Work and Travel in Bulgaria
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BULGARIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Bulgaria is quickly becoming a favourite of travellers from Europe and beyond. It’s a highly diverse country encompassing mountains, sandy beaches, cosmopolitan cities, and ancient historical sites. Extend your stay by looking at volunteering opportunities in Bulgaria. It’s an easy country for the first-time volunteer and a downright pleasure for regular visitors.
We’re going to reveal the best volunteering opportunities for volunteers in Bulgaria. This is your travel guide to Bulgaria if you want to do something a little different this year.
Are you ready to challenge yourself in Bulgaria?
1. Join in Archaeological Digs in Western Bulgaria
Not many people know that Western Bulgaria was once a part of the Roman Empire. They found Roman ruins in the centre of the capital of Sofia, and they’re still being unearthed today. Similar archaeological sites have been found all over the country, but especially in Bulgaria.
It’s possible to find work with government-supported bodies, such as the Bulgarian Archaeological Association. You don’t need to be a professional archaeologist to find work here.
2. Work on an Organic Farm in Rural Bulgaria
Organic farming is becoming increasingly popular in Bulgaria. Find work on an organic farm and spend the summer with a real Bulgarian family. You’ll exchange aspects of culture and you’ll work hard making a true difference to your host’s life. Many organic farms run entirely on volunteers, so you’ll also get the opportunity to work with a big international contingent.
You don’t need any qualifications to get involved with organic farming. As long as you’re willing to work hard you’re already perfect for this role.
It’s a great way to work outside, meet new people, and see how real Bulgarian people live.
3. Protect Homeless Dogs in Sofia
Like many Balkan countries, Bulgaria has a big problem when it comes to stray dogs. The government has acted and has sterilised many of the stray animals. The issue is so many of them continue to live on the streets. Join an initiative to protect homeless dogs in the capital.
These organizations are setup to take homeless dogs from the street and to give them a loving home. Working here makes a real change to the lives of these animals.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BULGARIA
Bulgaria is in the European Union (EU) but is not part of the free movement Schengen Zone. However, Bulgaria still applies the same visa policy as Schengen countries and is expected to join the zone when they meet the relevant criteria, but for now they offer their own short stay visa requirements. That means citizens of the UK and the rest of the EU can enter Bulgaria and stay as long as they want.
North American countries, along with South Koreans and the Japanese, can enter with a visa-on-arrival for 90 days out of every 180 days.
South Africans and Russians must apply for a visa at the closest embassy to them. Australians and Kiwis are able to obtain the visa-on-arrival.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BULGARIA
Bulgaria brings pleasant temperatures during the spring time. For many animal conservation charities in urban and rural areas, this is when they restart many of the projects. It’s a good time to try to find work with homeless dogs, birds, and various other types of Bulgarian wildlife.
It’s when additional hands are needed to cope with the influx of work. However, the formal nature of these organisations means that you should apply months in advance to be sure of a place.
The summer season is the main tourist season and the hottest time of the year in Bulgaria. To start with, you have the usual array of hostel jobs. Most hostels and guesthouses have places available for volunteers at this time of year. You may be able to choose between staying for a few weeks and staying a few months. In Bulgaria, most of these positions only provide free food and accommodation not monetary compensation.
A favourite place to catch these positions is on the coast. The areas around Varna and Burgas have the highest concentrations of resorts and guesthouses.
You should also consider the various archaeological positions available in Western Bulgaria. These digs are most likely to need volunteers to work in Bulgaria in the summer.
Many of the jobs detailed above continue to run into autumn, but it’s often difficult to find positions as most prefer to maintain the staff they had in the summer.
The only seasonal skills needed in autumn are farming and construction. At this time of year many rural families experience the busiest time of year, so an extra pair of hands is always appreciated.
Wintertime in Bulgaria brings bitterly cold temperatures and snow, which generally leaves the Black Sea coastline barren of visitors. If you want to work and travel in Bulgaria in winter you should take a look into the ski resorts.
If you have experience as a ski or snowboarding instructor, look to South Bulgaria for this type of work.
Bankso is one of the most popular ski resorts for people coming from the UK and is a favourite for people who want to work and travel in Bulgaria in winter. Backpackers with prior qualifications and/or work experience can even command paid roles.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BULGARIA
The landscape of Bulgaria has changed over the years. It has become very much westernised, with Western culture everywhere. The number of English speakers has increased markedly and you’ll find it easy to communicate with the locals.
Since the volunteering work on offer doesn’t specifically take jobs from the local people, you’ll experience no hostility working in the country.
It should be mentioned that like a lot of the Balkans non-Caucasians may experience a degree of racism in certain parts of the country. Bulgaria has never welcomed immigration from Africa or the Middle East for this reason. But in the cosmopolitan areas of Plovdiv, Sofia, and Varna this is not as much of a problem.
Either way you’re bound to love your experience in the country. Are you ready to take on Bulgaria?