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Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Dilemma of the Bulgarian Professional

Peter Ivanov has the job of his dreams-and those of many of his peers. Sunny beach bulgaria restaurant prices As sales promoter of a well-known alcohol brand at the Bulgarian branch of a multinational company, the 28-year-old university graduate with two Master’s degrees-in Economic and Business Administration and in Banking-drives a corporate Renault Clio and can make unlimited calls on his corporate handy.

Sunny beach bulgaria food prices When he started work for the company last month, his direct supervisor consulted him on each and every piece of office equipment he would need and ordered the most techy and expensive items. Sarmi bulgarian food His direct supervisor, however, would be surprised to see the book most prominently displayed on his bookshelf-“Everything you Need to Know about Emigrating to Canada,” with a caption in his handwriting: “The Holy Bible.”

Ivanov and his brother, a freelance architect in Sofia, Bulgaria with projects on his resume such as “Interior design for the Ministry of Finance,” got the book three years ago from good friends-one of the best music journalists in the country and her husband, a well-known sports journalist. Sach bulgarian food They have also started the three-year process of applying for Canadian permanent resident status.

These are four of Bulgaria’s best-educated and most valuable young professionals. Popular bulgarian food Like half of the country’s citizens that total less than 8 million, they want to leave the country in search of better opportunities abroad.

Frustrated with more than a decade of economic and political instability after the fall of the Socialist regime, and faced with the many challenges of Eastern Europe’s economies in transition, many of Bulgaria’s young professionals have opted for what they hope will be a better life. Mehanata bulgarian restaurant des plaines Last year’s national census data accounts for 177,000 emigrants-almost the size of the fifth largest city in the country-since 1992.

Another study conducted by the National Statistics Institute at the end of 2001 is no less discouraging: 15 percent of the Bulgarian population is determined to leave the country for good within the next couple of years, and more than half of those are between 20 and 39 years of age. Kapama bulgarian food Some 5 percent consider leaving the country for a certain period of time to work or study abroad. Forte bulgarian restaurant las vegas And the rest simply can’t afford the airfare to a foreign country.

Of all destinations, Germany and the United States attract the greatest proportion of young emigrants. Food and drink prices in sunny beach bulgaria With its green card program for skilled professionals, Germany is a preferred immigration destination for 23 percent of the Bulgarian population. Famous bulgarian footballers The United States follow closely, attracting almost a fifth of Bulgaria’s emigration flow.

According to the unofficial estimates of Philip Dimitrov, a former Bulgarian Ambassador to Washington, D.C., the Bulgarian immigrant population in the States outnumbers 200,000 people. Famous bulgarian food The Agency for Bulgarians Abroad with the Council of Ministers in Bulgaria is more conservative and its estimates are around 120,000-180,000. Buy bulgarian food online “And God knows how many Bulgarians live and work in the States illegally,” says the Agency’s Chief Secretary Marin Zhabinsky.

Bulgarians have populated virtually every large American city. Bulgarian traditional food The Bulgarian colony in Miami produces and distributes perfectly-Bulgarian feta cheese, the huge Bulgarian population in Chicago prints its own Bulgaria Weekly, and Bulgarians in New York meet at the Bulgarian church on 50th St. Bulgarian street food and 10th Ave. Bulgarian restaurants in usa every Sunday. Bulgarian restaurant shanghai Other Bulgarians flee to Canada, enticed by its welcoming immigration program that promises easily acquired resident status to qualified professionals. Bulgarian restaurant penang Computer specialists prefer Germany with its program for disbursing 200,000 green cards to highly skilled computer programmers. Bulgarian restaurant nyc And yet others leave for Greece, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Australia.

“I often ask myself: Why should I leave Bulgaria, why don’t I just stay here,” says Ivanov. Bulgarian restaurant new york “And right away, I ask myself one other question-what is there to stay here for?”

People like Ivanov and his brother leave a country whose GDP of $48 billion for 2000 is only slightly larger than Procter & Gamble’s revenues for the year and more than four times smaller than the revenues of the Wal-Mart Stores. Bulgarian restaurant los angeles ca With no worries and remorse, they dump their monthly salaries of $150, slightly above the average for the country and in no way enough to pay their rent, utilities and food. Bulgarian restaurant los angeles With hope and determination, all of them leave for a world of opportunities-a phenomenon that has come to be termed braindrain.

Researchers from the Center for Economic Development consider braindrain the largest threat to the technological development of the country. Bulgarian restaurant london The braindrain indicator ranked Bulgaria last among the 59 countries participating in the World Economic Forum in Davos last year. Bulgarian restaurant las vegas nv Judging from this year’s public opinion polls and research agency results, the country’s ranking at the World Economic Forum in New York has slight chances of improvement.

