Find Out What Tracey Gillen from Ireland Thinks about Bulgaria and Her Staying in Varna

The Association For You doesn’t only deal with an EVS projects. As you probably already know, from time to time we host interns as well.  Find out what Tracey Gillen from Ireland thinks about Bulgaria and her staying in Varna. You can read about many nice things, but not only as there is a place for criticism as well. Curious? Then start to read!

Tracey next to the Monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship, in Varna.
Tracey working as an intern at the Yo-Ho-Hostel!

What are you doing in Bulgaria?

I am here taking part in an Erasmus+ internship with the role of receptionist/host at Yo Ho Hostel. It’s the best Hostel in Varna (not that I am biased!!!) 😉

Why did you choose this opportunity?

I was contacted by a Bulgarian based agency called “Association For You” who carried out a Skype interview, asking me what type of internship I would like, she then go back to me with the offer for Yo-Ho-Hostel, I did some research and since I had never been to Varna and the reviews were impressive, I chose to come here.

What has surprised you in Bulgaria?

Where do I start (I am sure she is laughing right now), the ungodly hour the seagulls wake.

The stray cats – beware! As they might give you a fright jumping out of the huge bins at the end of each residential street, oh and you might also be surprised by people rummaging through these same bins trying to salvage breakfast for the next morning, very sad sight really. Standards are a lot lower than in Western Europe (and NO I am not a snob!) then again it is a lot cheaper way of life here, so I guess you get what you pay for?!

OMG then you have the service – it’s so slow…!! I have been eating with several groups of people and there is nearly always one member waiting on their dinner while the rest of us are nearly finished!!

One thing you learn here, is that no one is in much of a hurry to really do anything, in one sense it is good to experience it as the typical life I came from, I was always in rush with something to do and somewhere to go. I think if I found a balance between both ways of life, I would leave a very happy girl 😉

What do you think about Bulgarian people?

At first Bulgarian people can come across quite rude (but you get rude people everywhere), their general ‘look’ is quite macho and solemn (until you get to know them).

What do you like about Bulgaria?

The weather and how easy-going it actually is here. Along the coast of the Black Sea there is lots of different experiences to be had. From Varna with its many attractions and history filled with travellers, backpackers and hitch-hikers. Sunny Beach and Golden Sands where you will find built up holiday resorts perfect for holiday makers.

What I have loved the most is meeting so many people who are passing through Varna travelling, hearing stories from the past few days and their plans for the next few days!

I have enjoyed days on ‘hidden gems’ i.e wild beaches – that locals like to keep a secret from tourists, to which I also got to spend a night camping with other volunteers for my flat mates birthday. It was a night I will remember forever as we watched the sun rise the next morning #epic.

Oh and the sunset is absolutely beautiful from Varna Port.

Sunset at the Port of Varna is amazing, isn’t it?

What do you dislike about Bulgaria?

It can be hard to break down the tough exterior of Bulgarian people. Also the ants who take refuge in your apartment over the summer season!!

What was the strangest situation you have experienced while staying here?

A colleague said she would teach me how to make Bulgarian Soup -Taratar (probably spelt wrong) (almost good Tracey! It is Tarator), but after 5 minutes of preparation and her saying, ‘Bon Appetit’, I looked at her confused, saying – ‘you forgot to cook it?!?!’

In Ireland cold soup is no good to anyone, we eat it a lot back home but it is always HOT soup! 🙂

What was the most useful thing you have learnt during your internship?

I have grown personally and professionally on this trip. My placement at the hostel has taught me so much. Not be so sensitive and to man up!! I have learnt not to be nervous when introducing myself to strangers as a lot of guests turned out to be in a similar situation, travelling on their own and nervous also to meet people for the first time.

To whom would you recommend this kind of experience?

I would recommend this opportunity to all students coming up the risk! As it was not an opportunity I could (or knew of) to avail of when I was 18. If I knew of these opportunities while I was at school the first time round, I might never have left!!! 😉