Is Bulgaria a Tolerant Country?

9 12 2011

With the end of this project just around the corner, I just want to regret that the lack of time hasn’t let my talk about the health system situation. Forgive me for hasn’t given you any information about the topic. Despite I’m pretty happy about how the rest of the topics have been developed.

I put a lot of attention in the education. I have to recognize that this topic really obsess me. I strongly believe that a country able to generate a well educated citizenship has made more than half of the work to achieve a healthy democracy.

I would like providing more information about the current economic situation because I didn’t want to turn my blog into a boring compilation of numbers. Despite of this, following the statements of Ivo, Manager of Fenix Hotel that we found out that Blagoevgrad is a city with huge possibilities but still need some investments.

A paused reflection of the roads state and other infrastructure was also an obligation, due to the big improvements which every member of the European Union have experimented in their first years since the entrance.

In my opinion my initial purpose has been developed properly. The topic is so huge, and consequences for Blagoevgrad people to entry in the EU are so deep that it’s impossible to summarize it in a four months project.  In spite of all you can find here a global vision of the improvements and the future steps the EU will bring to Blago.

My last post was a bit controversial. I wrote a short post giving my own opinion about religious tolerance in Sofia, which is that the capital of Bulgaria is a pretty plural city with different and varied religious places. I knew thanks to a comment that the situation could be less idyllic than it could seem.

With the intention to get a larger knowledge of the topic I have been interviewing several people. All of them whether Bulgarians or foreigners were young people, so probably this post would not be enough to clarify the real tolerance situation on the country.

Neither could be enough to express the opinion of a whole generation, because the research has not been so deep. But I still think that there is really interesting to check how different profiles of people perceive the topic, probably influenced by their own conditions. In the video below you can hear the opinion of Nadia (Mexico), Hristo (Bulgaria), Viktor (Bulgaria), Ali (Turkey) and Nico (France):


Knowing Your Neighbor’s Culture Avoids Problems

30 11 2011

Integrating all religions in the European Society is a big deal for the European Union. The European Union has association trades with some Muslim countries as Morocco. Despite many efforts done for the European Government and the states members leaders religious conflicts have not been solved yet.

European governments still have to face complicated situations related with religion.

The controversial caricatures of Prophet Mahoma published in Danish newspaper “Jyllands Postema” are a good example.  The Prophet was drawn with a bomb as a turban. In the following days other European media joined to “Jyllands Postema” and they also published cartoons which were qualified for the Muslim Community as offensive and it sparked their wrath.

These kinds of conflicts reflect lack of knowledge of the religion of our neighbors. The solution is not so far as seems. Acting with respect and learning a bit more about other cultures must help us to build a healthier society.

In this case the European Government might take as example the city of Sofia. I was there last weekend and I checked for myself they have a lot of different religious places. I entered in some of them and I saw Muslims, orthodox Christian and Jewish praying in different churches, cathedral, mosques and synagogues. Furthermore nobody from other religions was bothering around at least as far as I stayed there.

Nevertheless as I know thanks to a comment in this post, I could have experienced a fake illusion of tolerance. I have to apologize for my ignorance of these facts and thank to milva113 for her corrections.  There is a political party in Bulgaria called “ATAKA“. Their supporters are racist and nationalist and they have starred some violent incidents against Muslim Community in Bulgaria.

However according to my own experience, I keep thinking that if Sofia is able to avoid fights between different religions, followers will be a great example how different religions could coexist in the same place. I promise to keep working in this topic hereafter.

In the map below you can see the huge variety of religious places that Sofia holds:

Involving Roma People in Bulgarian Society

22 11 2011

Roma people could be the reason why Bulgaria is not still in the Schengen Zone. At least that’s the opinion of a large number of people from Blagoevgrad whom I have talked.

Some members of the European Union have had problems with Roma people before. France with his Prime Minister Nicolás Sarkozy ahead struggled for kick the gypsies from Romania out of his country. Roma people of Blagoevgrad have built a neighborhood in the outsiders of the city. You can even see it from the AUBG library. It’s paradoxical to have people living in cabanas without toilet, heating or running water one kilometer away from the dorms of a private university. The line between those who have nothing and those who live in comfort is often imperceptible. However still exists.

The solution for involving Roma people in Blagoevgrad community and in the EU could be in little initiatives as the one directed by Radoslav Asenov. They have started a new project for educating Roma kids.

I was covering a normal day in Asenov’s project with my colleges Micky Bumbar and Paulina Guerguieva. We were also in the Roma neighborhood where we had the chance to speak with the parents of the kids whom are attending Asenov’s education project.

You can see in the video below the news story we made.

Bulgaria Needs Better Roads

10 11 2011

When you met Nadia Reza and she told you she is Mexican and she is only 21 years old, you cannot even imagine how well she knows the European roads.

