Radostina Karageorgieva, Simoneta Bozhinova, Yoan Stanev, Sofiya Kalinova, Svetoslav Tsvetkov, Sahar Hasan and Svetoslav Nunev

Former and current interns at British Embassy Sofia

Guest blogger for Emma Hopkins

Part of UK in Bulgaria

27th August 2015 Sofia, Bulgaria

British Embassy Sofia Internship Scheme

“The Embassy has run an internship programme for the last few years. The interns bring to the Embassy a fresh perspective alongside gaining valuable work experience. They are usually tasked with one big “project” (based on their own interests) during their time with us but, also quickly become an important part of Embassy life. I am always amazed at how quickly they settle in and start contributing their ideas. We also have a diversity programme that is aimed at providing opportunities for those from underrepresented groups of society, as well as breaking down stereotypes. Our experience has been that well run internship programmes provide benefits for all involved. We have benefited from the fresh perspectives and challenge that interns can bring and judging by their blogs below they get some valuable experience too.”

– Emma Hopkins, OBE, British Ambassador to Bulgaria 

Radostina Karageorgieva – Consular Intern, 2013; Media & Communications Intern, 2014

Radosveta Karageorgieva at the garden of the British Ambassador's Residence in Sofia

In my younger and more foolish days my ambitions never extended beyond the next couple of months or so, and never beyond the borders of my home country.

My time at the Embassy made me believe that I am deserving of more – more opportunities to shine, more moments to feel proud of, more people to be inspired by. Everyone in the Embassy team – from the cleaning staff to the Ambassador – treated me with respect and kindness; they listened to my ideas, asked questions, gave me challenging work. For a young adult, who has never found themselves in a professional environment where their opinions mattered, this is incredibly important; it makes you believe that you matter and can make a useful contribution to a team; it motivates you to continue to push yourself.

The experiences I received from the year I worked at the Embassy are ones that I still cherish to this day: I travelled across the country with the Consul, I attended high-level events in the capital, and I designed giant posters for Embassy campaigns. More than anything, for the first time in my professional life I felt like I have true value – and this has been the driving force behind everything I have achieved ever since. I was enrolled in a highly selective Master’s Program at Maastricht University in the Netherlands shortly after I left; I worked as a videographer at a student job and got to meet and interview influential people; I volunteered as a layout designer for the United Nations Student Association magazine, The Diplomat. Now, I’m headed for Brussels, where I’ll be doing an internship at a major European organization focusing on innovation and technology in education.

I truly believe that I am where I am because my time at the Embassy ignited something special in me; now I hope that I can one day return the favor and give back at least a part of all the wonderful things that I have been given.

Simoneta Bozhinova – UK Trade & Investment Intern, 2014


I did an internship at the Trade and Investment Team where some of my main responsibilities were supporting UKTI advisers in conducting market research, contacting companies, drafting short reports and organising meetings. I was introduced to a real world business environment on an organisational, as well as on a personal level, and it was a great opportunity to learn about official business and government protocol. It was certainly an experience that challenged me to leave my comfort zone. Interns at the embassy are highly encouraged to take the initiative and I personally enjoyed the opportunity I was given to make a presentation on refugee issues in Bulgaria, which was attended by most of my colleagues including the ambassador.

During my time at the embassy they surprised me with numerous activities, tasks and events that made it a fun, unique and an educational experience. Currently I’m finishing my masters in international criminal law and will be spending the summer at an NGO for refugee rights in Palestine.

Yoan Stanev – Political Intern, 2014

Yoan Stanev

I was incredibly lucky to have landed a position in the Political Section, because it was a very turbulent time in Bulgarian politics – the socialist-led coalition government resigned, an interim government had to be quickly put together by the President, a KTB crisis erupted and much more. What made the internship such a unique experience was the opportunity to meet with influential politicians and question them about the future of Bulgarian politics.

In addition, I was tasked with researching Bulgaria’s parliamentary committees and making recommendations to the Embassy on how to engage with them. This involved several meetings with committee experts, with whom I discussed committee proceedings. In addition, the internship allowed me to help organise the Queen’s Birthday Party (which every Embassy around the world celebrates) and the 100-year anniversary celebrations of the British Residence in Sofia – something that not every internship can offer!

