The award for some of this year’s finalists at the Bulgarian Creative Writing Competition was participation in the Summer Educational Camp organized by the American University in Bulgaria. They have shared with us the positive experiences.
You arrive at the university campus on a summer afternoon. You walk along the whispering river which is surrounded by lush lawns and trees swaying in the breeze. When you reach Skapto 1, you’re greeted by a group of young, friendly counselors who make sure you have everything you need. After having your first dinner in the canteen (which, like any meal there, is delicious), you have two hours of team building. You begin to meet the amazing people with whom you’ll share both joy and sorrow for the next few weeks. Together you’ll go to classes, eat, play sports, write poems, sing in a circle on the grass, draw, swim, present, go on trips, shout out the windows after curfew and get into trouble. You will make friends and memories you won’t ever forget. In class you’ll meet teachers who inspire, not lecture. All of them, as well as the counselors, are open-minded, intelligent people you can talk to, the way you’d talk to a close friend. I really appreciate that. The main disadvantage of this camp is how hard it is to leave it – the moment of goodbyes. It has you dreaming of the day you will return. I really hope such a day will come for me. – Maria Bakalova, Haskovo
At first I was highly skeptical of this camp: I thought it would be just another nuisance in my otherwise lazy summer holiday. I was wrong, and was so glad to be wrong! The methods of teaching there are nothing like what one can see in a Bulgarian school- everything is presented in the form of entertaining games, everybody is tolerant to opinions which differ from their own and nobody is forced to do anything. There was much more emphasis on cooperation compared to competition, which I really liked, as it encourages the exchange of ideas. All of the teachers and counselors are all energetic and rather friendly, and there is a wide variety of afternoon activities- ball sports, bowling, billiards, swimming and hiking. The evening teambuilding activities are definitely one of the highlights of the camp and a marvelous way for us campers to get to know each other better. To make a long story short, the camp was good that I stayed on for another week, and even managed to make a friend from Kazakhstan while there! I’ve already started saving up so as to go again next year, and I think you should too! – Svetoslav Yordanov, Shumen
I don’t really think it’s possible to sum the experience up in just a paragraph. To me, it was all about personal growth, about learning to appreciate my strengths and figuring my flaws out, it was an opportunity to work on my confidence and my communication skills. I did not just make friends there, I found a family, I found a home. Inspiring teachers, friendly counselors, creative, loving students and tons of fun and excitement were just a part of the things I associate with the summer camp. As clichéd as it may sound, it was an unforgettable, life-changing experience. To be surrounded by so many young, intelligent and talented people, to take part in all the classes and activities was a privilege, and it had a huge impact on me. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate in something so special. I created lasting friendships, I met people who changed the course of my future, I simply had the time of my life. – Ivanela Arabadzhieva, Polski Trambesh