Interview: Alumnus and New Yorker, Iliyan Ivanov M.D.

By Preslava Stoyanova (10th)

I caught up with the multi-talented Dr. Iliyan Ivanov, a former student of AEG “Geo Milev,” after his recent online meeting with 12th grade biology students.

Dr. Ivanov graduated from our school and then studied medicine at the Higher Medical Institute Varna, where he graduated in 1990. He currently works as an Associate professor of Psychiatry and medical director of comprehensive adolescent rehabilitation and education services at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s in New York City. He is also a guitarist and founder of the jazz band “The Shrinks” and an artist who has exhibited his art for 15 years.

The psychiatrist has received many awards for his art, excellence in the work place, and for his music.

   At first, Ivanov wanted to study surgery. However, as time passed his professor advised him that it might be too one-dimensional for his diverse interests. With the help of his friend he found that Psychiatry would be better suited to his capabilities. The psychiatrist said that he has found great success in that field as he enjoys the humanities as well as the sciences. However, the job comes with a lot of responsibility as well as risks. Some psychiatric conditions are serious and last a lifetime, and if not treated correctly the patient could be harmed. 

   Due to the economic problems in Bulgaria at the end of the 20th century, Ivanov decided to move to the USA. He added that the situation was so difficult at that time that his first paycheck in Bulgaria was not even enough to pay his rent and he had no opportunity to start his practice in our country.  In order to transition to the USA, he did medical residencies in Clinical Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center and The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, followed by a Fellowship in Child Psychiatry at The Mount Sinai Hospital.

   In New York City the psychiatrist, now 57, managed to establish his professional career. The most difficult obstacle that he needed to overcome was the level of expectation. One interview was not enough for him to get the job. People judged his personality, creativity and experience, not just his knowledge in the field. Ivanov also mentioned that he learned an important life lesson: If a person is persistent and patient they will be able to achieve their goals. 

  Among the awards the doctor has received is the 2016 Annual Award for Outstanding Mentor, given by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). He received the award for hosting a student named Kristen Kim and helping her with medical university. Ivanov still keeps in touch with his student.

  Ivanov and his friends founded the jazz band, “The Shrinks,” at university in 2000. They started playing on the campus and people really enjoyed their shows. The band consists of bass guitar played by Ivanov, drums and saxophone. Ivanov says that they had trouble coming up with a name, but the audience had already chosen one for them — “The Shrinks” — since they were all psychiatrists. (Note: In English ‘shrink’ is slang for ‘psychiatrist.’)

  Ivanov has also had several art exhibitions, including “The Forrest of Grimm,” “Turning the Corner,” “Cross Narratives and Other Stories II” and participated in invitational shows. The psychiatrist says that his favorite exhibition is always the last one in which he participated. This year, that was during the COVID pandemic in the yard of a mid-19th century church when he was invited to take part in the exhibition for the 13th year by the priest. Despite the obstacles they had to overcome due to Covid-19 safety measures, the event was a memorable one.

  The doctor manages to find time for all of his passions thanks to his philosophy: “If you like something, you always find a way.” It takes a long time to be able to do things quickly and to get used to an unusual schedule. Most of the preparations are mental, he says. Ivanov suggests that everybody should try writing a personal reflection or journal.  In order to succeed, you first have to try as many things as you like. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm,” he says, quoting the famous wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

 AEG “Geo Milev” has had a significant impact on the psychiatrist’s life. He says that for him the most special thing about high school has been keeping up with the people he knows, despite parting ways after graduation. The re-connections with close friends are always special. Ivanov mentioned that he had recently reunited with a friend in Sozopol, and they both had a lot to share, appreciating the time they had spent together. Thanks to the school, the doctor also felt confident in his speaking skills when he moved to the USA. 

 The psychiatrist wishes every student currently studying at AEG “Geo Milev” to not be afraid to try out things and embrace the new. We are lucky that the world is open for us to adapt and explore. Traveling a lot is the best way to obtain experience, he said.

Interview: Principal Jacqueline Neycheva

Our director’s take on the student-organized Debates event

By Preslava Stoyanova (10th)

Nov. 6, 2020

   On Oct. 21, 2020, thanks to members of the school’s debate team, BEST, an exciting event took place. Everybody willing to participate in the discussions went outside during the 5th class to take part in the show, while others just watched and enjoyed the topics.

Students gather outside for a debate event on Oct. 21. (PHOTO: Kaloqn Kolarov)

One of the most significant guests at the event was the school’s headmistress, Mrs. Neycheva, and in this article we will be reviewing her take on the unusual school debate.

