Sunday, November 26, 2006

coming to Sofia, Bulgaria

We arrived to Sofia, Bulgaria on August 26th, 2006. We are here to inspire and mold the young minds of Bulgarian and International students from all around the world while gaining an insightful and personal experience of the the foreign environment that surrounds us.

We live on campus in a cozy little house set off to the back side of the campus from the school buildings. We have two house mates, Greg and Ebru, who are from British Columbia and Turkey respectively. Greg teaches 10th grade Chemistry and 11th and 12th grade IB Chemistry. Ebru was born in the USA and lived there until she was 13 years old, when her parents finally moved back to Turkey. She teaches 8th grade English/ ESL. We all share a kitchen downstairs. Gordon and I live upstairs and have 1 and 1/2 bathrooms, a large office, a bedroom with queen size bed, a large storage room, and two walk in closets. There is a wood fireplace downstairs and there is radiator heating throughout the house. Most of the floors are wood and there are many beautiful carpets throughout the house.
Gordon teaches 10th grade American Literature and 12th grade IB English A2 SL and HL. I teach 11th and 12th grade IB Economics, IB Math Studies, IB Mathematics SL and IB Mathematics HL.
There are 7 school buldings, about 4 floors each with about 15 classrooms on each floor. There are about 700 students and 100 faculty. About 10% of the students and 30% of the faculty are foreigners, aka "Internationals". The International students are from Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, England, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, India, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The Bulgarian students are very smart and have to pass a rigorous exam to attend the school, before their 8th grade school year. All Bulgarian students must pass this exam before attending the school and they can only begin attendance in their 8th grade year.

We spent our first week here traveling around the southern parts of Bulgaria visiting to popular tourist scenes, such as the Rila Monastary pictured below, and to Greece to obtain a Bulgarian work visa in the city of Thessaloniki. So, we were able to travel with the other 14 new hire international teachers and get to know them during the 6 hour rides in a van and lounging on Olympus Beach.

The first day of school was on Friday, September 15th, 2006. Everyone had a smile on their faces and all of the students seemed very anxious to meet up with their friends and meet the new students and teachers. There was a lot of good energy going around. It was a nice introduction to the school and our new environment for the next 2 years!

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