Clubs and Extracurriculars Prepared Lora Bogoeva ('10) for Life After AUBG
It is noon on Sunday, Oct. 11. Lora Bogoeva ('10) is sitting on the terrace outside her apartment, waiting patiently for the interview to start. Her cat is winding around her legs. The weather in Cyprus is around thirty degrees, and the sun is shining. There are several green palm trees on the street that contribute to the whole summer atmosphere.
Lora is wearing a plain white t-shirt. Her hair is back in a loose ponytail. Her earphones match the color of her outfit. With the right hand, she is holding her mobile phone horizontally.
“For me, the university was not an academy only. It was everything else – friendships, networking, and being involved in extracurricular activities. Classes are important but they are not everything. Grades and exams also are not,” she adds.
Originally from Sofia, Lora is 33 years old. When she was little, she moved to Cape Town, South Africa with her parents. A couple of years later, she moved again to live in Waterford, a city on the south-east coast of Ireland, three hours away from Dublin. However, cold places were not her thing; she wanted to live somewhere warm. So, at the age of 19, she came back to Bulgaria to study in AUBG.
Lora graduated in 2010 with two majors – Business Administration and Journalism and Mass Communication. At first, she thought about majoring only in business because she wanted to follow in her father’s steps. However, when she had to take the first introductory JMC course as an extracurricular, the professor opened her eyes and JMC became her true passion. “I liked the class so much that something inside me just clicked and I said to myself ‘Oh my gosh! I love it and I want do this,’” she says. “The professor really inspired me and I decided to take every possible class with him,” she adds with a smile on her face.
However, Lora admits she has never been a bookworm; she studied only because she had to. Yet, this does not mean that she has not studied at all. On the contrary, she thinks that a lot of the courses have shaped her personality. For example, the courses in which she had to present in front of an audience and talk to people, allowed her to gain confidence because she was able to step out of her comfort zone.
Another thing that had a great impact on Lora were the clubs at AUBG that had offered her the opportunity to meet people from different social circles and get closer to them. During her academic studies, she was a part of two clubs – Flash News, a now defunct online media outlet, and AUBG Olympics. “The friendships that you make and the extracurricular activities that you are part in are connections for life,” she says. “I can still count on and rely on these people. And not just on a social level but also in my professional life.”
Didi Paunova has been one of Lora’s closest friends and was her roommate in Skapto. She describes Lora as “extremely outgoing, very adventurous, fun, friendly, compassionate and loving.” She shared that when she was doing her masters in London, she had a couple of months where she was going through a tough time. One day, Lora decided to surprise her with a ticket to Lisbon because she knew Didi needed to get away and take her mind off things. “We had an amazing time and she absolutely made her best to make me feel loved and supported. She has always been the person I would call whenever I need to just have a chat or ask for advice,” Didi says.
However, it turns out that clubs have a bigger influence on Lora and they have prepared her for the real life after AUBG. “The AUBG clubs have taught me to be a team player and expect the unexpected. The latter really helped me with my future career because subsequently, I went to work for an event management company,” she says.
Currently, Lora works for an international company in Cyprus that organizes events around the globe. She found that job opportunity by chance at AUBG’s annual Job Fair and has been working in the company ever since. However, at first, she was not sure about the position and whether she should apply for it and relocate again. So, she decides to go to one of her JMC professors, Phelps Hawkins, and ask for an advice. She shares, “[h]is words resonated with me and I decided to listen to him and go for it.”
Lora moved to Nicosia all by herself at the age of 22, ready to conquer the world. The first six months were difficult for her. “I had to research and write conference programs across various industries, learn about a vast amount of new topics, and get accustomed to writing formal emails. I did not have any professional experience and I had to quickly get used to communicating with high-level business executives, such as the vice presidents of the biggest pharmaceutical companies worldwide, or investment advisors of leading banks,” she says.
Now, she is a Production Manager for countries in EMEA and Asia-Pacific region. During the day, she has many conference calls and meetings. Most of the time, she speaks on the phone with potential clients and rarely sits on her desk, looking at her computer.
When we spoke again, it was late in the afternoon and she had just had a call with a client. Wearing a plain blue V-neck t-shirt, her hair was again in a loose ponytail. This time, she was not sitting on the terrace but on her couch in her living room. She started telling me more about her job and how it required a lot of travelling:
“On average, I have around 14 travels per year. Sometimes, I travel three times per month outside the country. Most often, we go to Switzerland in a small village next to Geneva, called Montreux. We also have events in Dubai, Portugal, Australia, the US. I have visited some of these locations more than ten times already,” she mentions.
Being a manager of a small team in Malaysia, she had to go and live there for about two months. The experience was incredible because every weekend was like a mini adventure. “I wanted to maximize my two months to the fullest. So, on Friday I would pack my stuff and go to nearby Bali, Singapore, and Thailand,” she says with a smile.
Lora’s favorite destination is Sydney. Every time she goes there to organize an event, she would extend her stay to explore around the city. People have a different lifestyle from what she has seen in other places. Moreover, she admires the Australian diverse wildlife and loves how people preserve nature and protect their animals. “If I was not an only child, I might have wanted to live there. But since I am an only child, it would be difficult to keep in touch with my family,” she admits.
Even though Lora loves Australia, she also considers the possibility of coming back to Bulgaria one day. “I feel close to Bulgaria despite everything and I do not exclude the fact to come back and live in Sofia. Not permanently but if my company decides to open an office there,” she says.
This story is part of a series of alumni profiles by current students for professor Laura Kelly's Advanced Writing for Media class.