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"Improve Employability Around You", Youth Exchange in Bulgaria

"Improve Employability Around You", Youth Exchange in Bulgaria

Erasmus + experiences in Bulgaria. Alba and Javier traveled from April 4 to 12 to Pazardzhik (Bulgaria) to participate in the "Improve Employability Around You" project through Mundus.

The two wanted to tell us what their trip was like, what places they visited, and everything they learned those two weeks!

Alba Pino, Madrid, 25 years old:

"April 4-JOURNEY TO BULGARIA. I wake up early, I met Javi, the other Spanish boy, at 8:30 at the airport to catch the flight that will take us to Sofia together. We made crumbs from the first moment on that Spanish support instinct that comes in whenever you are away from home After 3 and a half hours of flight we arrive in Sofia and at the train station we have the first contact with the exchange: the entire Portuguese group also waits for the train to Pazardzhik.

Upon arriving at the hotel, surprise, the Spanish group leader who is also my roommate is missing in combat, we see both alone against Pazardzhik, Bulgaria and the world. We decided to take things with positivism (even after seeing that in the hotel they call a hole in the toilet floor a shower) and go around the city. After our mini excursion we decided to wait for people to arrive at the restaurant for dinner waiting to see if we can establish any friendship. At the moment people do not seem very open and I begin to have doubts that this will end well. We propose to the rest of the people who are in the restaurant, go out for a beer and the Portuguese, three Italian and two French accept the proposal. We are already making pineapple. After the beers we return to the hotel where we join the Greeks and the Romanians. This already begins to seem like an exchange, we are all introducing ourselves talking about our countries and having a good time.

April 5-FIRST DAY OF PRESENTATIONS. We woke up feeling more secure, we have already made a nice little group and we felt more positive about the project.

The course begins, the first day is very light with many presentation activities of both the project and the participants. Javi and I finally meet the other Spaniards, Yaiza and Paula, who are doing an EVS in the city.

What I enjoy most of the day is the outdoor activity, which allows us to know more about the city. In this activity for the first time they separate me from my beloved adventure partner, but I do not feel funny because I know yesterday about a couple of boys from my group. We visited the main tourist places and finished the visit in the zoo-park where we ended up having a beer with another of the groups we met. Pazardhik, that yesterday caused me some sadness, today thanks to the expert guide of our group it seems to me like a little hidden gem.

But where we come up is in the Intercultural Night, that night was for Portugal, Greece, Poland and Italy. After eating and drinking all that our neighbors had brought to present their respective countries, Isabella, a Brazilian who was part of the Portuguese-team, taught to dance samba to everyone who was willing.

6-April THE CHICHA BEGINS. On the second day we started getting more into the subject of the project. They separate us into groups by countries and ask us to prepare a presentation on the situation of young unemployment in our country and what we believe are the causes.

Seeing the rest of the presentations I see that almost all the groups repeat the same words, crisis, lack of work experience, etc., but without a doubt the country that most attracts my attention is Bulgaria, a country in which sexual discrimination is still very I presented. According to what they tell us, it is more likely that between two people equally prepared for a job, the position would go to the woman since they think that it gives the company a better image because it has a “more pleasant” aspect, which forces them to emigrate to most men.

Throughout the week we were able to verify that the objectification of women in positions facing the public (waitresses, clerks, etc.) is a fact in Bulgaria.

At night we had the second Intercultural Night in which the remaining countries participated: Spain, Bulgaria, France and Romania. The Spaniards left the bar high with an omelette, several cheeses, stuffed in industrial quantities and home-made sangria.

April 7-VISIT TO PLOVDIV. Touch visiting day and the place selected is Plovdiv, the oldest city in Europe that will be the European Capital of Culture in 2019. We spend the day visiting the city that is truly beautiful.

April 8-CV. After the quietest day in Plovdiv we have to get to work seriously. Today we evaluate our skills and in groups we create “the magic soup” that will open the doors to any job evaluating which we believe are the most valued skills by employers and more or less we all agree that the capacity for self-improvement is an important attitude.

In the afternoon it is time to learn how to make a good CV. First, by national groups we present to others how is the classic CV that they request in each country, although the differences between one country and another are minimal. Later we learn the standard English format.

April 9- DAY OF THE ROSE. This day we started strongly, we put on our YE shirt and we took to the streets to interview the Bulgarians about employment. People in general are very friendly and we learn a lot from the vision of employment in this country in which most (according to the surveys we did) think that to have a good job it is necessary to be young and handsome.

The exit also allows us to enjoy the festivities that are celebrated for the day of the rose: see the typical costumes, listen to their music and dance their dances.

In the afternoon we work on one of the most interesting activities: create our own creative CV. I panic, I'm not very good at counter-creativity. In the end I decide to take the shirt of the project, paste it some cuts and write my CV on it. I've come out of trouble. This has been one of the most useful activities we have done and has given me enough ideas to improve my CV.

