Interview with Dovilé, the Lithuanian Girl Who Works for the University of Varna

Hi Dovilé! Please introduce yourself speaking briefly about who you are, where are you from and where are you going (“it’s a long story” won’t be accepted as a valid answer). 

Hello, Micky and everybody who is reading this text! As Micky already mentioned my name is Dovilė Uždavinytė. I came from the most beautiful country in the world – Lithuania – and currently, I live in Varna, Bulgaria. Since September 2015, I have been a European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteer in the International Relations Office at the University of Economics – Varna.

To tell truth is very hard to explain who I am and in general speaking about myself is not my favourite thing. So I chose the best way out of it. If you let me, I would like to share my formula of living (I believe, it could say more about me than my name or age). So here you are: my formula of living is quite simple: in the morning I get up and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.

I like to learn day by day, year by year in order to broaden my horizons. I am not like a lot of people who look at the negative side of what they feel cannot do. I always look at the positive side of what I can do. I could say, the strongest features of my personality are that I can call myself a very hardworking and stubborn person. I believe a person can reach everything in the world only with hard work and a bit of luck. This is the way I am trying to live.


This is not your first experience outside your country since you already had a long term Erasmus in Turkey (Aksaray). For sure you must harbour a certain familiarity with the border countries, as your native country – Lithuania – is located between Europe and the Eastern non-European countries like Russia, whereas Istanbul is the last European outpost before the Middle East. According to this kind of unofficial “tradition”, you chose to apply in Bulgaria for your EVS project. What did push you to come here in Varna and why did you select a place so far from the central part of Europe and so close with Turkey at the same time? 

Let‘s start from the beginning. When I was in the last year of my studies in Environmental Science and Ecology, I decided to have a small break and spend some months abroad. Of course, after quite long considerable searching, I realized that the European Voluntary Service (EVS) projects would have been the best option for me. So, without waiting for better times I started to look for a project that I would like.

And I guess, I have been a very lucky person since I sent just a few applications and I was selected for two different projects in Bulgaria and in Spain. Maybe someone could think I am completely crazy, because of my choice to come to Bulgaria instead of Spain, but I never regretted my decision.

I would like to emphasize I did not choose a country or a particular city. I came to Bulgaria just because I found the project at the University of Economics – Varna very interesting. Before coming here I did not know almost anything about this country. And really I would never have thought I would have moved to Bulgaria to spend one year of my life. Maybe because of that my EVS experience has been so varied and exciting.

Tell us what are your usual tasks at the University of Economics – Varna and which kind of events or cultural initiatives have you been organizing on behalf of your hosting faculty. Do you feel a satisfying connection with the academic environment and the Bulgarian university students? 

During this year, I met a lot of people. And you know what? One of the most popular questions for me was exactly the same: “What are your tasks at university?”. My work consists of two main parts and a lot of other additional tasks.

The first main part of this is administrative work in the office. I help my colleagues who work with incoming Erasmus+ students. The second main task is the development and implementation of cultural events program at UE-Varna. Additional tasks are about the university advertising campaign, training for incoming and outgoing Erasmus+ students, representation of university and any kind of support for visiting lecturers. Perhaps, many of you who read about administrative work at the office would be bored.

So I am going to talk about the funniest part or my work – the cultural event’s program at the university. During the previous year we organized two “jam sessions”, seven “International evenings” (Brazilian, French-German, Scandinavian, Bulgarian, Baltic, Hungarian and Russian) and four “International film screenings”.

The University of Economics – Varna is a huge hierarchical institution. In my work, I have just a very little contact with the academic staff and the Bulgarian students if they are not getting ready to participate in the Erasmus exchange. Mostly, I am spending my time only with the staff from the international relations office. Although, I consider them not only as my colleagues since we have become good friends as well.

Vania is the head of the international relations office and my supervisor. She is a teacher, a responsible person for our office and also “the great mother”. In my opinion, Vania is a perfect example of how a woman should be.

