On the occasion of the Month of the Dominican Republic in IWC… An Interview With Johanna Alcantara
de Tejeda, IWC Membership Coordinator
When did you arrive in Sofia? What were your first impressions? Have your impressions changed since then?
I arrived in Sofia in the late summer of 2009. My first impression was contrast, a mix of the old and the new and the signs of three very different eras. No, they remain the same.
Where were you before you came to Sofia? How did you spend your time there?
I spent four and a half years in India, along with my husband and daughter. Most of the time, I was exploring
the world around me and enjoying the hospitality of India. In 2007, we moved to Gibraltar and the panorama changed, as Gibraltar is a very small country with a population of 30,000. Our only escape was Spain.
What are your thoughts on Bulgarian culture? On Bulgarian education?
Itâ€™s a very varied and rich culture with a lot of respect for traditions, and the efforts that are being made to not only to keep, but also to revive all parts of this culture, heritage, and history are commendable. The standard of education in Bulgaria is of good quality, and it is actually quite surprising, especially in the range of philology, how much enthusiasm the young generation shows in learning not only four languages, but learning about their culture as well.
What do you think about the lives of Bulgarian women?
From my point of view, Bulgarian women are hardworking, dedicated, and with a high level of ambition
and drive to succeed.
What are the similarities between Dominican and Bulgarian culture? What are the differences?
The similarities between both countries are based on a high importance placed on family bonds and
the level of respect for traditions. The difference is the weatherâ€”jajjajajajajajjaâ€¦. 😀
As a mother, what are your concerns for your children and about life in Sofia?
As a mother, I have the same concerns that any parent may have living in any other country: security,
education, and health.
What is the size of the Dominican community in Bulgaria?
The Dominican community is approximately 20.
Do you miss your home while you are here?
Yes, I miss it a lot!! My family, friends, the color of the sky, the smell of the ocean, and the smiles on
peopleâ€™s faces on the street.
What are you working on now? What would you like to achieve?
Iâ€™m currently working as a volunteer for the IWC Executive Board as Membership Coordinator, and
as a full-time mom. As a volunteer, I would like to fulfill the expectations of the membership of the
club and my colleagues on the Board. As a fulltime mom, I hope to be able to be a guide that can
take my child through the road of life, giving her the chance of learning from not only her mistakes, but
from her experiences.
If you had to describe Bulgaria in two words, what would they be?
Old and new; contrast.
Do you have any words of wisdom for newcomers to Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is a wonderful country with lovely people. I would just advise anyone who is relocated here
(or anywhere) to be patient, understanding, and learn Bulgarian ASAP.
How did you learn about IWC? What are your thoughts about it?
I learned about IWC before coming to Bulgaria, through a friend of mine who was a member. And as soon as I arrived, I became a member. I think the IWC is a great way of getting settled in and learning from other cultures.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to showcase Dominican culture this month and for
celebrating Dominican independence.