Two months ago, the 14th of June, I undertook my adventure to start my EVS project – Mountain Assistants – in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The reception was very warm and friendly. From this moment the adapting process to a new home, new culture, new language and new work began. Since the beginning I had to face different challenges that tested me continuously. First of all, I had to learn the Cyrillic alphabet to be able to move around the city, but I took it as a game. I would walk around the city trying to decipher what the posters meat. Then I had to learn to live together with flat mates that had very different customs than mine. Furthermore, I had to carry out the tasks of my work in the host organization, completely different than what I had done before. Most of the tasks are mountain-related and deal with promote safe and sustainable eco-routes, making them more comfortable and attractive, preventing fires and transmitting knowledge and skills regarding the mountains to local people. I am very happy because I am learning this knowledge in a contest that I love the mountains.
For me, this volunteering experience is an adventure that allows me to explore a country that was completely unknown to me. When I have some free time, I can travel around the country visiting friends that I have met during this experience. This simple fact makes my time in this country easier and funnier. I had the opportunity to explore Sofia – the capital of Bulgaria – I went to some emblematic countryside cities, climbed the highest mountain in the Balkans, spend the summer in the warm Black Sea… while trying to figure out how I could find the next train, bus or metro.
At this point, I am very proud of everything that I learnt and that I am learning thanks to this great adventure. Sometimes I find it difficult to overlap my challenges, but this experience made me grow and learn not to waste my time, so that I can enjoy every second of it while improving myself. I think I had the capacity to learn and overcome very quickly these obstacles, such as Bulgarian language that I find very different from Spanish but that now, with a lot of motivation and patience, I can use in simple conversations with local people.
This experience is exceeding all my expectations and I could not be happier with everything I learnt and all the people I met. I am going to maximize the profit of these last two months of my European Voluntary Service.