No, You Don’t Have a Deja Vu. Joeri is One of the Twins Who Do Their Internship in Varna

Joeri is a 20 years old Belgian guy who came to Bulgaria in February to do his internship. You had a chance to read an interview with his twin brother Jan. The guys are leaving at the end of May so you have the last chance to get to know them!


Just one month of your internship in Varna left. How do you feel about it?

At the moment I’m just enjoying my time here, so I don’t really think about it. But when people mention it, I feel a little bit sad because I like it here. I think these sad feelings will slowly sink in during my last two weeks in Varna. Too bad I can’t stay longer.

What made you come here in the first place?

I’m here for my internship so I can graduate for my bachelor when I am back in Belgium.

Why did you choose Bulgaria and Mapache Café & Bakery as your internship position?

Jan and I got two propositions of the places we could do our internship in. It was Association For You and Mapache. I chose the second one because it looked a little bit more interesting to me. I was also curious to see how my internship would be like in a café & bakery place. It is not the most usual place to do your internship.


But why Bulgaria? Didn’t you have any other opportunities?

Yes, we did. We could have applied to England, France etc. Nevertheless, the offer of an internship in Bulgaria was the most interesting. The fact that it was in Bulgaria held me back in the beginning because I had never travelled that far before. But after some time of thinking, I changed my mind and I was sure of my choice.

Does it mean you had doubts about going to Bulgaria? I mean, because it is Bulgaria and because of stereotypes?

I had doubts because of the current things that are happening. For example, I was wondering If it would be safe as it is so close to Turkey or if I would have been able to practice my English in a good way. These were some questions going through my mind. It wasn’t because of stereotypes of Bulgaria, because I had none.

What image about Bulgaria did you have in your head before coming here then?

Less modern buildings than in Belgium and remainings of communism. I also thought it would be cheaper than in my country.

Small interruption from my side: I love remainings of Socialist realism in Bulgaria and I encourage you to discover them! It is an interesting part of the country and exploring it may be an adventure. There is a pretty cool example in Varna: Park-Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship.

Ok, let’s come back to your work. What can you tell us about your tasks?

I’m improving and maintaining the Facebook page and the website of Mapache café & Bakery. I also think about possible events and organize them.

Maybe some of you had a chance to participate in the Pitjesbak – Belgian dice game or Belgian Soiree which were prepared in the Mapache with the help of Joeri. I’m sure we all wait for more ideas!

Do you feel any change in you after spending 3 months in Bulgaria?

I think I became more independent as I had to make my own food, go to the store by myself and so on.

As I already wrote, interviewing Jan, you can guess that in this case it is also the first living abroad experience for Joeri.  As well as living outside of the family house. I can tell you one thing, Joeri is definitely becoming a better cook every day. Last time he served us an apple dessert. Now you can be jealous! Or just prepare it for yourselves 😀 Who wants the recipe?

What do you think about doing an internship abroad in general?

I think it is a good experience because you are most likely to speak another language every day, you get to know new people and another culture. You also get to see another part of the world that is different from your home environment.


What was the biggest challenge for you so far? And what kind of skills have you gained during your internship?

My biggest challenge so far was actually pretty funny. I had to go to the Indian shop to get some products. I am not sure, but because of the shop’s anniversary, you had the possibility to get a 20% discount. To get it you had to mention ‘Happy Birthday Sokoni’ at the counter. Doesn’t seem that big of a challenge but if you think about it, it’s really awkward to wish someone a happy birthday when you don’t know them. First I thought it was a joke from my boss, but I checked it and it was true. So I did what I had to do and we got the 20% discount.

About the skills, I am not sure if you can call them like that, but I just learned a few easy things during my tasks. Like making an event on Facebook or a post.

What about soft skills?

Responsibility. Because of the organization of events and managing my work I feel that I have really improved this part.

Did your experience here influence your ideas about what to do after graduating?

It did not yet influence my plans after graduating. I’ll still have to think about what I am going to do next. But what it did give me is the courage/willingness to go back abroad.

I like that Joeri put “yet” in his answer, have you noticed? 😀

What do you like about Bulgaria?

Places that I’ve been to in Varna (the seaside, the beach) and I also like how the bars and cafés are a bit hidden in the city. I’m always astonished at the interior design and the cosy atmosphere.


What do you dislike about Bulgaria?

That Bulgarians are sometimes too laid-back.

As I haven’t told you much about Joeri, I wanted him to share what he wants to share about himself. I know it is probably the most hated question, but as long as it is not me who is supposed to answer, then I don’t really care…

Who are you?

I am a nice guy from Antwerp, the most beautiful city in Belgium. We have this saying: “Antwerp is THE city and the rest is parking space”. I wonder why they say we are arrogant?

I love to play drums. Playing music is my favourite thing to do when I’m on my own. While playing I’m in my own world, separated from everyone else. It is just me, sitting behind the drums where I can let my worries go.

Together with music, my friends are most important to me. All the experiences that I had, have and will have are great because of them. They just make me happy.


To sum up: “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” as Columbus once said. I am not sure If coming here was such a big challenge for Joeri, but I am sure it could be some kind of losing sight of the shore. At least the one he has always known. And even though he didn’t discover America, he did discover a little bit of Bulgaria.