By Elitsa Stoeva (YES 2016-2017, Bulgaria, placed by ASSE in San Antonio, TX)
When I was a teenager, a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria gave me a piece of advice: “People like you, who become educated and contribute to the development of their communities, will bring change.” This has stuck with me ever since and has driven me to work to help Bulgaria the best I can. It is because of this advice that I will be pursuing a Master of Philosophy in Russian and Eastern European Studies at Oxford University this coming fall. My hope is that through furthering my education I can better my local community.
During my YES exchange year, I had the opportunity to meet young and driven individuals who wanted to help others. This experience inspired me to volunteer on community development projects upon returning home to Bulgaria. Through volunteering, I discovered how policy initiatives can create change at the local level, which motivated me to focus my undergraduate studies on economic development, policy evaluation, and human rights in Eastern Europe.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I wanted to continue my education so that I can help my community to the best of my ability. I decided to apply to the Master of Philosophy in Russian and Eastern European Studies program at the University of Oxford and got in! I am excited for the next chapter on my educational path and looking forward to learning new solutions to complex issues within Bulgaria.