Interview With Beñat, the French Journalist of the Urban-Route Magazine

Hi Beñat, just to introduce yourself speak briefly about your life: who you are, where are you from and where are you going.

My name is Beñat Thomas. I am from the south-west of France, in the Basque country. I never lived out of Europe and I do not really know where my next step will take place in the future.


According to your CV, you had a lot of different and eclectic experiences and you already lived and worked in some foreign places before. What do you do in your everyday life, how did you find this particular opportunity and what did push you to apply for your Bulgarian project?

After three years of studying economy and law in Bordeaux, I prepared my master of management in Spain in the Universidad de Jaén. Since this moment, I did not really follow a straight line. I have experience as a social worker in the field of Animation, being first animator, manager and trainer using non-formal education. After my Erasmus year in Spain, I thought I could not take part anymore in European programs of mobility.

But I discovered the program Leonardo Da Vinci which gives the opportunity to do internships abroad. I worked as an assistant project manager in the NGO Semper Avanti from Wroclaw in Poland. I learnt more about Erasmus plus, which started to be officially active in June 2014, and worked with volunteers. Because it changes often, it is hard for me to describe exactly what I am doing in my everyday life in France. I found the opportunity to come to Varna during a meeting with my sending organization Ceméa Aquitaine which is a partner of FOR YOU. The project seemed really interesting to me and I applied. After two weeks, an administrative folder and a lot of emails, I was taking a plane to go to Varna in order to live my first experience as a journalist with Elena Vladova, from Urban-Route.

Most of the people think that being a journalist and getting almost everyday free accreditations for a lot of different cultural events (and the related buffets) could be really entertaining and funny.

According to my past experiences, I could say that this is true but just for one side of the medal.

Talk to us about the most challenging and inspiring aspects of your actual internship. What are you learning of totally new and what kind of previous skills are you improving massively day by day? 

It is really enjoying and exciting to participate in a lot of different cultural events. It is sometimes funny and always interesting – even if there is not any buffet. The main difficulty is to choose between two events happening at the same time. You speak about challenges, brain wave, learning-by-doing and skills development.

Indeed this is the point. In fact, I am taking notes and pictures going to events, places and meeting different people. After, I write articles in French about it on the website Urban-route. The website exists to provide information about the life in Varna but can also evoke Bulgarian sites, traditions, culture. As I arrived two months ago I already learnt how to search for information precisely or how to use the CPS. I am also improving my observation skills, always ready to catch information; my communication; and actually the worst one, the way I organize myself. It was really a challenge for me being regularly organized.


In the beginning, you had to stay in Bulgaria just for two months but after few days you changed idea deciding to keep living in Varna three months more. For sure something related to the Bulgarian lifestyle or to your working environment must have struck you a lot. Explain the reasons which pushed you to postpone your coming back to France and in general your main impressions about your hosting country. 

I did not really change my idea. I always wanted to stay more but the project was initially for two months. As I told before, the project is exciting and I learn a lot every day. Taking part of an internship in Bulgaria was also for me the opportunity to discover this country whose I did not know previously. My main feelings are clearly influenced by my role in Varna. Here I have the feeling that people are more culturally active as if the culture was more reachable than where I live in France. I don’t know if in fact is it real, but I also think that the youth and the elderly are involved in a lot of actions in the city: People living together, participating in small initiatives everywhere and creating.

Since your actual tasks are about arranging some reports and articles for your French magazine, write a short journalistic gonzo-style story concerning the weirdest, funniest, most awkward or charming experience you faced here in Bulgaria. Every direct or indirect reference to myself will be promptly censored! 

I was looking for a hairdresser since a week. But every place I found was always full or totally empty. One day I strictly decided to go. I went to the street and found a small shop close to my flat. It was really small. From outside I could see the entire room. A small curtain was hiding a couch at the back. I knocked on the door, determined to leave my hair. A voice thundered. I was not determined anymore. It was too late. A woman in her fifties appeared. She had a Sengoku haircut. A sentence came to my mind. In French, we say that “shoemakers wear the worst shoes”. I told her in an approximative Bulgarian that I was looking for a hairdresser, and asked if she could be the one. She said “no”. But her body and face were saying “yes”. I was totally lost.

Finally, I just sat in a big dentist chair. She took a white tape and put it around my neck.  Impossible to really explain what I wanted, she started to cut, and cut, and cut. I wanted to stand up and leave before the tragedy. She was not talking. Me neither. The sound of scissors was dreadful. I was only able to count my hair falling on my shoulders. Finally. Silence. She showed me my new haircut with a mirror. Behind first. I could not see anything. I said “добре!”. I wanted to leave. After a while, I realized that she did exactly what I wanted to. I met a new person in my neighbourhood


I can detect inside this small tale a nice Noir and Mystery background taste, with some shades of pure horror. Nice! Thanks, Hunter Beñathompson! See you in some infamous Varna nightclubs to share shady stories concerning the human misery and abstruse consideration about the meaning of life.