Friendly attitude from Bulgarians, great food, nature and the country's potential inspire expats at UniCredit and makes them want to contribute
It goes without saying – Bulgaria is a great country. But what is that single thing that makes it a place worth living in, especially for foreigners? We asked this question a Romanian lady and two Italian gentlemen who as part of their international career at UniCredit now have managerial positions in UniCredit Bulbank – the leading bank in the country.
To Vagabond Raluca, Mario and Andrea share what has impressed them most in Bulgaria and compare their opinions on Bulgarian treasures.
Bulgarians make me feel being at home
Raluca Popescu, Head of Corporate, Investment and Private Banking
I feel like home, just that I do not understand the language. At the beginning I was not able to read one word. But this was not an issue, as most of people speak English or German or Italian... And the most important, even if they don't, they use their hands and help you. Or they stop someone else on the street to help you.
It might seem insignificant and one can take it alsmost for granted, but trust me, after experiencing some other cultures, for a foreigner, especially in the first weeks and months after arrival, this is extremely important. Like a sunny vs a cloudy day.
Аn example for Bulgarians' warmth and ability to enjoy life – you cannot imagine how "at home" I felt on my first day at the office when a colleague started sharing candies for her daughter's birthday. Again, you take it as a default behaviour, but it is not everywhere so.
Bulgarians show dedication, professionalism and are hard working. Of course I am biased and I mainly see the people in the bank, but I have the same feeling from my interaction with our clients.
Food. We say that love passes through the stomach. If this is true, then it is easy to fall in love with Bulgaria. Our countries' history has a lot in common, but I find a more diverse kitchen in Bulgaria. And I am not talking here about the modern reinvention of the dishes, but about the sheer diversity of tastes: Greek, Turkish, Asian, Italian both old and new style, as well the quality of the ingredients, especially fruits and vegetables. Let me not forget the wines. I keep discovering good, very good red Bulgarian wines.
My Bulgarian colleagues have knowledge, professionalism and dedication
Mario Collari, Head of Global Banking Services
The key factor for me is that despite all the limitations imposed by the quasi-lockdown we are experiencing, I feel almost at home. It's not only about feeling welcome, but also about a sense of familiarity, in many aspects (both good and bad, if I have to be honest).
I am from Rome, and the landscape of our countryside (it's not Tuscany, to be clear) is quite similar to what I see traveling around Bulgaria. The food diversity is familiar, especially if compared to the other countries I have lived in since I joined the Group. Okay, pasta is missing, and is not a detail for us, but when it comes to the rest: salads, fish, soups, seafood and, especially, vegetables, there's nothing missing, and more.
There's everything at hand: art, a very long and rich history, mountains, seaside, countryside, even golfing courses (I am a fan).
Coming to what we could bring coming from abroad, I believe it is a stimulus to do more. The feeling I have is that all the resources I mentioned could be valued way more.
It's true that the country has a few issues (tell me which has not) but there's a lot of potential as well. Things can be changed for the better.
I see it in our Bank. My Bulgarian colleagues have knowledge, professionalism and dedication that have nothing to envy to others. We are even better. Our results put us in a position nobody else can enjoy.
We have to believe more in this and in our ability to see and pursue the change, with optimism, since there's no reason for us to fail.
Bulgaria is a country with great potential
Andrea Tognetti, Head Of Human Resources
I joined UniCredit Bulbank last November, after 3 years in Hungary and several years travelling among Italy, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Despite living here for only a couple of months, I will gladly share what I like about Bulgaria. People are warm and welcoming. The country suggests great opportunities: in a few minutes or hours you can travel to rivers, lakes, mountains and the seaside. I am sure my family will love it. I am fascinated by the Bulgarian history: there's a lot to see from different religions and cultures and there's a common root with the Italian culture given that Sofia was an important city in the Roman Empire. I love the variety of food and am eager to learn Bulgarian and the Cyrillic alphabet.
My first feeling is that Bulgaria is a country with great potential… and this makes me happy and eager to give my small contribution.