From Bulgaria With Love

Luiza Gashimova talks to Beatris Bineva, an international student from Bulgaria.

From Bulgaria With Love

It is commonly believed that people from the Balkans are not that different from russians and don't get a hard time adjusting to their culture. Together with a majoring in International Affairs sophomore Beatris Bineva we are about to find out how true that is.

Beatris Bineva
Beatris Bineva
Where are you from and what's your native language?

I’m from Bulgaria, my native language is Bulgarian.

Why have you chosen HSE and International Affairs?

I chose HSE because I wanted to study in Russia, in a highly rated university. I’ve been learning Russian for more than 10 years and graduated from high school with excellent results. I love politics and learning about the world, people, culture and languages, and International Affairs provide me of that opportunity.

When did you visit Russia for the first time and what was your first impression?

In 2017, Saint Petersburg. It was wonderful, like a fairy tale, I could feel the spirit of the Russian nation. The weather is cold, but the hospitality is very warm.

Is Russia really that different from your country and which part of our culture was the weirdest and the hardest to get used to?

No, it isn’t. Both are slavic and share different episodes of the history. The weirdest thing is probably the whole country, it is very controversial. Whether you fall in love or leave. I love everything about Russia.

And, on the contrary, what's there about Russia that is similar to your own culture, made you feel nostalgic?

The one thing similar is people’s attitude towards almost everything in life. I miss the smiles on people’s faces though, haha.

What do you think of Russian cuisine?

Oh, I don’t really like it. It consists of so much fats - sour cream is like air in Russia. And I can’t understand who invented brewed dough with meat (pelmeni are such a cool, but strange food).

Do you find Russian hard to learn?

No, it is related to Bulgarian. But in terms of grammar it is totally different, but very logical.

Which part of the Russian language was the hardest to learn or understand?

Emphasis on words. I still mix them.

Has your Russian improved over the last two years?

Yes, a lot!

Is adaptation to HSE without perfect Russian challenging? Do you feel like foreign students receive enough opportunities to make their studying life as comfortable as possible?

It was the hardest thing in my life. At the beginning I really felt like I wasn’t welcomed. Though I spoke Russian perfectly, it seemed like no one understood what I wanted to ask. I did everything by myself, to be where I am now. It was a very slow process of adjustment. And I literally came without knowing what I was expected to do. I had to investigate every detail I order not get lost.

Have you ever felt discriminated, either in university or outside?

Yes, I think so. It was very important to speak fluent Russian for me and crucial to fit. I had to learn thinking the way my new Russian colleagues do in order to find the conversation. But still, I think they like me because of me being myself and kind to everyone.

Can you give any advice to other international students?

Be patient and persistent!

Interview by
Luiza Gashimova