Interview With Laura – Our Creative Graphic Designer, Who Likes to Combine Work in the Office With Outdoor Activities

Laura is a 29 years old volunteer from Lithuania. We are just sitting in the office and discussing her age, as she doesn’t look like being almost in her thirties. I think it is because she likes to spend so much time outside. She has also another theory. She thinks that it may be because of differences in the appearance between Lithuanians and Bulgarians. So guys, if you want to feel younger then go to another country, or exercise more!

Laura, what have you been doing in Lithuania before coming to Bulgaria for EVS?

Since I finished my Master’s I was working in different places. Last year I decided to take a break and to search for other opportunities to express myself and to use the skills I already gained. After a small research, I realized that a volunteering program could be the best option for me to explore new spheres of work, to find new opportunities, and to live abroad for a while. I was very interested in the EVS concept as it is a mix of non-formal education and work.

Let me just tell you how she found out about EVS in the first place. Looking for different opportunities she came across the website of her sending organization “Actio Catholica Patria” in Lithuania, which is similar to Association FOR YOU. They deal with sending, receiving and coordinating volunteers. Anyway, she participated in the presentation organized with the help of a volunteer from Italy, so she got firsthand information and liked the idea.

Before coming here I was a volunteer for 4 months in a similar program in Lithuania in a National park of Curonian spit, also known as “Lithuanian Sahara”, which is an area protected by UNESCO. I have been living there in a remote place, far away from home. I worked in a tourist office and was also dealing with promotion.


Why did you decide to move here?

First of all, I liked the project here in Varna. The fact that it was related to my previous experience, which was advertising and office work, made the project more appealing.

(Laura works in the office of Association FOR YOU and deals with the promotional materials and communication via social media. Her other tasks are to help with events organized by the organization as well as some additional administrative help).

I also thought that it would be an interesting year full of life with a lot of volunteers and events related to “Varna European Youth Capital 2017”.

Besides, I wanted to do my EVS in a southern country, where the weather would be better and warmer than in Lithuania. Varna just seemed to be a perfect place for a nice summer by the sea 🙂

What did you know about Bulgaria before coming here?

I knew that it is a EU country in Balkans with a nice nature, white sand beaches, mountains and good weather. This is due to the fact that more and more Lithuanians go on holidays to the Black Sea resorts in Bulgaria. I also have read a lot of interesting information before coming here, about UNESCO sites, the minimum salary, festivals, events, cultural things etc.

What were your expectations about EVS and how do you find the reality after almost 2 months?

Actually, I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I just thought I would do a job similar to the ones that I have already experienced. There was just one difference. It wasn’t supposed to be in the business sector but in a NGO. I was also thinking about the sea and good weather in Varna 🙂 And actually my expectations were met.

Was it difficult for you to find yourself in a new city, country, work environment?

About the city, for me, it was difficult to see so many homeless dogs and cats. The streets aren’t so clean as well. It also seems that people here are more relaxed, not following schedules or rules. As I am a person who likes to plan in advance, I felt confused at the beginning.

We just had a conversation about that with Laura, because I was wondering if this “relaxed” attitude influenced her somehow. Apparently, it made Laura rely more on her own planning (which, I think, is a good thing).

What do you think about Varna?

Varna is a lively city, full of young people, restaurants, events and services. Moreover, it has a nice coast, Sea garden and the Black Sea. I like that I can reach a lot of things just by walking, it is very convenient.

And what do you think about Varna being European Youth Capital 2017?

I am glad because I think that it is a good opportunity for a city to have more investments for new events, culture exchanges and interesting projects. I think Varna deserves this evaluation because it is a city full of young people and it has a lot of things to offer, especially during the summer time 🙂

What do you like most about Bulgaria?

I like that Bulgaria has a nice nature and good weather, it is very pleasant for me. I hope to see a lot of nice places here:) I also like that it is not an expensive country and I can explore a lot of things without spending too much money. I can go to the Opera House or the swimming pool. I can attend sports classes, eat fish soup in a restaurant or “джоб” from the street, travel etc. I am also happy that I can communicate with people here. I have learned the Russian language and I can read Cyrillic. It makes speaking with older Bulgarian a lot easier for me. Lots of young people speak English as well.

What do you dislike most about Bulgaria?

I don’t like that a lot of people smoke and that it is allowed to smoke inside many places. But I am searching for the other bars and restaurants where it is forbidden, and I have already found a lot.

What was the most abstract situation you have experienced in Bulgaria so far?

I think it happened in the middle of February when I was walking by the sea. I saw men in a strange “bath” and “shower” next to the sea with water that didn’t smell very well. I felt confused, I thought what are they doing here? Later I found out that it is a small outside “bath” with the hot water from the springs under the ground. Apparently, older men believe that it is very healthy to take a bath there (see a picture below).

What is your favourite word in Bulgarian?

Няма проблем. We always say this phrase with our flatmates when we don’t understand Bulgarian behaviour or when things don’t go the way we want them to go. This phrase helps us to relax and to think more positive:)

It is a nice expression indeed! And I think today’s random quotation is going to suit it at some point. These are the words of Andrew Matthews: “Happiness is a decision, not the point on the map.” So make good decisions 😉