Nadia is so lively that in few months she has crossed almost whole Europe. She uses to take flight from one country to another but then she often travel inside the country by bus and seldom by train or by taxi. Even once she crossed the border between Macedonia and Bulgaria by walk under the watchful eye of a Border Policeman, who was pretty freaked out. Obviously, he is more accustomed to see people crossing by bus or car so it was more shocking for him than for Nadia, who remember this story with a big smile in her face.

She thinks that Bulgarian roads are too old and the Government needs to improve it for make the country more accessible, and for give Bulgarians and foreigners the chance to travel faster and in a more comfortable way along the country.

Spain, Germany or France are some countries she has visited in Western Europe. She is studying in the AUBG as exchange student and during the fall break she has been travelling around the Balkans so she knows pretty well the situation of the European roads.

You can listen below an Interview with Nadia Rezar:

Where can you study in Blagoevgrad?

27 10 2011

For facing with guarantees the labor world is essential get a good educational level. One of the biggest problems in the European Union is that most of young people have problems to find a job. The problem is even bigger if the job seeker hasn’t has labor experience and hasn´t studied until finished the secondary school at least.

I have collected in the list bellow Blagoevgrad’s secondary schools which have web page. If you are student, you live in Blagoevgrad and you are still contemplating the different options for studying in Blagoevgrad perhaps you might find the best solution for your future here.

 “Academic Lyudmil Stoyanov” Language High school







“Akad. Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov” High school of Mathematics





 “Polet” High school







 “Ivan Iliev” High school







“Sveti Kliment Ohridski” Secondary Foreign Language School

Profesionalna Gimnazia Po Textil and Obleklo High school

“Sv.Sv.Kiril and Metodiy” High school

“Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov” High school

This is David Cartagena, a computer science student in Blagoevgrad.

You can check the whole educational offer of Blagoevgrad in this webpage.

A good educational offer

21 10 2011

Blagoevgrad students have the chance to choose where they are going to study from a large number of colleges. Actually the city has good educational offerings. However, quantity and quality are not the same.

In Blagoevgrad primary´s schools, pupils learn Writing, Reading, Music, Drawing, Sport, and English. The methods are basically the same as in all primary schools around the world. For example, in English lessons the goal is teach the children the alphabet “repeating the sounds and remembering a card with some picture of it and associated item, listening to easily remembered songs with a few common words and so on,” as declared Boryana Petrova who received her full education in Blagoevgrad.
In the next higher the courses are more specialized. Some of them are Bulgarian, English, Literature, Math and Natural sciences. The students have 7 hours per day, and their lessons consist only of English lessons, Math, Literature, Sport, Music and Art.

The students are distributed in small groups. So each pupil may receive as much attention as possible from the teacher. Veselina Apostolov, an English professor at Blagoevgrad´s high school said that her biggest class has 28 students, and the smallest 23.”

High schools are specialized in different education ranches. A student can choose between: Foreign Language High School, a Math high school, an Economics High School, a Professional High School for Architecture.

There are also some quality differences among the Blagoevgrad education institutions. “In my opinion the level of the education –at my high school- is relatively high compared to other schools,” said Venelina Miteva who studied Mathematical and Science School “Acad. Sergei Koroliov”.  The high school entrance exams used to define the best schools of the city holds Boryana Petrova who studied in Foreign Language High School “Academic Lyudmil Stoyanov”.  . “Students are obliged to take two exams, in Literature and MathShe holds also that Bulgarian educational level is approximately the same level than the others students around Europe. “Bulgarian students are having the same grades as the European students.”

When the time to go to university arrives, the Blagoevgrad students will be well prepared.  “Teachers were very strict and we had papers and quizes all the time, as we do now in University” declared Venelina Miteva.

When the students finished de high school, in addition to be well prepared, they have the chance to go to university without leaving Blagoevgrad. There are two universities in the city: American University in Bulgaria and South West University.

Although the educational level is pretty good, the interviewees propose some improvements.  All of them think that it is really important to improve about new technologies and multimedia resources. Venelina Miteva thinks that for motivate the students; they could be granted prizes for good achievements.

Listen below the interview with Veselina Apostolov, an English professor at Blagoevgrad´s high school:

Citizens are the most important element in the fight against corruption

14 10 2011

At the beginning of my work I made an interview with Viktor Ivaylov Angelw, a political science student who is living in Blagoevgrad. He said something that it really shocked me. “Corruption problems have to be solved by Bulgarian people by themselves.” He holds that citizens are the most important element in the fight against corruption. I collected in the video below some pictures of Blagoevgrad people. They are called to be the real heroes, whom we must recognize the ability to change their own country.