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Expat life in Bulgaria

The huge wave of expat arrivals in Bulgaria, following television programmes lauding a 'dream in the sun' and 'your dream overseas property', hasn't turned out for some. Many expats who bought a home, arrived in keen anticipation but have since packed up and left. Many had only stayed a year before returning home.

Some of the problems can be laid at the door of the huge number of tv programmes encouraging people to follow the dream. Those who didn't fall for the hype and came to Bulgaria for good reasons are those who have remained.

After the hype, of course, came the damnation on expat blogs and forums of the country, the people and the lifestyle. Not to mention headlines such as 'why I can't stand Bulgaria'. Many of the posters and the people mentioned in the newspaper stories came to Bulgaria without two pennies to rub together, didn't speak a single word of the language and, amazingly, were shocked to find that the country is quite different from what was presented on television overseas property programmes.

Naturally, there are those who were not in this situation and returned home for other reasons.

Now, it's starting to turn around again and we see that interest in buying property or moving to Bulgaria is gradually growing. So, if you are considering a move over, then one of the things which the tv programmes are unlikely to point out to you is that most expats in Bulgaria have to work to make a living. Those who sold their homes and expected to live off the money they made, soon found that it quickly disappeared - and financial reasons are the main cause of expats returning within two years.

Unless you are rich or have a pension, then the 'dream' of sitting about the pool or going for long walks just won't work out. The only other way is to make a living and work. Many expats here in Bulgaria do a whole variety of jobs and they all work very hard and spend little time with a bottle of vino.

This is not to say you should be put off moving to Bulgaria; the situation would be the same whichever country you chose to move to. And, at least, Bulgarian property is some of the cheapest in the EU. But, moving overseas to live is not a never-ending holiday, you need to consider income in order to live. Those who have stayed in Bulgaria are in the main those who were here four or more years ago and have had a hard-working adventurous spirit. So, if you are on for a place in the sun but don't mind working for it, you should make a go of it.