50 stories - Dr. Payam Forghani25 July 2022 Events and Discussions
Dental Medicine Doctor
I arrived in Bulgaria in the distant 2014. After 16 years in Canberra, the Aussie capital, where the summer heat is over 40 degrees, I found myself in the cold winter of Eastern Europe with its sub-zero temperatures. With this drastic change, which took place in less than a day, the first chapter of my seven-year adventure began. Coming to Bulgaria to study Dental Medicine with my brother was not an easy decision. Another language, another culture, another continent with a different climate and even a different alphabet were waiting for me. The first months were particularly difficult and, to put it mildly, a severe culture shock for a young man like me. Over time, I became acquainted to more people, especially among the academic circles of the university where I studied.
I met many foreigners who were also students and even learned some of their languages (Greek and Turkish) and elements of their culture. But I was being the object of most interest for my Bulgarian colleagues, who were amazed to see an Australian in their country. They looked at me like an exotic animal, corrected my language mistakes, and introduced me to the local way of life. Countless times, they invited me to visit their villages to meet their grandparents and try the traditional food of the region. I liked the Shopska salad, the bean stew and the biscuit cake the most.
Today, seven years later, already as a graduate dentist, I am still in Sofia. I still can’t get enough of this country. I already have experience as a dentist in a village near Sofia (Hrabarsko village) and I have decided that Bulgaria will be my home. Although with limited financial resources, the people from the villages have big hearts and often after work on the way to Sofia I bring with me a bottle of homemade Bulgarian rakia, and fresh vegetables in the car. These little gestures make me feel comfortable here. This year I was accepted to specialize in Orthodontics at the Medical University in Sofia. The best thing is that the training will be entirely in Bulgarian. Bulgaria is my new home and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life here.