Wednesday, July 24, 2013

From Bulgaria to the Netherlands


Bozhan is building up his life in his new geographical basis. With enthusiasm and optimism. 

Name:  Bozhan Chipev
Age:     25
From:   Sofia, Bulgaria
To:       Amsterdam, the Netherlands
For:      Master in New Media

1. Why Amsterdam?

“I came to do my Master’s degree in Amsterdam, because it’s the best education in terms of value-for-money. It is cheaper than the UK, and better than in the Scandinavian countries, at least in the field of New Media.”

Balcony view

2. Your academic interest.

“My academic background is quite diverse – I completed a dual BA degree at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) with Journalism and Mass Communications as one major and Political Science and International Relations as the second. After graduating I ended up spending a year as a junior reporter in a large print and web media outlet in Bulgaria, which sparked my interest in technology and new media.

3. The hardest thing to get used to in the new city.

“Nothing has really been hard, as people in Amsterdam are very accustomed to foreigners and communicating in English with them. Perhaps the toughest part is dealing with the government administration, and especially the tax authorities, who are forbidden by law to communicate in a language other than Dutch.”

4. People of the city in 3 words.

“Tolerant. Direct. Biking.”

5. What you miss the most from your country.

“Life is easier close to home. There are all kinds of safety nets – friends, family, less bureaucracy. Maybe what I miss the most is the sense of belonging, the feeling that I’m at home, and not in a foreign country. Because as open and tolerant as Amsterdammers are, they can often make you feel as an outsider, even if it’s not on purpose.”

6. Your new habit.

“Oh, there are so many of those. Biking is the main one, but also having only bread and cheese for lunch, or always carrying an emergency jacket in case of unexpected torrential rain.”

7. What do you find the most impressive thing about the Dutch culture.

“The fact that they are literraly conquering land from the ocean and creating new space from themselves out of nothing. The Dutch singlehandedly invalidated one of the many emblematic Mark Twain quotes: "Buy land, they're not making it anymore".”

8. Your career plan.

“I’m currently working in Marketing for a German startup company based off of the RockStart accelerator in Amsterdam. The plan is to continue getting experience in the field. Ideally, I would like to travel and work/live in different places around the world, but if I “only” get to stay in Amsterdam, I will be a happy man.”

9. Your thoughts about going back home.

“Although I realise that Bulgaria needs all the Western-educated young people it can get in order to improve the socio-economic situation in the country, I would rather continue my life and work abroad.”

10. Your furthest dream.

“My most far-fetched dream is to start an online business that can be headquartered anywhere (or nowhere), allowing me to both make a good living and not rooting me to one particular city or country.”

11. What you will keep forever after Amsterdam.

“The skill to ride a bike in heavy rain and wind while holding an open umbrella. If I ever learn it, that is.”

Young Dentist in Wales

Setting up a new life in UK

 Romina is a dentist who has just started her career. She took the decision of  moving in Wales to build the foundations on which she can base the start of her life. Until her return in Greece, 
she explores the English culture and landscapes.

Name:  Romina Gkioni
Age:     26
From:   Piraeus
To:       Barmouth, Wales
For:     Work and Studies

Caernarfon, Wales

1. Why Wales?

“I found a very good work offer there. I went for the interview, liked the place and some months later moved in. Quite simple. UK generally was the goal. Wales was just good luck.”

2. Your decision to leave Greece.

“It was not easy but it was something that I've been thinking for many years. I was at the second year at University when I first heard about what UK offers to young dentists. Very good working opportunities as well as a lot of different options for postgraduate studies. It's not simple to leave your home and everything that you knew until now behind, but in life you need to try for the best. The crisis made it much easier to take  the decision of course...”

3. The first difficulty you confronted after you left.

“Bureaucracy!!! You may not believe it but it seems worse than ours.
And the language which is much different from the English that are taught in Greece.”

4. The hardest thing to get used to in the new city.

“That you are different from the others. And this is not common here because it's a small city and population is only Welsh and English people.  We are a small minority here.”

5. What do you see from your window.

“Trees and after that the ocean! I love it!”

Window view

6. People in the city in 3 words 

“kind, smiling, helpful”

7. The best thing to do when it’s sunshine.

“Explore different aspects of this beautiful country!”

8. The best thing to do at night.

“Stay at home and watch a movie. There is not much to do outside.”

9. Your impression about working as a dentist in England.

“It is nice. It's just a different approach to the same thing. People here have different needs than people in Greece. It is interesting, you have the chance to work with many patients and gain a lot of experience something that is not easy any more for young dentists in Greece.”

10. Your new habit.


11. Your thoughts about going back to Greece.

“That's something I am really looking forward to. It's really nice here but there is no place like home. One day...”

12. How the Greek crisis affects your life in England.

“It really didn't. People ask us about the crisis sometimes but quite typically, to tell the truth, they don't really care. The only way in which the crisis made our lives different is that we meet Greeks all the time everywhere around the UK!!”

13. Your furthest dream.

“Live in Greece, have a family, be surrounded by people I love, in a society that has finally found it's way, have a job that enables me to cover my needs and… travel a lot.”

14. Your definition of “home”.

“Home is where you feel safe, where you can be happy and most of all where the people that you love are.”