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Andrea Savova between Paris and Sofia

Photo: Private archive

To live in Europe, but between two different worlds - this is how the two sides of the life of a young Bulgarian woman, born in Sofia and living in Paris, look like. Only 12 years old, Andrea Savova left with her mother and her 6-year-old sister to France, where she was enrolled to study at the college Bartholdi in Paris. She quickly managed to adapt, even though she arrived in February from Bulgaria, where until then she was a student at the French school "Victor Hugo" in Sofia.

A few months later, in May, she presented her new school at the BIG CHALLENGE 2008 competition for English-language learners in French colleges and placed first out of 141,000 of her peers. At the national level, the Bulgarian girl ranked fourth, which is an incredible achievement, considering the impressive number of participants - a total of 330,000 for all age groups throughout France. Thus, she became a real source of pride for the Bartholdi College, which until then had not reached such a high level in the competition. ‎

At the French school, Andrea does not forget the Bulgarian language, and during the holidays, when she comes to Bulgaria, she takes private lessons in her native language. After successfully completing her secondary education, Andy was accepted to study dentistry in Paris. She is currently a final-year student, simultaneously doing an internship at the university hospital and working in a dental office. ‎

At least once a year she manages to steal some time from her busy schedule to come to Bulgaria:

"Every time I come, I tell myself that I should do it more often”, Andrea smiles. “This is my homeland. I always feel homesick when I have to leave after my short stay. I somehow feel freer, more relaxed here. People are friendlier. The mentality is different, the culture is different. When I come here, it's like I go back to my childhood. And when I'm there, I miss my country a lot."‎

She chose her profession when she was a little girl, somewhat intrigued by the work of her grandmother, who is a dentist. She jokes that as at the family celebration of her first steps as a baby (a Bulgarian ritual known as “proshtapulnik”) she grabbed the dentistry instruments of her granny, and that it seems to have predetermined her path later in life.

And life and work in Paris is a real race against time, where everyday life sucks you in to leave you breathless at the end of the working day. Therefore, every time she returns to Bulgaria, Andrea enjoys life in Sofia and the tranquility of nature, the Bulgarian mountains and her beloved seaside.

‎"I'm used to living in Paris. It is true that most of my life has been spent there, but my heart is here. Sometimes I feel like an uprooted tree ... or like a plucked flower between Paris and Sofia."‎

That is why she always returns here, where she was born, to her beloved people. ‎‎

During one of her regular visits to Sofia, she met a Dutchman who chose to settle permanently in our country. Amazed, she asked him what made him make this choice. The short answer was: "The quality of life", which confirmed her feeling that in Bulgaria people really live more freely and calmly. "Yes, it's nice to have order and rules but there's no need to overdo it,"‎ she says.

When asked if she would return to live in Bulgaria, Andrea does not rule out the possibility: "I will definitely return one day, I don't know if it will be for a long time or just to recharge, but I love my homeland".‎

Photos: Private archive, Darina Grigorova
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