Getting around if you don't know the language. Any expat community ?

Hi everyone!

My name is Danni. I am currently living in London but am going to be moving to BG next year around summer time with my boyfriend - super excited!! I have an international background, growing up in Hong Kong and I love to travel to new places and explore different cultures.

My bf is actually a native so I won't be facing as many problems as one would moving by themself, but obviously I need to be able to learn Bulgarian for myself and have my own friendships/life whilst living in BG. I have visited BG a lot and am going to be back this Christmas and New Year for 2 weeks :)

Just wanted to start feeling things out and getting some different POV from people that have already made the move:

1. Is it hard to get around if you don't know the language?
2. Have you met may expats around your city/ villages?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Bye for now!


Hi Danni,

This new thread on the Bulgaria forum has been created from your post so that you may get some responses.

Till members share their experience, i suggest you read these topics :

- Are you happy in Bulgaria?

- Expand your social circle in Bulgaria

All the very best,

In big cities it is quite easy to get around without knowing a lot of Bulgarian... many younger Bulgarians speak excellent English (as I am sure you know from your boyfriend) and restaurants generally have their menu in English. I do have to say in the summer time in the seaside cities, be on the lookout for people who want to take advantage of foreigners- so don't be too trusting of people you meet on the street who want to help you or need your help for that matter.

And in the bigger cities, there are plenty of foreigners to be found. Usually there are a few bars they go to (sundogs in varna for example) and also meetings that you can find via facebook or here. To me it seems like every village has at least one foreigner living in it these days.

In smaller cities and villages it can be harder. But as an example, I live in Gabrovo (about 50,000 people) and last summer I invited my parents over. They don't speak a lick of Bulgarian and are terrible with languages. My mother had never been abroad before. But by the end of the first week, they were managing more or less on their own for things like shopping and dining. People were friendly to them, more or less patient, and helpful.

Hi Danni

Whilst I am managing to pick up the language my other half isn't.  This hasn't held him back a jot even buying and negotiating prices for building materials.  If he ever gets truly stuck he will get an image up on his phone.  He can't use Goodle translate because he's dyslexic, still hasn't stopped him.

We live in a village 45 mites north of Veliko Tarnovo and there are about 6 ex pat couples in the village.  We all integrate into the Bulgarian community and occasionally have ex pat gatherings.  It is always good to be able to speak fluently to same language speakers every now and again.  My thought for you would the average age range of ex pats - I'd say predominantly pre or post pension age though there is a wave of younger people making the move.  3 of our kids have bought in a village and whilst they only use their houses for holidays at the moment they would all love to live here full time after uni or when kids are a bit older.  They all manage to traverse Bulgaria with little or no Bulgarian and have had no nasty experiences.  As previously mentioned the younger generation are very able to converse in English.

It is a wonderful life out here but as in anything it's what you put in :)

Thanks for your POVs and advice! Am so exicted about moving and our upcoming 2 week break there :) If you ever find yourselves around Plovdiv, let me know!
Best wishes, D

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