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Balkan Country - Bulgaria

 
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TRCourage



Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Balkan Country - Bulgaria Reply with quote

TOPIC: Balkan Country - Bulgaria

This is the place for helpful posts from those who have some first hand (or second hand) information about teaching opportunities (income or volunteer).

Those looking for teaching positions will be interested in teaching conditions, living conditions, safety concerns and any other factors regarding Bulgaria that come to your mind as being of concern, so please share freely....

All sorts of knowledge and experiences are welcomed.

Thank you for taking the time to share your accrued wisdom and gut reactions.
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: Some basics on BG Reply with quote

Zdraveyte!

Some general things to bear in mind about Bulgaria.

The population of the country is roughly 7.5 million, of which many go abroad to work if they can. Most young Bulgarians want to learn english, and the market is pretty saturated with language schools. The major problem in applying from abroad is that very few schools are willing to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of arranging a work-visa for candidates.

The other thing that people should be aware of is that there are already a relatively large number of 'native speakers' of english here in BG which makes the market for positions in the larger towns and cities fairly competitive.

For those looking to get to know the place a little they could sign on for the one-year Bulgarian course at university here - that way they get a student visa and the chance to travel around a bit. Otherwise, there's now a centre for CELTA/DELTA training in Sofia (the capital): www.avo3.com.

If anyone has anything specific that they'd like to know, ask.
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ash



Joined: 11 Jul 2004
Posts: 125
Location: Oz

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 6:47 am    Post subject: CELTA course Reply with quote

Hi,
I just tried to look at the website for CELTA in Bulgaria, and the link is dead.
Try: http://www.avo-3.com/en/celta_summary.html
So do most ESL teachers in Bulgaria have working visas?
Do you have to have a CELTA to teach ESL in Bulgaria?
How are the rates of pay there (I guess this relates to level of qualification)?
Do schools offer ESL teachers courses in Bulgarian?
There are some questions. I visited Bulgaria last year, and found it to be very beautiful. I am thinking of coming back!
Thanks for starting this forum Very Happy
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here's an attempt at some answers, based on my current knowledge...

MOST ESL teachers in BG are BGN - for 'native-speakers' things are a little different. Those with qualifications are either here with a visa or are resident. For the guys without a visa they usually have a three-month tourism allowance which means that they can stay in the country for three months without hassle, probably teaching summer schools on the Black Sea coast.

You do not have to have CELTA etc. if you are a 'native-speaker', otherwise it's better to have one or they will take a local who can explain to the slower students in their mother-tongue rather than some guy with no guarantees as to teaching ability and no way of explaining themselves.

Rates of pay vary with qualifications and also by school, some schools pay well, have a good reputation and are paid well by their clients, others cater to less-well-off locals and hence pay less. Personally, i make most of my money teaching privately, for which i charge 15 BGN an hour - not much by western standards but most Bulgarians can afford it and so i have clients. If you tell me where you're based i'll try to compare it. At the upper end, in terms of schools, some pay 12 BGN per teaching hour - which varies between 40 and 50 minutes depending on the exact school. Others pay 11 BGN for three teaching hours. Whether these prices interest or not will probably depend on your motivation for coming - if you want to cash in and save lots, then unless you get a contract with the British Council, or equivalent, i wouldn't recommend BG.

CELTA/DELTA is taught only in english, whether your teachers are 'native-speakers' or not. In fact quite a few locals have their DELTA qualifications and are now qualifying for teacher-trainer certificates.

If you want to learn Bulgarian, or get certifiction in the language, i recommend the course at the Uni in Sofia, they do three levels and give a reasonably well-regarded certificate:)

Further questions or details - post again or PM me.
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ash



Joined: 11 Jul 2004
Posts: 125
Location: Oz

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:34 am    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks for that info. From what I remember, food was very cheap in Bulgaria, so the rates of pay you have indicated might be quite reasonable, particularly for privates. I guess it depends on other expenses.

What is the general cost of accommodation? When I was there I stayed at a hostel and payed EUR16 per night, which was super expensive for me at the time. But I imagine it's cheaper if yr renting.

Useful comparisons would be Turkey, and maybe Czech Rep. Those are 2 other places I'm looking at working. I love Turkey, and it's so close to Bulgaria, but very different. Czech Rep sounds far to crowded with foreigners to be joining the queue.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on this forum, and hopefully some others will contribute.

