Considering relocating abroad is a daunting thought and when one is planning on moving to a lesser known country like Bulgaria, the feelings of being a bit of a pioneer are likely to be at the forefront of the expatriates’ mind.
But never fear, wherever in the world you’re thinking of moving to you will always, always encounter people who have gone before you and paved the way for you! There are a fair few expats living in Bulgaria these days and they have already established a wealth of activities and events to help you settle in and feel at home from day one.
First things first, you can do no end of research on the internet into what life is like in any of the major resorts and towns in Bulgaria though of course the majority of available information will be about living in and around Sofia. As Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria it is where the majority of international businesses are located and it is therefore where the majority of expatriates have been living and working for many years.
Sofia is also home to the American University of Bulgaria for example, where international students and lecturers help boost the expatriate community in the city and add to an already vibrant mix of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The American University plays host to many exhibitions, meetings and events to which expatriates new to the city are welcome - for the British expats there’s an annual cricket match for example! And all of the social events are great places to begin networking and meeting new friends.
If you’re into golf as a way to relax or to meet friends, like minded people and potential business connections you can head for the St Sofia Golf Club - and if you’re a golfing widow you can make use of the club’s fantastic spa facilities where you’ll likely rub shoulders with all the female expatriate movers and shakers in Bulgaria! As a woman it can sometimes be harder to network, especially if you’ve followed your husband to Bulgaria for his latest work assignment. Luckily the International Women's Club of Sofia was established to cater perfectly for all your needs; they meet the first Tuesday of every month and state their objectives as being: -
1) welcoming and assisting newcomers to Bulgaria,
2) furthering our knowledge and understanding of Bulgaria,
3) fostering goodwill and friendship among club members, and
4) giving financial and material support to charity projects
If all that sounds a little too wholesome for you, you could just head to the customary Irish Pub that seems to exist in every major town and city in the world. In Sofia it’s Flannagans at the Radisson SAS Hotel. It offers up good wholesome food, a fantastic atmosphere, all the major satellite sporting channels you could need and friendly English speaking staff who will happily chat with you and give you some great nightlife tips.
Alternatively, for a quiet night out there are about 4 cinemas in Sofia showing a whole host of the latest Hollywood films with the original English soundtrack or there are many international restaurants and bars that you can try out and where you’ll definitely start to meet like minded expatriates especially on a Friday or Saturday night - the Sofia Echo has a complete guide to whta's on in Sofia and Bulgaria.
And when you wake up on Sunday with a terrible hangover, you can assuage your sins at the Bulgarian Anglican Church services held on the third Sunday of the month at 10am at the British Residence in Sofia! So as you can see the mind, body and soul of the expat living in Bulgaria are all well catered for!