Campus Celeb! Miss Gergana Ivanova

This week we caught up with the Bulgarian society- specifically their President for the current year, Miss Gergana Ivanova. After eyeing up all of their scrummy traditional dishes at the Internation Food Festival, we thought it more than appropriate to find out what plans they have for the upcoming year and what the Bulgarian nationals think of our bonnie Aberdeen.

     

HC: Gergana, what are your favourite things about Bulgaria?

GI: If I tell you all my favourite things about Bulgaria this is going to turn into a novel, so that is why I will just choose my top three.

What I love about Bulgaria is that people are very welcoming, hospitable and community-oriented. I think that is a common cultural difference of the Eastern countries compared to the Western ones, we do like sharing a lot. A Bulgarian will always, under any circumstances, be ready to share with you their dinner, opinion, chocolate bar, piece of advice on any matter, regardless of whether you have always known them or you have just met. The culture is the opposite of individualism. People tend to live in huge houses with all their family members and keep a very close personal connection with their neighbors and colleagues.

We are super talented, I try not to praise us too much, but we are. I have never met a Bulgarian who has no talent at all. The people from the Balkans are famous for their genetic diversity, so that might be the reason why. Every Bulgarian can either sing, dance, write, draw or has some other talent.

And also we just party so well. People of the world, no offence, you might be the best at other fields, but we beat you all at partying. And by partying I don’t mean getting drunk but experiencing the music with each sense we have; and again, sharing the joy.

HC: I think everyone reading this is adding Bulgaria to their travel bucket list right now. Where is one place every tourist should visit?

GI: The Seven Rila Lakes is the place every person on Earth should visit, that is your chance to experience something supernatural. We say that it does not belong to the Earth, it is a piece of Heaven. It is breathtaking and emotionally refreshing. It has a spiritual energy and it is also a place for religious groups to pray and meditate.

HC: That sounds beautiful! Do you think it’s important to join a society which represents your home country if you’re an international student at a British University?

GI: It is a personal choice whether you want to do it or not. Some people come abroad with the clear goal to distance themselves as much as possible from their fellow countrymen in order to merge with the locals. I know some of them want to get rid of their accent and switch to a British one. Others have their own motivations. I would not substitute the Bulgarian community for anything in the world. So, yes, for me it is extremely important to know who you are, where you come from and where you go. Joining a society which represents your home country can help you in a number of ways. I feel like apart from being here to study and develop ourselves, we are also here to represent our home country. I guess some students think of the ‘national’ societies as closed, homogenous groups, but we are not. We are here to exchange cultures and the cultural societies are only the platform for that exchange.

 

HC: We completely agree and think one of the best things about Aberdeen is that we get to share it with so many diverse cultures! We’ve heard it’s difficult, but tell us how do you juggle the pressures of a final year at Uni with also being President of a society?

GI: Haha, thanks a lot for that question! I appreciate that someone actually realizes there is pressure. I have always been involved in the student life at the University, so being a president is an “upgrade” of the responsibilities, but it is not something completely new to me. I do have a part-time job as well, I am also volunteering and it is often hard to juggle. I try my best to multitask, and I plan a lot in advance.

I have a very responsible and qualified committee, which is the key to all the great events of the society. Our team is brilliant and I just want to say to each of them: thank you for your dedication!

    I also have my lovely mum who is a live alarm clock, reminding me about tasks I need to do. It is hard but it’s all about priorities. And the Bulgarian society is a priority for me.

HC: So the most important question, what events will the Bulgarian society be holding this year/ what events will we see you at around campus?

GI: We are a very active Society and we have some exciting plans for the year. We kept our traditional events, such as dance classes and movie nights, but have also added completely new events. We have transformed many of the old ones, giving them a new spirit. We are also getting involved in all major events AUSA is hosting. What is coming? So much! (Please check back to our HerCampus events calendar at the bottom of the page for all Bulgarian Society events)

HC: We love the idea of Bulgarian dance classes, count us in! Do you think you will stay in Aberdeen/Scotland after graduation, return home or move to somewhere else in the world?

GI: There is a song I like, which says “you are in love with a girl, who is in love with the world”. That is so me. So, my plan is to travel the world, study and get some meaningful (to me) jobs. I have no idea where I will end up and that is what is exciting!

 

So very exciting and so are all the plans the Bulgarian Society have organized this year! If you want to get involved them please contact them; they are definitely on our society wish-list. And of course with a President as driven, hard working and as lovely as Gergana we know they will have a fabulous year.

HCXO.