1. Getting frustrated with language barriers.
When someone is in your home country, speaking a broken, tense imperfect, thickly accented version of your language, it can be daunting and even frustrating. Whenever I feel myself getting flustered, I think back to what it felt like to be in Bulgaria. I was so thrilled and thankful to be in such a fascinating place, but I was also often scared, alone, and underprepared.
I learned I had been awarded a Fulbright in February and arrived in Ruse just a few months later, which was of course not enough time to master an entirely unfamiliar language. Many people were very kind to me and happy when I could speak even a little bit of Bulgarian, but I remember every instance where my lack of skill was used as a means of ridicule or scorn. When I’m speaking with someone who is just learning English, I try to be kind and sensitive in a way I might not have been before.