the fair, young people’s interest in getting some experience in a foreign country is increasing. Nevertheless, because of the lack of helpful information, they often face some difficulties with choosing the most adequate option. The exhibition EEBBS was created in order to help the students and their families in this decision-making process. And it was a huge success since the fair attracted hundreds visitors, most of whom were students aged between 17 and 25, who were over-motived to get involved in an international program.      The participation of our association For You in this fair aimed at the popularization of the non-formal educational program EVS among these young people as a unique opportunity for exploring a foreign culture abroad for free. The visitors who came to our stand were very enthusiastic and, for some of them, really interested in taking part of one European project in the future. They had the occasion to speak with three volunteers from Spain, Portugal and France with whom they shared personal experiences; and showed the diversity of the languages they already know, thanks to an interactive game we set up in our stand.                   This fair was also an opportunity for the volunteers to immerse themselves in the remarkable capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. Thanks to a two hours free tour, we deeply explored the city and its history and discovered its traditional centre, its ancient monuments from millennia BC, as well as its modern part. We also had the chance to be present at one traditional Bulgarian wedding during the official dinner organized by the fair in one mexana. All the nationalities were gathered around this wonderful show made of folk dances, customs and traditional Bulgarian food.

We spent three enriching days in this impressive city, and we left it with the hope that our participation to the exhibition ‘Education Beyond Borders’ will be beneficial for the young people we had the chance to meet.