Living and working abroad

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Bulgaria
1. Posted by Rafferfree (Budding Member 9 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Hi! I’m English and live in the UK. I have a derelict old house in Bulgaria and the dream is to live and work over there. My profession is as an auxiliary nurse - 30+ years experience - but not a registered nurse. Although I’d be hap out to do any work at all. I don’t currently speak Bulgarian or drive. I intend to learn both very quickly once relocated over there. Is my dream possible??

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 3256 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

>Is my dream possible??

Most realistic dreams are possible but the majority take a great deal of time, effort and money to achieve. Very few dreams come to fruition just because they're desired!

The UK is no longer in the EU so you will need a visa if you wish to stay in Bulgaria for longer than the maximum 90 day limit for UK citizens. If you wish to to live in Bulgaria you will need a residence permit and if you want to work there you'll need a work permit.

This official page gives guidance about what will be necessary:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-bulgaria-for-work

I'm not aware of any shortage of auxiliary nursing staff in Bulgaria and, frankly, without the language you are very unlikely to find employment in that field. I feel that your chances of being granted a visa...and getting work... would be vastly improved if you learned at least some Bulgarian and obtained a driving licence before making your long-term visa application.

Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 31 Aug 2021, 18:42 GMT by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Rafferfree (Budding Member 9 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thankyou for that. It’s very early days so I’m in no rush. This is my first step into finding out what’s possible - or not.

The work I thought, would be the key to most things. I knew I’d be very limited in where I could work but nurses and carers are always needed everywhere in the world and I heard there are tourist hospitals so my fingers were crossed for a little foothold whilst I learnt the language.

I’m very grateful for your help. I’ll read the extra info you add and continue to do homework! Thanks again.

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2410 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Re the language, it looks quite daunting at first as it's written in a Cyrillic script, but from experience that is an easy nut to crack and after a couple of weeks working to transliterate the script to our Latin script, a lot of the language comes quickly into focus.

From a traveller perspective at least, once you've cracked the alphabet then a lot of the gobbledegook signage you see - shop signs, menus, information boards - easily relates to English.

There are plenty of online resources to help learn Cyrillic scripts; I'd start now and get used to it.

Good luck with your move. :)

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 3256 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

> nurses and carers are always needed everywhere in the world and I heard there are tourist hospitals so my fingers were crossed for a little foothold

Even in 'tourism hospitals'/cosmetic surgery clinics you'll need at least some Bulgarian. Patients may or may not speak English but you can't expect other staff/supervisors/admin etc to always speak in English/provide English translations when you're working...and even more so in emergency situations. Additionally, without the relevant language it will be exceptionally difficult for you to become part of a team in any job.

You wouldn't expect to get employment in the NHS & other UK caring services with no ability to speak and/or read English and I doubt anyone in the UK would be happy if you could! Bulgaria, like all other countries where English isn't an official language, is exactly the same.

Follow Andy's advice and begin by learning the Cyrillic alphabet and its English equivalent. Then invest in an online Bulgarian course (there are plenty around) and get your language standard to a decent level.

Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 1 Sep 2021, 10:13 GMT by leics2 ]

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2410 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

As you say you have 30+ years nursing experience I imagine that means you are 50+. In which case, I wonder if you could plan to retire there and be resident, thus avoiding all the hoops of getting a work permit for a relatively brief career over there.

As you have a property there (although derelict) you'll probably know how cheap the cost of living is over there. An inadequate retirement fund in the UK could well be a comfortable living in Bulgaria.

Factor in to all of your plans the freeze that the UK government puts on the state pension for people not resident in the UK. Check whether this will impact you. As I understand it you still get the pension but not inflation increases, so it will dwindle in spending power.

7. Posted by Vic_IV (Respected Member 151 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Rafferfree

I’ll read the extra info you add and continue to do homework! Thanks again.

You are right, Rafferfree, it is better to learn Bulgarian. It is not entirely decent - to live in a foreign country and not to be able to connect a couple of words in the language of this country. Again, even the clumsiest Bulgarian speech evokes much more sympathy among local residents than attempts to negotiate with them in English. Well, and one more thing: the prices announced in foreign languages in Bulgaria, for some reason, often turn out to be higher than the prices indicated in the Bulgarian price list. It is unlikely that this is legal. Also, remember about your derelict old house in Bulgaria. Its renovation might cost you a pretty penny, if you speak no Bulgarian. So, learn a language to save money. To speak Bulgarian, you merely have to speak Bulgarian. Discard perfectionism and speak slowly, albeit clumsily, albeit with mistakes, but speak. You can attend online Bulgarian courses, where your teacher will mercilessly speak Bulgarian to you, and you, willy-nilly, will also begin to speak Bulgarian, even though not perfect...
I heard the lively, sounding speech of the Bulgarians, and I can say that at first it drives a traveler crazy. Bulgarians speak a couple of times faster than even Ukrainians, not to mention calm Russians from Siberia. In addition, the intonation in the Bulgarian language is not at all like Ukrainian, but it reminds me a little of English.
Good luck in your endeavors!

[ Edit: Edited on 3 Sep 2021, 06:15 GMT by Vic_IV ]

8. Posted by Rafferfree (Budding Member 9 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Thankyou so much everyone! I’ve enrolled onto a Bulgarian course and I’m going to work hard!! I’m 47 and would love to continue nursing until I’m no longer able. Ive been in the care industry since I was 16 and still love what I do, so no plans to retire yet, but Thankyou again for all the advice and information. It’s hugely appreciated! I’m still looking to escape England so In the meantime,whilst I learn Bulgarian and renovate my house, I’ll look at English speaking alternatives!