Another colleague is Julia, who takes care of all the Russian speaking students and not only. My impression about her is that the feeling of care is stuck in her genes. I will certainly invite her to my wedding as a planner.

Nevena is always funny, full of energy and new ideas. Without her, our advertising campaign for university really wouldn’t have appeared so well.

Darina is a very beautiful lady, who is a kind of emblem for our office. I love her style of dressing.

And the guy who already left our university: my dear EVS friend and colleague Andrea. He was my personal adviser in all the matters of life. I am very grateful to him for all that support.

Alek is the sweetest Bulgarian guy who I have ever met. His smile brightens our working days.

Finally, Georgy acts like a kind of “peace-keeping” person in our office. I am very happy I have met all these people.

My project is not only about the work I do. This project has been like my whole one-year life here in Varna. I worked for the others, but at the same time, I got a lot of benefits from the experience. It lets me grow as a person: I found out my strengths and weakness; every time I become more and more confident, brave, patient, responsible and – the most important – happy. I improved my empathy, my organizational, communication, listening, contact making, public speaking – and so on – skills.

Moreover, I got a lot of knowledge which I can use in my daily life. And – last but not least – the reason that why I am a volunteer is that volunteering makes me feel important and beneficial. Knowing that today I can do something for the other people makes me every morning wake up with a smile and the feeling that today is a good day and I couldn’t waste any second of it.


Are you thinking about what would you like to try after the end of your EVS experience? How you might see yourself in 5 years from now if things went exactly as you planned?

The end of my project is not so far. Actually, it is almost finished. At the end of August, I will leave Varna and I will go back to my country. I still do not know where I wanna turn my way. So far I’m just planning to start studying for a Master degree. As I have already mentioned I have a Bachelor degree in environmental science and ecology. This summer I made a big change in my field of studies.

Starting from September 2016 I will begin to study Applied Biotechnology. My specialization will be on clinical research. I will allow myself to dream a little bit. Because for now I just simply can’t imagine myself as a scientist. But after five years, I want to see myself at the higher position in the team of researchers, where I can make decisions and manage the team. And where I can utilize my skills and knowledge efficiently for the organization and myself. Hard work plays a major role for a successful life and I trust it.

What do you think are the most amazing elements of your actual Bulgarian lifestyle in comparison with the past life in your country – except for the Bolla Bar, the wonderful beach, Menthol and Cubo, the cheap strong drinks and the cheap strong drinks sitting on the wonderful beach of Menthol and Cubo?

In Lithuania, I was a pretty much busy student. The last years of my bachelor were very difficult for me. I needed to complete the final bachelor work and it made my life really complicated. Here in Varna, I feel much more freedom. After work, I am free to do whatever I like. No need to think about studies, homework, etc. I have plenty of time to visit different format events, travelling or just chilling on the beach. Maybe my work in the project is more structured in comparison with the other EVS volunteers and I am quite busy here as well. But actually this is the thing I like and I highly appreciate. I guess I haven’t even imagined that EVS could bring me such a good experience; something far and away more meaningful than the project itself and my simple life Bulgarian life.


You have a kind of natural tendency to live some unusual and uncomfortable situations, coming back to Bulgaria after a long holiday in Lithuania passing through Turkey exactly in the same day of a failed attempt or revolution, for example. Tell us the craziest, weirdest, funniest, the most awkward or messy experience you faced during your EVS experience (I have the strong impression this gonna be the shortest or the longest answer of the interview). 

Micky, you are right. My life is always full of the strangest adventures, and I guess not only here in Varna. It happens to me since that time I was born 🙂 After all my stories one of my colleagues told me I should write a book about my life in Bulgaria. But because I am not a great writer or a novelist, my vivacious stories will stay unwritten. Actually, I feel better when I tell them in words. And sometimes it seems to me that anyone in Varna has heard about all my adventures. So I do not want to repeat them again.

What a big pity for our audience! I Know there would be so many long stories to tell! Anyway, thanks for your precious testimony and see you in front of the beach for playing silly and absurdly contorted Lithuanian card games.