BTW, one of the things I loved about Bulgaria is the water. Delicious water, on tap.
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The tricky side of costs here is that they are developing what I call 'Capital-City Syndrome' : the price of housing and rents in Sofia has jumped recently for no good reason except that about a third of the population wants to live here - much like London,UK, Madrid and other such examples. This means that your rent may be in the region of 150-200 EUR before bills for a one-bedroom apartment ; of course the upside of tha situation is that you can find private clients without much difficulty.

Outside Sofia things are a little different. There are plenty of other towns and cities looking for qualified EFL teachers, especially native-speakers, where rents are more reasonable. The potential downside is that you may not be able to find many people for private tuition.

Of course, the other side of things is that many schools do not advertise in english, never mind internationally!

The food and drink are still cheap, though they now cater to the 'wealthy' end of the market too - if you want to blow your money, they are more than willing to help Smile

For info on Turkey I suggest throwing the question onto the Turkey forum, as far as I know things there are different in Istanbul and Asia Minor, and not having been I'd rather not mislead you with hearsay and rumour. The same goes for the Czech Republic.

Hope that helps.
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travellingscot



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 64
Location: UK/Eastern Europe

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 9:28 am    Post subject: Varna Reply with quote

I've been here for 2 years now and assume chasgul is from USA,as us UK citizens have to cross a border every 30 days unless we have a visa, which is rarely issued to teachers from what i've been told.Border control is clamping down a bit,with some people being refused re-entry.
Rents here are around 100 euros upwards for a 1 bed apartment,but that's from a newpaper ad not an agency,so you need a Bg friend to translate and negotiate or you'll pay a "Foreigner premium".
There are jobs available as i've said elsewhere,but they often pay 4 or 5 leva per lesson,with private lessons paying 10 leva.
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I'm from the UK, but I'm resident in BG.

And once you have built up some kind of reputation you can get away with charging the exorbitant sum of 15 lv/h to private clients. Of course, that assumes that your clients are 'platezhosposobni'. Smile
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mick_luna



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
Posts: 115
Location: toronto

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 1:59 pm    Post subject: residing Reply with quote

Hello all,
I'm looking at buying into Bulgaria, which i understand simplifies the visa thing. It looks like a burgeoning scene there, although i haven't actually been yet. I lived in the Czech Republic for a while, and really liked that Slavic culture. I am thinking of offering ESL lessons in a live/work space, which could also double at times as a bar/gallery/emporium/cafe/music space (I'm a graphic artist and writer, as well as teacher).

I imagine a fixer-upper, as my budget is around 20 to 25K (dollars). Not sure if there would be a working class/bohemian suburb of Plovdiv or Sofia that might suit this, or a smaller village near a ski hill or the coast that might have enough traffic for this.
Anyone of know of any links/forums that would be useful for gaining more info or contacts there?
cheers
Mick
www.portfolios.com/exotica
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12502
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And you are so busy that you do not reply to PM's ?
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Chasgul



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 168
Location: BG

PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2006 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mick's post is either a copy-paste job from a few months ago or else the server coughed it up when they shunted the forum. Either way...
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12502
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He has since replied to my PM. I guess that not everyone has access to state-of-the-art internet !
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12502
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone really wants to work in BG I know of a school in Varna and one in Veliko Turnovo. Contact me for details.

I would only suggest Sofia if you have been certified insane.

Meanwhile I continue to draw my monthly paycheck from a large country in the Middle East.
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mick_luna



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
Posts: 115
Location: toronto

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:32 am    Post subject: bulgaria Reply with quote

I was really interested in Bulgaria because of my experience in the Czech Republic. I never visited Bulgaria, but i would like to live in a Slavic country which isn't as developed or expensive as the CR. But i've since been told that Bulgaria's real estate market skyrocketed after Brits and others started buying en masse, as it has been a popular hol. destination for years. Also, some Bulgarians told me I wouldn't stand a chance trying to start a small business as a foreigner, i'd be robbed and victimized. So i never carried it thru.
Going to teach might be an option, although i imagine salaries are pretty low? What was your experience there like? I remember we chatted before but don't remember any specifics now. Do you know how Bulg. compares to CR?

Are you living in the Mid East or do you telecommute? Have you travelled much around Eastern Europe? I only know CR, so i don't have much to go on. I've been told Hungary and Poland are nice, and people friendlier than CR.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12502
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can still buy a habitable village house in BG for 10,000 Euros - or more. Not in Plovdiv or Sofia mind you.

As for being victimised I am not sure. Before planning ANYTHING you have to go and visit. See www.skavivascot.com
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