My Journey From Byala Slatina To Delaware | The Story of Vanessa Velkova

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Vanessa and I both joined the ASSIST's Class of 2021. We travelled together on our way to the United States, and watched a couple of movies during the flight, as we were looking forward to the landing. But we also travelled together, when we left the US earlier on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the difference was that we did not look forward to the landing this time. Enough about that - it is my pleasure to introduce to you my friend Vanessa Velkova:

Here Vanessa is at her firt Cross Country Tournament! Let's go, Vovi!👏

#Short Profile:

Home Country: Bulgaria 🇧🇬

Exchange Program: ASSIST Program 🇺🇸

School during exchange year: Towerhill School, Delaware, USA 🇺🇸

Favorite food I explored abroad: Chinese and Italian food; drinks- maybe the special cold tea and lemonade 🇨🇳🇮🇹🥤

Favorite school activity: Track&Field with MY GANG🏃‍♀️

Favorite person from my exchange year: My track and field GANG🏃‍♀️🎽

My dream College/Major: Medical University 💊


First day of school! Such an exciting moment for every exchange student. 🏫

Why did you decide to apply for an exchange year?

- It was my ambition to be successful in life and also the fact that my sister has already had an amazing experience in the USA!

#AMAZING: Vanessa and her sister, Zhanet, are twins👩‍❤️‍👩... and they have a unique story! Zhanet was a scholar of the YES Program the year before Vanessa joined the ASSIST Program. But we are going to learn about Zhanet's adventure in another article! 

How did your parents react to your bold decision?

- My mom was extremely supportive, as well as my grandparents!

Tell me a funny moment of your adventure abroad!

- When, while running for a competition, I felt really sick and after my sprint I threw up and went home to have some rest, because I had some bad breakfast before practice.

#LOL🤣: Well, I have a similar experience, but I had a Chipotle Burrito with steak, extra hot sauce, and extra sour cream right before soccer practice. One thing, guys: DO NOT HAVE HEAVY MEALS BEFORE PRACTICE❗️

This picture is from the Cultural Night Event at Towerhill School. Vanessa had a leading role in this event - she gave some lessons in traditional Bulgarian dances! 🌍🇧🇬

What is one particular thing that impressed you the most?

- The whole technical part of the education and the well-being center.

What was the coolest new thing you tried or experienced abroad?

- I went for a visit to NYC for a day after Christmas and saw the world-famous Broadway shows.

One advice about overcoming homesickness!

- Everything will end in a year, so do not waste your time having a self-pity party.

Happy 17th birthday, Vanessa!🎂

Who was your favorite teacher? Try to describe them, using 3 words!

- Dr. Martin- warm, a great person and a father, and exceptionally intelligent.

What was your hardest moment during your exchange year and how you dealt with it?

- Having deep conversations with my host mom about the problems I had with my host sister.

#IMPORTANT: I am actually considering writing an article on this topic. For now, I would say it is extremely important to maintain a healthy and honest relationship with your host family, SINCE I HAD TO MOVE TO ANOTHER HOST FAMILY! 

Vanessa and I on our way back to Bulgaria! ✈️

How does your exchange year reflect on your choice to continue your academic career in college?

- The main QUESTION- “Is it actually worth it?“ and how good the education there is compared to here (in Bulgaria), as well as tuition-wise.

Give to future applicants and their parents one reason why kids should apply for an exchange year!

- Give them the chance to have the best year of their lives! Just believe me! It is going to get better, just do not worry about it now and keep pushing!

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