iHigher – Carmen, “Bulgaria is not only Sofia”


The 10th month is here, my EVS adventure started in September and now it is June. Many things have happened since the last article that we wrote and I would like to share some of them with all of you.

The first three months of this year I felt very busy in Smokinya Foundation, it was the time to submit projects, make partnerships, organize trainings and contact with other NGOs around Europe. So, we had a few months of hard work – it was nice because the weather was extremely cold, I didn’t want to travel or spend much time outside so I was focused on my job.


Then, in March, things started to change, we attended the mid-term training and it was extremely useful, we met old friends from other cities, we made new ones and we got more ideas and inspiration to continue with the second period of our volunteering, we were already used to living in a foreign country and the challenge was to keep the energy and positivity. It was really valuable and inspiring.

In April, many things changed, we received two new volunteers in our foundation. It was a very important moment in my EVS because I started alone with my colleague Ilze, we went through many different experiences together – but only the two of us, so for us it was amazing to host two new girls, full of energy and fresh ideas. It was also nice because the tasks were divided and we now have more time for ourselves. Moreover, the fifth volunteer came a few weeks later, so we are now five Smokinya volunteers – which is really nice.

Overall April was a nice month although I had few sad moments, my best friends finished their EVS experience and I felt quite alone and down for a few weeks, but that is life, you need to overcome situations and find positive things everywhere. And that is what I did, I decided to contact with those friends who I made in the mid-term/on-arrival and I traveled to some cities to visit them: Plovdiv, Sliven, Pazarchik… It was a really nice adventure to discover Bulgaria.



After that, I had two visits, first my family came to visit me for one week and it was awesome, we spent such a beautiful time here all together and two weeks after that two of my best friends came to Sofia, it was a week full of joy and happiness, one of my best weeks here. We participated in the Sofia PRIDE 2019, we went to Rila Monastery, thermal waters etc…


And now, I am working hard on my personal project, my goal is to finish it in one month – if you already don’t know what it is about, I will tell you: I am doing a research about the needs of the LGBTI+ community here in Bulgaria. My colleague and I noticed a lack of knowledge in many areas like health system, education, NGO field, sex education, politic matters. So, weare making a project based on interviews and after that we will organize an event to show the results. I will update you very soon about it!

For now, that is all I wanted to tell you, I will update you with my final article in a few weeks.

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This program is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme to support education, training, youth and sport in the European Union.



iHigher – Carmen, “Bulgaria is not only Sofia”