28.07.2015 BBC Radio 4 about Brits living in Bulgaria
Brits Abroad on July 24, 2015 was dedicated to Bulgaria and how Brits are relocating to Bulgaria and changing the face of the Bulgarian countryside.
Safraz Manzoor meets with Brits living in Bulgaria to hear their stories. He speaks to the British retirees who have moved to rural villages in Bulgaria in order to have a good life on their UK pensions. They can buy a house for as little as the cost of a 'second hand car', as younger Bulgarians abandon their homes for the city lights or opportunities in the cities or other countries like Britain.
He also interviews Polina Stoykova, Managing Director of BULGARIAN PROPERTIES - the biggest real estate company in Bulgaria. She comments:‘60% of the rural properties are sold to Brits. With their pensions they can afford everything they need. In the Bulgarian villages every family grows vegetables, they have chicken, so it is as quiet as fifty years ago. Time seems to have stopped. People are very glad to see that Brits are coming to villages. They are always willing to help them with everything.’
Despite the fact that life is hard for Bulgarians, they welcome the Brits, recognising the benefits they bring to village life and the local economy. Retired Brits also benefit from the reciprocal health care and when Sally Rickard had breast cancer all her treatment was free and there were no waiting lists.
In conclusion Safraz Manzoor says: ‘During the making of this series I have been struck by the parallel between the migrants who come to Britain and Brits who leave for the continent. Both make the move for a better life, both relocate for the reasons of economics, love or fresh opportunities. Perhaps the most important lesson we learn from stories of the Brits abroad is that no one can really be blamed and no one should be attacked for wanting to have or make a better life.’
Listen to the full broadcast here
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