for the website

i had to write a little piece about bulgaria for the school of nursing website…

i think its pretty amazing :)


By Hannah Bambrick

I spent last semester in the seldom known, but amazing country of Bulgaria.

As a nursing major I didn’t think this opportunity was even possible, but then I found out it was! To study abroad as a nursing major all you have to do is go your first semester of sophomore year or before. So that’s what I did. The Study Abroad Office helped me through every step of the process. I found it was possible, found a program, and within a couple months I had already been approved for the American University in Bulgaria, AUBG.

I didn’t know too much about the area before leaving on a jet plane, there is only so much you can learn from Google. My study abroad advisor, Orlina Boteva, is from Bulgaria originally, so she provided priceless advice. But to be honest, with as much advice as you can possibly get and all the information you can gather on the internet, there is nothing to prepare you for actually going and living abroad.

My first thoughts about Bulgaria were blurred with jet lag, confusion, and the beginnings of homesickness. After only a couple days I began adjusting and immediately making friends. These new friends quickly transformed into travel companions as I began to discover the beauty of Bulgaria. I travelled to Dobrinishte to experience the natural mineral pools, to Plovdiv to see the oldest amphitheatre in Europe, to the Seven Lakes in the Rila Mountain to see a view that changed my life. The beauty of the country captivated me then, and still continues to do still today.

Every day brought new discoveries and adventure.  They are all described on My blog: Little amusements of everyday life, lots of travel experiences, and also some crazy things that have all changed me and my life for the better.

My first glimpses of Bulgaria were the vintage communist buildings towering on the streets of Sofia during my taxi ride to Blagoevgrad, my new home. All I kept thinking was “what am I doing here?!?” Now I think of Blagoevgrad as a home. I could walk along the streets, with the christmas lights, the snow, the little old people, and even the stray dogs, and couldn’t help but think “why am I leaving?” Im sure I’ll go back. I built a home there, and I will forever feel part Bulgarian.

Since I was a little kid I knew I more than wanted to study abroad, I needed to. I had always felt that Bangor, Me was a little bit too small for me. Now I’ve seen the world – Bulgaria, Turkey, France, Belgium, The Netherlands – and I know that I was meant for greater things. This experience has reassured my choice in becoming a nurse. A nurse can change the world. 

one last bulgarian blog post

im sitting in a very empty suite, in a very empty dorm, in a very empty town. its winter break, which means everyone has cleared out. there are about 5 americans left here, and a handful of others. 

i am completely packed, have been for a bit, and now im just waiting til midnight for the van to bring me to sofia. im in a state of limbo, in between homes, in between families, and in between lives. i dont know how my bulgarian life can end and my american one can begin again. i wonder about what has changed since i left, because i know that i have done some changing. 

if all goes as planned i will be home in 26 hours. but every other american who has tried to leave this place has been delayed or cancelled. there are about 10 people in hotels and hostels in sofia because of their flights. it seems to be centered around london though. so far the forecast for sofia, frankfurt, and newark is looking good. i really hope i dont get stuck overnight somewhere. at this point, i just want to be home. i wish i could go to sleep and wake up in bangor. 

its all been sad the past few days, and i think it will continue to be sad until i get home into my mom’s arms. we will see how long that takes though.

good thing is there is a pumpkin spice latte in my immediate future once i land:)

thats all from me, from blago, from bulgaria, from my new home, and an amazing experience. 


oh and one more thing..

heres a list of the things ive lost, broken, messed up….

my watermelon clutch

my spoon ring

my ipod cleared itself

my laptop no longer works

my favorite red belt

my blue cardigan

my pants dont fit

my hair has lost a lot of length

the first six all happened in one weekend. worst weekend ever. 

its all coming to an end.

i know i havent been updating this sucker as much as i should be recently, but thats simply because ive been trying to get as much blago and people time in as possible. i cant believe that in 5 days ill be back home in bangor. 

im going to try and not get too sentimental in this post, but its inevitable. 

this is my “looking back on everything ive done and seeing how ive changed as a person” post.

i remember coming here and not knowing what the hell i had gotten myself into. and now that im leaving, i cant imagine not coming here. its been quite the adventure, but its been completely and utterly amazing. 

