This month Bulgaria celebrated the 1st of November – “National Awakeners Day”.
Primary school children, up and down the country, would be repeating the names of many great men and women, worthy intellectual and spiritual leaders of our nation. Bulgaria will be forever grateful to people like Paisiy Hilendarski, Sofronii Vrachanski, Vasil Levski, Hristo Botev, Ivan Vazov, Petar Beron, Vasil Aprilov, Zahari Stoyanov, Dobri Chintolov, Tota Venkova, and many others. On this very day, we have a duty as parents to remind our children and ourselves of the collective effort of all teachers, school, and university staff working tirelessly across the country.
It is not a coincidence this November we would like you to meet our friend and English teacher Keith Kelly, who works and lives in Plovdiv. And this is what he had to say:
How long have you been in Bulgaria?
I first arrived in 1993 as a volunteer English teacher and left to return to the UK with my Bulgarian wife in 2003, where we remained till 2007, thereafter returning to settle in Bulgaria where we have been since.
Why choose Bulgaria over other countries?
Many reasons but my wife conceived our first child in the UK, and this was the impetus for us to return to Bulgaria, both of us agree that it is a better place for a child to grow up.
What were your biggest challenges related to the move?
Institutions can be a little inaccessible and in order to cope in Bulgaria and use education, health care, tax, police, and other institutions effectively, I feel that you really need to be connected and be able to use who you know for these institutions to function normally.
How did you choose the area where to settle?
There was no question. It had to be Plovdiv. It’s a large city and is one of the few urban centers which is both a growing economy and population outside Sofia. Additionally, we adore the Rodope Mountains close by.
Tell us one thing you miss most about your home country
Just family, but luckily they are happy to come over and visit often.
Tell us a bit more about your current business
We opened Anglia School in 2010 and have been through many peaks and troughs, floods, pandemics closures, having to downsize and try to stay afloat, cost of living crisis, but we’re still here and just about keeping open thanks to our loyal families bringing their children for an immersive English learning experience. In short, we succeed because of our unique selling point, we offer a nursery and primary experience through the medium of English.
If you could do one thing differently, what would that be?
I’ve recently been offering Erasmus+ training in my school with now our 7th and 8th groups arriving shortly. I’d have started this activity much earlier. They come for education, they leave in love with Bulgaria. Also, I’d have gotten into activities promoting Bulgaria (life, culture, food, history, art, wine) outside of education. It’s a country not well known, but with so much to offer.
What would your advice be for anyone considering a move to Bulgaria today?
Learn the language as early as possible. It opens doors.