iHIGHER – looking back after a year in Bulgaria


  • What have changed after spending 1 year in Bulgaria?

Hello beautiful Smokinya friends!

This is Ilze and Carmen here. It is August 2019. Isn’t it crazy how fast time runs? It feels like last week when we arrived – from Latvia, just finished high school, from Spain – with just got bachelor degree in social work.
We both have changed a lot during this year. How much? It is hard to say a number or it would be difficult to weight on scales the knowledge and experience we gained.
The last time we updated you guys of what is happening in our lives in the end of June. Let us tell you what happened during those 2 last moths!

Carmen finally successfully finished her personal project – LGTB community needs and challenges in Sofia – with event, beautiful brochures and relief that it has been useful work – it is a base for something even bigger that may happen in the future in Bulgaria. We are all proud with her – it is truly inspiring how dedicated someone can be about topic that she really cares about.

After that chiller mood started – summer, spending time with friends in Bulgaria, volunteering in festivals, supporting Smokinya work during the summer with relaxing events, practicing acroyoga – if you haven’t heard – Carmen is quite good at it. Maybe you also should give it a try.

Ilze was strongly working on her self-development – 10 days in Basic Synergy training – intense self-development training, met so many people from many countries and learned from each other – maybe you have heard some mystical stories about this kind of trainings. Repairing herself after that, doing mandala workshop, 12 day travelling in Balkans all by herself – through Serbia to Montenegro, and back through Kosovo and Macedonia. During this time she have gained so much confidence of what she can get through just with her own strength, met a lot of other inspiring travellers, saw so many beautiful places and so on. Also visiting some more places in Bulgaria like Burgas, Nesebar, Seven Rila Lakes.

And finally – there is just time to say goodbye to all of the friends in Bulgaria, to our wonderful flat mates, our Team, this country that we were calling our home for 1 year.

  • What are 3 biggest things that we have got out of and learned during our volunteering year?

For Ilze it is that that she finally got what she wanted – to understand by herself, what she truly would like to study – what is interesting and attractive for her and her studies will be public health in Latvia.
Another huge learning have been made in direction of taking action – how to be proactive and go for making her ideas become reality, not being afraid of lack of knowledge or what someone else could think of her.

Carmen has the ability now to recognize every opportunity that appears in front of her, to improve her environment and her community, she knows that she has the support of E+ to set up projects and ideas. She left Spain quite lost after finishing her bachelor, this year she has realized that she wants to continue her higher education to offer a quality care to the society.
Finally she has discovered that she loves to do handmade activities, after organizing many creative and inspiring workshops with her team, she found these kind of activities very interesting and relaxing and she really wants to continue with it.

We are truly grateful for Smokinya foundation for given opportunity to be volunteers here for 1 year. It has been an interesting journey for us, organization, everyone who we met on our way.

This is one part of our lives that have ended now and we are looking forward of new adventures – for now in our own countries, studies and future travels.

Thank you all! Best wishes and hopefully see you soon!

With love,
Ilze and Carmen ♥

Research Brochure from Carmen Garcia.

Should you have a question, contact us: info@smokinya.com.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Find us also at:


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

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an
endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be
held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. //
Подкрепата на Европейската комисия за изготвянето на настоящата публикация не представлява
одобрение на съдържанието, което отразява гледните точки само на авторите и не може да се търси
отговорност от Комисията за всяка употреба, която може да бъде използвана за информацията,
съдържаща се в нея.



iHIGHER – looking back after a year in Bulgaria