April 10-INTERVIEWS. In the morning again we divide into groups and with certain previous guidelines we set up a disaster interview theater to learn what NOT to do in an interview. We learned many tricks about personal language.

In the afternoon, the host association tells us about the Erasmus + program, its history, its activities, etc. and then we will present each of the sending associations to the rest of the partners. Javi and I, although our artistic abilities are nothing from the other world, we prepare a poster of the Mundus Association in which we explain what he does. Many of our colleagues were interested in the association and asked us many questions.

April 11-LAST DAY. The atmosphere of sadness is breathing, we have spent little time together but it has united us. We make a circle and one by one we thank our partners what they have experienced. I am about to cry several times and when it is my turn I do not have enough time to thank all the good times we have spent together.

At night we go to a local karaoke that has reserved the host association, but there is a surprise a video that collects the best moments of these days. The tear is assured.

At the end of the night we say goodbye in tears and hugs, many travel early and that will be the last time we meet. It has been a great experience that has united us all and that little or much has changed us. "

Javier Manjavacas, Madrid, 27 years:

"It was the first time I signed up to participate in an event of this nature, so for me it was practically a trip to the unknown, specifically to the unknown Bulgaria.

I decided to take part in this project mainly because the theme I was revolving around (Improve Employability Around You) perfectly matched my training and I considered it to be a perfect complement to it.

But let's go to the important. The exchange would last 9 days, in a Bulgarian “city” two hours from Sofia, being in Spain you don't give it so much importance but as the date approaches, you start to rethink where you have gotten. Nothing to fear, the organizers were already experienced and gave us all the details of how to get to Pazardzhik, which we followed to the letter and we had no problem, when arriving at the station there were waiting for us Petko and Evo to pick us up And take us to the hotel.

Once you have checked-in and left your bags, you start moving around the hotel to see if you see more participants and start meeting them, I think it is the most difficult and the most important thing. In my case I was very lucky because I was already traveling with the great Alba from Madrid, so we had it easier (I recommend doing the same if you travel several from the same country) makes your stay much easier.

We would be a group of about 40 participants from Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, a true and authentic "Big Mix"

Already the next day the course began, at 10 in the morning we were all together introducing ourselves and expressing what our expectations were.

The day was divided mainly into 2 daily activities (morning and afternoon) with their respective “coffeebreaks”. The workshops in which we work mainly dealt with one part of the analysis, another of the exhibition and the last one of solution, within these sometimes we had to do them by country and other times it was more intercultural

We had the opportunity to compare how the situation was in the other countries, what had been the causes that had led to this situation and how different were the solutions and ways that were put into practice compared to ours, something that may seem superfluous but when it came to making the feedback with the coordinators it was very useful.

One of my biggest concerns was the food that we would find, but despite the fact that in Bulgaria they like to cook with oil (with enough oil) and love cucumber over all things, in general terms it was not an extreme famine situation. On the other hand, the currency exchange was in the middle so it was always profitable to go for a few beers with colleagues (from the first night) or eat outside the hotel if you were very exquisite on the palate.

The first two nights we played the "internationaldinner" something that I liked a lot because it was that each country presented its cuisine and culture to others through videos, personal stories and above all, food. There we could try the most typical of each country, exchange impressions of how the course was going and get to know each other better.

You can imagine what the Spaniards carry ... an omelet that was never lacking, much derived from pigs and of course the greatest success, a sangria that I had never drunk in Spain hahaha, but that flew as if they were churros.

Approaching the last days of the course, we had the opportunity to conduct a street-level survey with the local inhabitants of Pazardzhik to analyze their situation regarding unemployment and the work they were currently doing. To say that Bulgarians in general are very friendly and close people and that despite the difficulties of the language (as not many spoke English), they were delighted to answer our questions and even take a selfie with us (it was part of the questionnaire) .

Already out of the course we had a day in which we visited the 2nd city of Bulgaria, Plovdiv, and despite being the 2nd most populous city, it was still Bulgaria so there were no “surprises”, many remnants of Soviet architecture and culture continue Present in the country.

Finally I want to highlight that in my opinion people, this time we had the opportunity to be a large group that knew how to integrate with each other despite being from countries and cultures so different and in the end, some more than others, we can say that apart from the incalculable value and experience that the formation of the exchange has brought us, we also take the gift of having forged friendships (love has also emerged) with people from other countries, something that in my personal opinion I consider to be the most important and what else will he report to us throughout our lives.

My final recommendation is that you do not hesitate to perform these types of actions, whether EVS, YE or any opportunity offered to meet other people, cultures and above all help you with your training. It doesn't matter if you have doubts and are not sure about doing it, think that it is now or never, that life is to enjoy it while you can and that it may be too late (how philosophical I have become), I hope my story serves you so that you are encouraged, I am already looking to make the next one :D "

Youth Exchange | Training Course | Erasmus | Bulgaria | Pazardjik |