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FISI 2011 Interviews
Dilyan Gatev, Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria
The participation in FISI 2011 gave me the opportunity to meet various people of different origin and cultural background, to introduce some of them to the Bulgarian customs, traditions, cultural history as well as the educational system in our country. I was glad that they were eager to gain some knowledge in that realm and I felt very pleased to help them.
The organization of FISI surpassed my expectations. It was more than excellent – everything was carefully arranged in advance, we were notified at our very arrival of the precise schedule of events, which was later strictly abided by. The atmosphere of the Orphey Hotel was very cozy – the food was delicious, everyone could choose what to eat and drink, and the conditions in the rooms and conference halls were far beyond satisfactory.
The courses I elected were American Novel into Film, Project Writing and Project Management and Intercultural Communication. All of them were delivered by eminent scholars (Assoc. Prof. Madeleine Danova, Ph.D.) and experts (Mr. Danail Danov) who managed to keep our attention all the time by presenting the material intriguingly. The classes were organized like workshops, which gave us the opportunity to actively participate and learn by doing certain tasks.
At some point I started to get slightly disappointed because we were busy all day long, but this feeling vanished once we set off on a trip to the most famous and representative monastery in Bulgaria – the Rila Monastery. The organization of FISI once again proved its excellence because on our arrival we were welcomed by our tour guide who took great pains to introduce us to the monastery buildings and history. We were lucky to worship the relics of the patron saint of the Bulgarian people – Saint John of Rila (Sveti Ivan Rilski) – and to visit the opulent museum of the monastery. We had enough time to climb the Tower of Hrelyo (Hrelyovata kula) and to enjoy the stunning scenery of the monastery huddled in the breathtaking Rila Mountain. For lunch we tasted the traditional Bulgarian dish of roasted Rila trout (pechena rilska pastarva) in an open-air restaurant near the rumbling Rila River (Rilska reka). The next day we also visited the Rozhen Monastery and the town of Sandanski.
When I returned to Sofia my mind was still in Bansko for at least one week. I deeply regretted that I didn’t have the chance to stay there for the second week of FISI. I consoled myself processing the photos I had taken and thus reexperiencing the moments of the first week. So to those who intend to take part in FISI in the future I say: "Don’t hesitate, but participate! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet so many interesting people from different countries, discuss a lot of topical issues with eminent scholars and experts from all over the world and, last but not least, immerse yourselves in the Bulgarian culture and the magnificent mountain scenery. You definitely won’t regret it!"
When I was planning my trip to Bulgaria I didn`t think that it can become an adventure. I was impressed by so many things! First of all, I was the only one from Russia and there weren`t many people who spoke Russian. I was happy for that, because it was my goal to switch to English for two weeks.
On my way to Sofia I was afraid I won’t understand English speakers, but from the first minutes in Sofia and at classes I felt comfortable, I could speak and FISIers could understand me. It was really amazing! Moreover, lecturers encouraged me all the time.
I`d like to point out the course "Creative Leadership". It was a surprise for me that professor Prochaska spoke a little Russian. At first he behaved very unexpected, he asked me many strange questions, I didn`t know how to answer. But after several classes with him I realized that this course would change my life forever. He showed us that our life was full of "unknown unknowns" and we need to meet them only wearing "yellow hat".
I`d like to thank all the organizers of this program, and all the participants, especially my roommate Claire Sagstuen. I kept asking her many questions about English language and traditions. I hope she wasn`t tired of it. She studies Russian history and we had many points to discuss.
To make the long story short, I thank all the organizers, lecturers and FISIers! You made my summer really awesome!
Fulbright International Summer Institute 2011 was probably the best thing that ever happened to me! I enjoyed my classes and my professors – they were really fantastic! Taking classes on modern social and legal issues was exactly what a freshmen lawyer needs! I enjoyed my new friends as well, I still keep in touch with all of them and it’s great that besides your studies you can hang out with your new acquaintances! Moreover, the FISI staff was really friendly and did it’s best to make you feel OK far from home. The Yoga & Dancing Class was awesome! We had lot of fun there and had some fine stretching! Be sure to sign up for that! I know, it took much time to apply for this program, but it was really worth it! I wish I could experience that thing again!
Dear FISI Organizers,
The full cooperation and efficient organization of FISI team as they put Fulbright’s principles into practice set a really remarkable example. The international atmosphere and multicultural approach made the adventure of FISI truly memorable learning time.
Please, extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Assoc. Prof. Danova, Mr. Danov and Mrs. Gotseva for their time and consideration. The time I spent with them was invaluable. Their professional insight and their personal support for me and my efforts as a student are greatly appreciated. Please, extend my gratitude to them: to Assoc. Prof. Danova - for the diligent professionalism and help (since I was the only one who wasn’t part of the MA program), to Mr. Danov for - for his professional expertise and helpful suggestions in the field of project management, to Mrs. Gotseva-for her professionalism and optimism (it was such an inspiration to listen to her lectures). I'm looking forward to meet all of them again.
I would like to thank you also for the chance of participating FISI during the annual Bansko Jazz Festival. That also helped to make the time of FISI unforgettable.
Dear FISI Organizers,
Keep up the great work and hope to see you in the future.
All the best,
p.s. Thanks again and the Jazz Festival was awesome (so too were the Bulgarian nights).
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