Having spent 6 weeks in the small village in Petrich, Bulgaria, I must say that it was the biggest cultural shock I have had to date. We went there (11 other students and I) as part of our university course, with the aim to create a geological map for our dissertations.

We were staying with a bulgarian family, who didn’t know any English. Hence, the past few weeks before our departure was spent learning the Bulgarian language. The Bulgarian community in Petrich were lovely and we were warmly welcomed upon arrival. One lady came up to us and hugged us all, which was a bit of a relief as we all felt a little nervous.

A humble, old, Bulgarian lady who we called ‘Baba’ (Bulgarian for Grandma), cooked our meals, 3 times a day for 6 weeks. We were shocked, to begin with, to learn that her house was made from chipboard, only had two small rooms and she cooked from her stove located in her bedroom. Amazingly, she produced lavish 3 course meals for dinner and we were always full!

After a few weeks, we all felt really settled; we were used to the morning traffic – a herd of goats equipped with brass bells trotting down the road; we had gotten used to the strong taste of the locally-made Rakia and used to the way of life in Petrich.

It was a sad day when we had to leave Petrich, but I will always remember my time fondly with the hope of returning one day.

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