Guest blogger Written by

Martina Gardeva (Bulgaria)

I am Martina Gardeva from Bulgaria studying MSc Tourism Management and Marketing. I came to Bournemouth more than 7 months ago and in this time, I can proudly say I have learnt some tricks on how to make the most of my time here. Life in a country like the UK, with quite a different culture, can be sometimes challenging. It takes time to get used to it but is definitely not “mission impossible”! Here are my top tips for surviving in Bournemouth:

Driving in the left lane

Be extra careful when you cross the streets and forget what you learned at elementary school – always first look at the left and then on the right side! Even the elevators in the shopping malls are on the opposite side.

The body language

We all know that Bulgarians (probably the only ones in the world) shake their heads when they mean “Yes” and nod when they mean “No”. Here it’s just the opposite, so avoid using the body language when answering questions and simply say “Yes” or “No”.

 The food

 We are famous for our love of good food and our extremely tasty recipes. Grandma’s cooking is the best! However, the English cuisine is quite different from our own, but this doesn’t mean it is not as good. Instead of “mekitsi” try the full English breakfast and instead of “banitsa” give a try to Shepard’s pie, you may surprise yourself. Try the Balkan store near Lansdowne campus – it has traditional food from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Romania, etc. You can find Bulgarian yoghurt, cheese, lutenitsa and a bunch of other national meals.

 Be very polite

 I’ve noticed that English people use a lot of words like sorry/please/thank you for unusual occasions like saying “thank you” to the bus driver when you are getting off the bus. I find this practice really nice and I have got used to it very easily, showing appreciation is always valued!

 Control the Bulgarian spirit!

 Bulgarians are often too emotional, talking loudly and gesticulating too much, which sometimes could be taken as a rude sign and a lack of respect by more conservative people.

Only the brave go in the water

You will probably have the chance to spend at least one summer in Bournemouth. Bear in mind that most of the people here when going on the beach don’t actually go in the water to swim as we are used to in our Black sea. In the Summer, the temperature of the water is usually around 16-17°C and is definitely not for everybody!

Regardless of the obstacles you may encounter when you first arrive here, I’m sure you will get used to it soon and as Stephanie Gilmore said “Experiencing different cultures is one of the best things a human being can do. It puts your whole world into perspective.”

By Martina Gardeva, Bulgaria, MSc Tourism Management and Marketing, 2017/18