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A Teenage Expat in Bulgaria

Occasionally Quest will be looking at the lives of the younger expats and publishing articles as told to us by themselves.This first article is the success story of Luisa

When I left school in England, aged 16, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I was like so many other British teenagers that had left school with few or no Gcse’s and no future career planned. The only difference for me was that I knew I was moving to Bulgaria and so I waited to see what options would be available for me there.

In January 2008 me, my parents and my younger sister moved to our house in a rural Bulgarian village. I started settling in to Bulgarian life and a few months later I was offered the chance to have conversational English lessons in the city of Gabrovo,20 km from our village.The classes were held at a private language school and the idea was mainly for me to meet, talk and help students that were close to my age. My role involved speaking and listening with Bulgarian teenagers that were studying English as a second language, this helped them to communicate in English with the added advantage of having a native speaker.

Although this at the time was not considered to be a job or a career,i was earning a small amount of money which allowed me to buy things for myself and have my own spending money. The main advantage for me, was that i was mixing with and meeting lots of new people.Even though i had to communicate in English as it was my job, it was nice to communicate with young people, whilst trying to learn Bulgarian. I would travel to Gabrovo for the lessons twice a week for maybe an hour and a half each time. Sometimes I would get a few lessons on one day and others not so many. After months of travelling back and forth for lessons, and putting any chance of making plans for a career on hold, i decided to tell my boss that it was best for me to stop coming to the lessons due to the amount of time I needed for preparing and actually doing the lessons. I told my boss that I had enjoyed being involved with the school, the students, the staff and of course taking part is some of the lessons.So after telling her this, she asked if I was interested in a permanent position as a teacher at the school. I thought about it, but at the time i was just 16 years old with no teaching experience what so ever. My boss however, reassured me that there are a number of highly qualified teachers at the school, all of which could help me train to be a teacher and help me learn how to work with different age groups.I agreed to the offer and was amazed at the fact that I had originally planned to tell her that I was leaving my job only to be offered full time employment with the school.

Over the following year,I gradually got more lessons, as I was on a work and learn scheme. Then when I was 17 years old, I was trained, had worked at the school for over a year and was ready to start my first year as a real English teacher. But as commuting to work wasn’t a realistic option for me, I moved into my own rented appartment near to my work.

Although I live on my own, i have many friends, work commitments and other things that keep me busy, so it has never been a problem. I often walk to and from places on my own or even with friends and I have never felt threatened or in danger like I have felt at times in the U.K however, I still feel it is best to be aware at all times.