my first glimpses of bulgaria were the very scary streets of sofia on the taxi ride to blago. all i kept thinking was “what am i doing here?!?” now i walk along the streets of blago, with the christmas lights, the snow, the little old people, and even the stray dogs, and i cant help but thinking “why am i leaving?” im sure ill be back, but for the moment its home. its the same feeling i had leaving home to come here, but ive built a home and ive made a family. im leaving home again. 

i hear the culture shock going home is even worse than coming here. my sleep schedule will be off. my normal schedule will be off. adjusting to actual classes again will be interesting. being able to understand everything that people say will be really weird. lets just say it may be a long adjustment period.

im going to miss my life here. im going to miss my family here. im going to miss my home here. its gonna be rough. but im excited to go home and see how my girls how grown and how things have changed without me. i hope not too much has changed, but i know ive changed. 

it was well worth it. and i would do it again in a heartbeat. 

ill be back someday.




ive only been waiting since october to see some snow. and we finally got some. a full day of snow!!

only to be followed by our usual 60 degree days.

dont worry its cold now, i just wish my jacket had sleeves!! 

christmas village

i love blago around the holidays.

there are about a million lights in the trees throughout town and all over the buildings in front of our main building. not to mention a huge christmas tree, a little charlie brown looking, but i love it.

and we have a christmas village!!!!

they put up these building that now have christmas decorations, toys, candy, popcorn, donuts, and restaurants too. and if you dont want to sit down inside you can get a sausage sandwich and a beer and go sit under the lights.


chemical warfare, the great flood, and the cold war part 2

this should have been written about awhile ago, but im slacking as usual.

for those of you who didnt know - our toilet had been broken for about a month. my russian roommate was drunk and decided it would be a good idea to run into the toilet. we ended up with a huge crack in the tank that flooded the bathroom while we were all out at the student government party. it was a horrible smell. well after getting a brand new toilet, having it start to leak, and having some very interesting bulgarian plumbers in our room for two weeks straight that problem was solved. chemical warfare over.


once you think one problem is solved with this russian, another starts.

after the drunken eagle party (albanian independence) we all came home and were hanging out. she decided she wanted to sober up in the shower, which is fine whatever. she was in there for a good hour, and i tried my best to get her out. i gave up. she was responding and i thought everything was fine. not so much. i was lying on annas bed and got up probably an hour later (two hours in the shower - she was using the faucet part not that actual shower) and found half of the floor flooded. and im talking from the shower through the bathroom through our entryway and under the door onto the carpet. 

yeah, a 20 minutes of banging on the door, me running downstairs and trying to explain to the security guards, we finally had to unlock the door with a pen.

yes, she locked the door, and then passed out covering the drain with the water running for at least an hour. and this was at 5am!!!

so that was the great flood. 

and now for the cold war part 2…

apparently anna or i ate a .44 stotinki pack of the russians noodles (like ramen) and now she hates us. we told her we didnt, but were american so it must have been us. and she put up a threatening note, and wont talk to us. not to mention she defriended us on facebook. ugh

poor anna has to live with her next semester too.

oh.. and she stole one of my posters!! i collect the posters from all the parties, and she stole one of them for our wall, and decided she got to keep it, even though everyone knew the posters were all going home with me.

legit - shes crazy

things that have been forgotten…

we had a mac and cheese night with kraft and velveeta. so delicious. and on the way there we just happened to get stuck in the elevator. apparently the elevators only hold 4 people, and we had 6. whoops :)

then we made pancakes for breakfast. legit american pancakes, none of this crepe nonsense. we even got to have legit maple syrup too! straight from the trees of vermont. it was so good.


this was seriously incredible. i asked our dean of students what things i had to do in blago before i left, and she mentioned mineral baths! no idea there were any in this town. anna and i decided we had to venture over there before i left, so this weekend we went. we didnt actually know what building it was in, only that it was near the opera house. we wandered into the sketchiest building in the plaza, and what do you know? it was the banya! 5.50 leva got us one room that looked us someone could have been murdered in. this little old woman led us downstairs into the dark concrete lobby area and then down an even darker tiled hallway. into our room with a concrete floor and dirty, white tiles. yeah it was interesting. but oh how amazing it was!

while on a walk we discovered that blago has its own version of a berlin wall. this huge concrete wall next to the army barracks but continuing on all the way up to the top of this huge hill. where the wall stops there is a magnificent view of my little town of blago <3