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Az Izbiram Bulgaria

Why I stayed in Bulgaria and ditched my foreign scholarships

Some would call me crazy, others would think I am naïve, but I would simply classify myself as being faithful – to my heart, my passion, my ambition and my confident belief that loving what you do and hard work can make you successful…in Bulgaria.

Foreign education has changed my view and perception of life and the surrounding world. I had the chance to be admitted in an American university and communicate with prominent professionals from diverse backgrounds, cultures and experience. It taught me discipline, ambition and stamina and made me a masochistic workaholic whose main goal was to succeed in life. And I did…

Throughout the four years of taking my bachelor degree I had never been the typical geek, in fact, the opposite – a never-tired party animal, who has succeeded to get on the nerves of the discipline panel committee, but at the same time – have some of the highest grades in the group. As I don’t drink alcohol at all (no, never, as weird as it sounds), it was not that hard – lack of sleep was compensated by positive emotions gathered from smashing parties or reading the next book. I will always remember the university librarian – a unique lady, who lightened up the fire in me for reading books and striving to know more and more and more… until I’d read everything she had in the library. I was extremely motivated by tutors I met there as well– passionate for what they do, caring for students and their progress, inspirational for all of us. I couldn’t miss a lecture and could hardly wait for them to come, especially some of them, who will always have a place in my heart. And this is how, amazingly, I graduated with one of the highest GPAs (average grade).

Soon after that I received two scholarship offers for my master degree – logically, from the same university I graduated from. Two of their branches have offered me full scholarships – one located in Seattle, USA and the other – in Athens, Greece. I hadn’t made my mind whether to study abroad or not and thus, applied for a scholarship in IFM (Institute of Finance and Management) in Geneva, Switzerland and City University of Sheffield (the campus in Thessaloniki, Greece). I had to go for a month in Geneva for tests, exams and interviews with the admission committee. Once I got there I started missing Bulgaria and soon after I realized that it would be extremely difficult for me to be away for a year or two. Anyway, I stayed and performed outstandingly on all of the “challenges” set by IFM. I received 90% scholarship along with an offer from Thessaloniki. And there I was, on a crossroad… I was really puzzled. I had the chance to choose – my destination, my university, my future career prospects, and my life. And I did…

At this exact moment, my family had to go through a new battle and this was the second I made my choice immediately. I ditched all my four offers, stayed in Bulgaria, supported my beloved ones, paid for my master and fought. And you know what – I don’t regret my decision for a second. Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice… Now, I am an honorary lecturer in one of the universities I ditched years ago, I run my own online store, I manage a summer tourism business on the Bulgarian seaside, I work online for a UK research company and enjoy life… in Bulgaria. I have fought to achieve all that, I have worked in many places, tried dozens of different things, but never gave up my faith and inner belief that I can be one of the successful stories. Currently, I work and communicate with remarkable talented people and young professionals who can also be exemplar for huge achievements in Bulgaria. But at the end of the day, the most important and significant drive is the feeling of belonging, the recognition of your achievement, and the sweet rewarding smile on your face when you look in the mirror and tell yourself “You did it!”.

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Lyudmila Hristova

Lucy is a dreamer. Born in Veliko Tarnovo, living in Sofia, working in several other cities and traveling a lot, she keeps searching for her new inspiration. Choosing to stay in Bulgaria and proving that "it can still work out", she is always eager to find new challenges and drivers to keep her growing. You can see her both in the classroom lecturing students or on her new jet-ski, exploring the next extreme passion. She would write about anything - from places worth visiting to inspirational stories worth reading.