If it does not take measures to hamper braindrain, the Bulgarian market will face a lack of skilled and well-educated professionals that many West European countries have confronted with generous offers for skilled workers from the low-paid East European labor force. Bulgarian restaurant las vegas Unlike those countries, Bulgaria has a problem-the international businesses and private companies there are not enough to give a job to everyone with a Master’s degree. Bulgarian restaurant in new york Neither are the salaries they offer comparable to those offered by the same companies abroad. Bulgarian restaurant in los angeles A project manager at a state-owned company in the IT sector makes on average $150-250 a month and a project manager at a private company makes $550-1000, according to a report of the Center for Economic Development.

“My family is one of the many Bulgarian families striving to survive, and my only incentive to leave the country is financial,” says Rifat Likov, a student at the American University in Bulgaria who was born in the family of “minority” Turkish-Bulgarians. Bulgarian restaurant in des plaines He is one of the 20 percent in Bulgaria who want to leave the country for financial problems, and one of the 5 percent who plan to return sometime.

“I believe I can do more good here than anywhere else,” says Likov and adds that what he values most is the liberal-arts education he is receiving at AUBG.

Often blamed for educating CIA agents, for working to contaminate the Bulgarian spirit with American values and what-not, the American University in Bulgaria is actually the institution which educates the largest proportion of future entrepreneurs, given the small size of its graduating classes averaging 100-120 a year. Bulgarian restaurant in atlanta The university proudly waves its flag with a mission to “educate the future leaders of the region” and in some cases, it does so. Bulgarian restaurant des plaines il More than half of its graduates leave for the US to continue their education in America’s top universities. Bulgarian restaurant des plaines But on the other hand, a lot of them come back and head departments at international businesses, or establish their own companies and work to retain talents in Bulgaria themselves. Bulgarian restaurant chicago Prospering software development companies such as Wizcom, NetAge, EastiSoft, AdVenture, and many others founded by AUBG graduates successfully seduce young talent with salaries more than ten times above the average, opportunities for career growth and most importantly-offers for business travel abroad-something that every young person dreams of.

A small drop can’t fill in the lake, though. Bulgarian restaurant boston Top business executives say the best thing the government could do it step in.

“The Government could help encouraging young people to stay by developing more training opportunities for young professionals, and especially developing part-time business training programs where one could work and improve their qualifications at the same time,” says Thomas Higgins, executive director of the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund, an investment bank that lends to entrepreneurs who present a clear vision of what business they want to start in Bulgaria and how they plan to carry it out.

“More than ten years of transition have produces quite a few good companies with a vision of where they are headed,” says Higgins. Bulgarian restaurant atlanta “There are some very nice opportunities here, but there should be more of them.”

For the lack of more nice opportunities in Bulgaria, people are ready to give up everything they have for a visa allowing them to enter a foreign country. Bulgarian restaurant On the long, heavy line in front of the US Consulate Service in Sofia, one waits an average of four hours for their turn for a visa interview. Bulgarian presidential elections 2016 Many get denials, and look for any other possibility to get the cherished visa.

Some try the student work and travel programs that organize internships or offer summer jobs in the retail or tourism industry in the US. Bulgarian national food Only college students of up to 25 years of age are eligible, but that won’t stop anyone from applying. Bulgarian made cars “We get all sorts of people,” says Mariana Nikolova, program coordinator at the Work & Travel student program at STA Travel Bulgaria. Bulgarian guns “Some are 30-40 years old and determined to try everything, every single company that could help them to leave,” she adds.

“Students who go to work abroad know they will have unqualified, low-paid jobs there, and they know that life there won’t be a bed of roses, but most of them are ready to take anything,” she says.

Take Silvia Ignatieva, who left for a summer internship in New York on a six-month visa eight months ago. Bulgarian guitar She now works as a waitress at a restaurant on West 3rd St. Bulgarian food uk online in Manhattan, and the only pay she gets is customer tips. Bulgarian food uk Her dream is to get accepted as a transfer student at Hunter College and legalize her status to that of a foreign student. Bulgarian food store online She thinks living on less than $30 a day is worth it, as long as the summer starts and brings more generous customers to the restaurant. Bulgarian food store barking Then she believes she can even save enough to pay her tuition at Hunter.

Why would she be poor in a foreign country rather than in Bulgaria? Ivanov, the young sales promoter of Absolut and other alcohol brands, has the answer:

“I am a human being. Bulgarian food store I want to live. Bulgarian food shop london I want to see. Bulgarian food shop karlovo I want to go to Canada. Bulgarian food shop in london I don’t want to live in this closed country. Bulgarian food shop I want to have a choice.”

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