Bulgaria tends to be a country that many people know little about. At the start of my journey I could also be counted as one of these people. So before I started to write more in depth posts about my life in Bulgaria, I thought it would be interesting to share a few simple facts about the country I study in.
- It is a country in south-eastern Europe, its bordered by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia,Greece and Turkey. (This means lots of exciting short breaks during random term time holidays!)
- Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.(So I can use my medical degree from Bulgaria in any country in the EU and the UK – I will do a separate post on how England leaving the EU affects this situation)
- Bulgaria has a population of 7.4 million people.(The UK has a population of 64.1 million, so lets just say Bulgaria is on the smaller side)
- The national language is Bulgarian.(The language is similar to Russian and completely different to English, needless to say this proved to be a bit of a struggle)
- The alphabet is in Cyrillic.(България- Bulgaria written in cyrillic, this new alphabet does not make life easy and can take some time to learn)
- The Bulgarian currency is known as LEV.(This has got to be one of the best things about living in Bulgaria, the exchange rate means that it’s a very cheap country to live in compared to the UK)
- Bulgarians shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no.(The sooner you learn this, the easier your life will become it can lead to a lot of confusion between locals and foreigners!)
At the age of 18, having just finished sixth form I decided that the course that I had applied for at university in England was just not for me. It had no real appeal to me, I just like many others had been caught up in the UCAS frenzy and found myself applying for a course I didn’t really have any interest in. On results day however, I decided that it would be silly of me to spend three years of my life studying a subject that I wasn’t all that keen on.
After reflecting on my situation, I decided that I would take a gap year and reapply the following year to study medicine. However, the more I thought about taking a gap year the less appealing the idea seemed..the concept of sitting at home for one year whilst all my friends would be enjoying university just didn’t appeal to me.
This led to me looking into alternative ways to study medicine without having to take a dreaded gap year. After a few hours of googling I came across the idea of studying medicine abroad, I was intrigued and decided to look into it further. It became clear that I could study medicine in Europe at several GMC recognised universities, and at the end of my degree I would be able to practise in the UK just as any other UK medical student can. I decided to use an agency to help me in the process, which made the experience a little less scary, and before I knew it I had booked my flight to Bulgaria to start my degree.
The agency offered me the choice of studying in several countries in eastern Europe yet I decided to go to Bulgaria.Why? Well really this came down to two reasons. Firstly, out of the few people I knew of who had decided to study abroad those who had chosen to go to Bulgaria seemed to me had, had the best experience and the easiest transition. Knowing friends that had previously adjusted to this very country gave me a level of comfort. Secondly, quite simply after a few minutes looking at the google images web search of Bulgaria and videos on YouTube, Bulgaria just appealed to me more than the other countries at offer. Having never visited this country before, it was a risky decision I know, but in my opinion a risk worth taking.
Thank you for reading this post, and you can look forward to more exciting posts on this blog very soon !