The last project week of Erasmus+ Fete, From Eurodivision to Eurovision, began in Burgas, Bulgaria at the end of March. Students from Spain and Finland travelled to meet with Bulgarian students to discuss and collaborate on their ideas regarding solutions to issues which have risen from the migration situation in Europe. Alongside this, all students were able to learn new things about Bulgaria and see what the country has to offer.
Day 1 (26.3.2022)
Our trip began on a chilly Saturday with a train ride to the airport. This was spent rating Finnish cuisine to prepare a gift for our hosts. The first flight led us to Vienna, where we took a quick pit stop to eat good food and rest for the night. In Vienna, there was little time to spare, but we were able to see Kunst Haus Wien at night and experience the feeling of a night out in Central Europe. Later in the evening we enjoyed some TV in Austrian German, so of course none of us understood anything.
Day 2 (27.3.2022)
Our travels to Bulgaria continued with breakfast in our hotel in Vienna. After our breakfast we walked with our heavy luggage to the train station. When we arrived at the train station we hopped onto the train, got to the airport then we went through airport security. We had some time for ourselves at the airport for shopping and eating then we boarded the airplane. Our flight was bumpy and traumatic for those who haven’t experienced turbulence before. After our flight we got into a minibus which drove us from Varna to Burgas. The bus ride was just as bad as the flight (maybe even worse), the roads were bumpy and curvy. When we arrived at Burgas we were dropped off at our teacher’s hotel and our hosts picked us up.
Day 3 (28.3.2022)
Our program in Bulgaria properly began on Monday with a concert held at the Sea Casino, a historical cite in Burgas. There the students presented a wide variety of talents from singing to hiphop to ballet to fold dance. After being properly entertained, we continued to explore the area. After dining with a traditional menu at a nearby restaurant, we visited the City Council building and were greeted by the Deputy Mayor Yordanka Benova-Ananieva, who informed us of the immigration and refugee situation in Burgas. In the evening we visited a popular restaurant in the area with our hosts.
Day 4 (29.3.2022)
It was our second day in Bulgaria and the day started with a trip to Sozopol. All of the students arrived on the bus on time but the teachers were gracious enough to show up late to make sure we were on time. On our way to Sozopol we went to a museum and we went to Begliktash, which is a historical landmark and a rock sanctuary. After exploring the Begliktash we drove to Sozopol and ate at a restaurant that was by the sea. After our meal we went to go see a presentation presented by the border police. They discussed how immigrants and refugees arriving via sea are handled. We had some time to see the old town of Sozopol and do some shopping.
Day 5 (30.3.2022)
After many experiences and adventures in Burgas and its surrounding areas, we were able to visit our hosts’s school, Geo Milev, which is an English Language School in Burgas. At the school we worked on the project in teams by discussing our ideas regarding migration in Europe and ways in which the systems, processes and other relevant matters regarding the issue could be improved. Alongside this, we gained more information about Bulgaria and were given a tour of the school by the students. After lunch, we visited Nessebar, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and were given a guided tour of a museum and the town.
Day 6 (31.3.2022)
Our last full day of the project week began with a visit to a refugee center in the harbor of Burgas. Here we were introduced to some of the key aspects of how they process donations and help refugees from Ukraine. After the visit, we had lunch in Burgas and saw a performance of Bulgarian fold dances from all the areas. Then headed to Aquae Calidae, which is an archaeological site of the ancient town of Terme, which gave us the opportunity to see a Roman style bath. In the evening, we did some last minute shopping and had a farewell dinner with all the project participants.
Day 7 (1.4.2022)
Our last day of the project was spent traveling back to Finland. It began with a challenge to arrive on time at the teacher’s hotel, where a minibus was waiting to take us to Varna. In Varna, we had a small wait and then we said goodbye to Bulgaria, amazing hosts and fun experiences.
Written by: Sofia Hill & Tinjamin Raittila