April 06, 2020

Your recent two-part feature (BDN, Dec. 20-21, 22) on the University of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria was interesting. It sounds to me as if many American staff and faculty members have not learned much of the Bulgarian language. This has the ring of colonialism, or benevolent paternalism.

To be most effective, and to understand Bulgarian people and the way they think, it’s imperative that one learn the language — not an impossible task. Does the university have anyone teaching Bulgarian as a second language — and if not, why not? Knowing the language would be a way to understand and communicate with the students and others.

Note: We shouldn’t try to make those students into a bunch of American kids. That’s not why they’re there.

And next time you run a map of the Balkans, bring it even slightly up to date. “Yugoslavia” isn’t what it used to be. Carol Howe Rockland

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