Luiza Karimova, Our Russian Sunshine Who Shares Her Skills and Experience at the University of Economics – Varna

Luiza is our volunteer from Russia who is a part of the Association For You project since June. She’s 27 years old, full of energy, young woman who decided to turn her life upside down. Are you ready to find out something more about her experience in Bulgaria?

Luiza, why did you decide to do European Voluntary Service?

I followed my curiosity and strong belief in learning through doing. After getting more than five years of work experience in my professional field at some point I decided to turn everything upside down. I figured it might be a good self-test.

Why did you choose to help in the International Relation Office at the University of Economics in Varna? Do you have experience with student exchange on your own?

I was lucky enough to participate in Erasmus+ academic exchange programme and to study in Norway. It was definitely the brightest experience in my life!
I deeply share the core, fundamental ideas of Erasmus+ programme and through commitment to the work with exchange students at UE – Varna I will be able to make my own contribution to that huge project, to become kind of Erasmus+ ambassador. It is a rare chance to gain a deeper understanding of Erasmus+ world and philosophy, to help those for whom the dream of Erasmus+ has become truth.
Experience that I can gain here seems to be unique, taking into consideration international and multicultural work environment, the content of the tasks and undoubted professionalism of my colleagues. There are no reasons to say “No” to this amazing opportunity.

What is the most difficult part of your EVS life?

Answer to the interview questions 🙂

(I have to strongly agree with her 😛)

Which one is the most enjoyable?

I enjoy the project itself, living in different environment, learning new language and exploring Balkan lifestyle. I am happy with everything.

Plovdiv, European Capital of Culture 2019!

What has surprised you in Bulgaria?

I was surprised to know that there is no possibility to get the higher education for free in Bulgaria. It’s one of the reasons why local youth migrates to other EU countries, UK and USA to get higher education and settle their lives there. In Russia all state universities offer both free of charge and fee-paying Bachelor, Master and PhD programmes – it depends only on the results of your graduation/entrance exams.

What do you like most in Bulgaria?

Biodiversity! Nature in Bulgaria is an amazing combination of the plains, plateaus, hills, mountains, rivers and lakes! Around 35% of Bulgaria’s land is covered by the forests. It’s a great gift that locals and tourists should take care of.

What do you dislike most in Bulgaria?

I was a bit disappointed to find a lot of trash on the streets of Varna and bad condition of both pedestrian walkways and roads. Also it’s a good idea to put the house number signs. I hope over time there will be some improvements.

To whom would you recommend EVS?

I would recommend EVS for those who are ready to overcome imperfections and remain positive and enthusiastic, curious and passionate. Volunteering is not for the cake-eaters and whiners. It isn’t always comfortable or easy – but it’s always worth it.

What is the biggest difference and the biggest similarity between Russia and Bulgaria which comes to your mind first?

I would mention similar mentality and languages and different standards of work and communication.

What about Bulgarian language then, is it difficult to communicate with Bulgarians?

The Bulgarian language is not that difficult to learn. Russian and Bulgarian are part of one Slavic language group, so in most cases we understand each other even without translation. I’ve noticed that many elderly people take their chance to speak Russian with me, and they are so glad to share their memories: how they learned Russian at schools, how they visited USSR many years ago, etc. The cultural connection between our countries is still strong and meaningful.

Shortly and without smart quotations because it is summer. Go swim and enjoy sun!