Interview with Cecile, the French girl from Reims

Hi Cecile! Introduce yourself and speak shortly about your life, your provenience, your past working experiences outside your native country and the desires concerning your future plans.
 Hi Michele! I’m Cécile and I come from France. Naturally I have a hometown, but since 2012 i don’t live more than 6 months in the same place! So one year in Varna will be a feat!
I’m graduated in Development and Protection of Cultural Heritage (it’s not the full title 😉 ), so before living here i was a guide in an architectural site in France! Since my internship in Görlitz (Germany) i just wanted to live again abroad, to open my mind more and knowing how work in a multicultural environment.

I’m not sure about my future plans: maybe keep travelling with a goal or a project and later working in the pedagogic department of a museum!


Is Bulgaria that kind of country you expected? 

Actually i don’t know. I had no clear ideas about Bulgaria, just roses, yogurt and a good volleyball team! But i wanted to come here, in order to know better the East Europe and having a real cultural shock, and i’m not disappointed for that. For example the language is the first: I feel like a child who needs to learn everything!

Which tasks and activities are you doing in your hosting organization? Do you feel a close connection with the other volunteers, colleagues and associations? 
I’m glad of my tasks in my organization, as at the beginning i applied for another project but this one failed, and my organization LECTI accepted to receive me. We planned my activities together: organizing cultural events on international topics, organizing informations and intercultural events for students, supporting the adaptation and integration of foreigners in Varna Naturally i have close connections with some people and less with other ones, that’s the life! For sure i have good connections in my work, cause is really hard to share the same spaces with your colleagues if there aren’t connections at all. Of course out of the working environment i have met people with which i like to spend time! How many places have you visited during your bulgarian staying and what do you plan to visit in the next months?

Since i’m here i visited approximately seven places, like Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Burgas. I strongly suggest to all of you going to Veliko Tarnovo cause for the moment it’s my favorite. At the opposite i was kind of disappointed by Sofia! Regarding my future plans, i’ve already planned to meet a friend in Istanbul and another in Bucharest. Last but not least, i’m going to visit the Bulgarian mountains: whereas we have the sea, i need mountains to be really “happy”!

One weeks ago you had an arrival training in a nice sea place next to Varna. Explain to our attached readers what is an arrival training and why it is really important for the purposes of the EVS development. In your own experience did you find it useful, entertaining or enlightening? How many things have you learnt about yourself and your attitudes and what stroke you more regarding the activities and the teaching methods employed (except for the dancing contexts and the alcolic symposiums on the beach)? Do you have some complains to do about your permanence there?

Try to imagine a short guide titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bulgaria” with few useful informations (the most important ones according to your first living experiences) about how to survive in this country as EVS volunteer. When you’ve finished spread it with our aficionados followers.
The arrival training is a 5-days course during which all the European volunteers arrived approximately at the same time and meeting each other in order to know more about volunteer’s rights, how build a project etc. That’s really important because some people are not enough informed about volunteer’s rights and the practical operations of EVS. So during this training you can ask the trainers about everything in order to receive a lot of practical informations.This arrival training was kind of useful, but unfortunately it came really late for some of us, so sometimes it was kind of boring (i arrived here in October and i also had a training with my sending organization before flying to Bulgaria).
Otherwise, it was important because the main topic of the “game project” was one of the topics of my work “how survive in Bulgaria?”, so thanks to the trainings i could share about it and i guess that was the most important point of these five days: meeting people and sharing experiences and ideas with them. For sure it gave me more motivation to do my work and to realize my own projects…I can’t say how many things i learnt about myself and my attitudes, because it’s not a question of quantity… It was not the first time for me to attend a training like that, as two years ago i was volunteer in a French organization and i had also this type of training before summer camps with my work team, so it’s usual for me. But still each time i might focus on my weaknesses – which are many – and learning how to manage them.I really like trainings, as i love games/theater so much and the methods are obviously inspired by these fields. I learn better and i’m more concentrated if i do the things in a funny way.

My five tips concerning “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bulgaria”:
1/ Keep the smile in every situation.2/ Be flexible & patient (i’m working on it every day as i was not that kind of girl, really!).3/ Change your “yes and no” gestures cause our ‘yes’ means ‘no’ in Bulgarian and vice versa (really, when you’ve got that life is easier).4/ Be careful to savage cats and dogs as they are EVERYWHERE. 5/ Stop to compare Bulgaria with your homecountry or others.

Mercí Cecile, see you everyday in the best place in Varna and pay attention to rabid dogs and cats and gremlins, especially in the weekend.