Sofiya Kalinova – UK Trade & Investment Intern, 2014/2015

Sofiya Kalinova

My participation at the British Embassy in Sofia was an immensely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. My duties at the UK Trade & Investment department included writing reports, sector briefs and country guide that enhanced the understanding of UK companies; engaging UK companies on those opportunities and supporting Bulgarian companies seeking for partnership with UK companies. I brought Bulgaria on the 6th out of Top 20 on business opportunities responses vs “target”.

I was sent to Bucharest to support the Romanian team organising an event with over 400 participants. I was also asked to assist the project team engaged in the visit of GREAT Mega Mission 2015, a trade delegation of more than 50 leading British companies in the field of Energy & Infrastructure.

I was offered to extend my internship period at the Embassy after my six month contract and as a law student. I am more than clear of what area of law I would like to focus after graduation!

Also, I was personal assistant to the Deputy Head of Mission for almost a month. It was an excellent experience for me! I was worried at the start as I am deaf and cannot answer the phone or call someone, but the DHM simply let me do my stuff on my own way and everything worked out perfectly!

The embassy staff and my line manager were very nice and supportive, always available to me at any time I had questions or needed any clarification. They were even willing to learn some sign language to be able to communicate in my own mother tongue – the Bulgarian sign language as well as I was provided a full time sign language interpreter services at all conferences and meetings I have attended.

The British Embassy in Sofia is the first institution where such services are provided at its fullest and I will be forever thankful for making this possible for me, especially in Bulgaria.

Svetoslav Tsvetkov – Political Intern, 2014; Magna Carta Project Coordinator, 2015

Svetoslav Tsvetkov

For me the internship at the British Embassy in Sofia was a great experience in terms of both the work activities in which I was involved and the opportunity to learn from high-level professionals coming from different backgrounds. As part of the Political Team I have worked on a few projects aimed at promoting the rule of law and I would say the internship has given me the chance to explore a variety of roles and to develop my professional skills. However, the best feature of the internship at the embassy was that I felt my opinion is respected and encouraged. I can only recommend the internship at the British Embassy in Sofia for all the good experiences and people you meet there.

Sahar Hasan – UK Trade & Investment Intern, 2014/2015

Sahar Hasan

Working at the Embassy was one of the most useful experiences in my professional development until now. I had the opportunity to work with people who were not only great specialists but also had the patience and desire to introduce me to the work. I had the chance to be an intern at the Trade and Investment Section, where I learnt more about the business relations between the Bulgarian and the UK market. I’m also glad that I was given the chance to work as a Personal Assistant to the Deputy Ambassador. In this role I attended meetings with different politicians and I think the experience and information I obtained will help me with my future development.

What is unique about the Embassy is that people create great atmosphere which stimulates the working process and makes the hours spent at the office more pleasent.

Svetoslav Nunev – UK Trade & Invesment Intern, 2015

Svetoslav Nunev

Being an intern at the British Embassy in Sofia is a great and prolific experience of learning how things are happening in such a large and respected institution, also part of a very influential structure that is the Foreign Commonwealth Office of Great Britain.

Through observations and practical work, I have gained a fairly good amount of knowledge about corporate and consular services, foreign affairs and international trade and investment.

I really enjoy and appreciate my time here, because working in an embassy gives a uniquely wide overlook on the happening all across the country and some insightful angles about the opportunities out there. Moreover, being part of such an amazingly enthusiastic and professional team that the British Embassy Sofia has helped me to become more confident and enjoy some unique opportunities for personal development. Even though I came with a background of music writing and production, I was welcomed with to actively take part in the working process and run my own project, suited to my field of interest.

About Emma Hopkins

Emma Kate Hopkins OBE was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Bulgaria in September 2014 and took up her post in May 2015 to August 2020. Before her appointment in Sofia,…

Emma Kate Hopkins OBE was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Bulgaria in September 2014 and took up her post in May 2015 to August 2020.

Before her appointment in Sofia, Emma led the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) to end impunity for sexual violence committed in war. The campaign included the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict – which brought together over 125 countries in the largest gathering ever on this topic. She was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to preventing sexual violence in conflict affected countries.

Emma’s career in government has included leading legal and policy teams at a senior level. She has worked on immigration and asylum, human rights, EU justice and home affairs, international criminal law, organised crime, as well as violence against women. Between 2006 and 2008, she developed the UK strategy on human trafficking and delivered it through a national and international campaign. For her work, in 2008, Emma received the Civil Servant of the Year Award for outstanding contribution to public service and in 2014 her team were given the Civil Service International Award for their work on the PSVI campaign.