   The headmistress was proud of the students’ enthusiasm and she really enjoyed the debates. It was the first event organized by students, including Varsity debaters Malena Malcheva, Jasen Jekov and Denis Drachev, and the headmistress hopes that we will get to see similar affairs in the future, with even more people getting involved. A lot of students from all grades were interested in the debate. All of the audience participated, and some of them even watched the event from their classrooms. 

Students join in with questions and comments (PHOTO: Kaloqn Kolarov)

  Each part of the debate was very educational, and all of the questions were intriguing. Students were free to express their own opinions and share their thoughts on topics concerning modern problems, such as Bulgarian hospitals, healthcare, and Bulgarian infrastructure. The students’ demonstration of their language-speaking skills was fluent, and they also managed to display a very rich vocabulary. 

   Neycheva believes that every student should try debating because that’s the proper way to teach communication skills and good manners. The regulations for this event showed that the debating skills of our students will soon be recognized, and their hard work will pay off. Thanks to their willingness to express their opinions, the AEG Geo Milev’s reputation will rise, she believes.

The next Eastern Regional tournament of the national BEST Foundation will be held at our school for the second year in a row, on the 21st/22nd of November. That’s in recognition of the debate team’s hard work and high achievements. Most certainly such an event — in addition to debate, there are competitions in poetry, prose, duo and oratory — will attract an audience, and that too will be a good advertisement for the school. 

[Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19, the tournament will now take place online, but BEST Foundation officials will still visit Geo Milev for the weekend, and our students — one varsity debate team and three novice debate teams — will be able to participate on site.]

  In the past, when Neycheva was a student in this school, a lot of musicals were organized by students, as well as plays, and they were all met with huge appreciation and recognition. Sadly, as years passed, they became rare, she added.

She sees this recent student-run public discussion as the start of an awakening process to get more and more people engaged in school life. That’s the right way to continue, Neycheva said, because students should propose and organize all the extra activities in school. 

  Motivation is something that comes from the inside, and any efforts by administrators to try to motivate the students would be seen as forced. If teachers tried organizing a similar event, making students participate, the results would have never been as good. Without being too obsessed by the activities of the school, each student can devote some of his/or her free time to donate energy and ideas, as well as creativity to our school. That will get people engaged in the right way of image-making, she said.

  Mrs. Neycheva felt very happy that day because the public discussion and forum was the first student-organized event in the last few years. It’s not the teachers, nor the principals, it’s not the deputies, it’s the students that represent the school, she said. This representation is on display in the shops, on public transportation, and on the streets — the youths’ behavior determines the school’s reputation and how society sees it. 

EDITORIAL: The boys’ locker room — a problem with a solution?

Oct. 28, 2020

Members of the newspaper’s editorial board are Denis Drachev, Ivo Radev, Victoria Manoleva, Alexander Ivanov, and Prue Salasky. The following opinion is a consensus that expresses the newspaper’s institutional view.

       As we all know, a locker room is a must-have for every school for several reasons, including P.E. classes and basic hygiene.

Our school ELS “Geo Milev” has moved from its old building, which it shared with the German Language School, to a new one in Zhk Izgrev, where it is the sole occupant. The new building is not perfectly furnished to suit every student’s basic needs, but the administration is working towards improving it. Most classrooms have already been renovated but many of them are far from done.

However, there is a major problem regarding the school’s locker rooms. The P.E. gymnasium is old and the boys’ locker room doesn’t have a DOOR. Yes, a door, a basic piece of furniture. To quote a student who has encountered this problem, “The entire thing has the atmosphere of a Soviet nuclear bomb shelter.” Most students are guessing that the gym hasn’t been renovated since the Soviet times in Bulgaria because it sure looks like this.

It was also pointed out that there is not enough space for three classes to change and use the gym, and that the toilets are non-existent. Students often change in the classrooms, which can be uncomfortable when boys and girls are together and even the 5/5 solution — boys change clothes for 5 minutes and girls for the other 5 minutes of the 10-minute break — hasn’t been working well. Many students can’t change inside 5 minutes and they also feel weird about changing in their classrooms. Others go to the bathrooms which causes a problem for those using them for their intended purpose. And as we all know, cleanliness is also an issue, especially during these unprecedented COVID-19 times.

Importantly, the administration of “Geo Milev” is aware of the problem but is currently dealing with other priorities. Of course, having a door in a locker room visited by students is a priority and the problems resulting from not having one have proved its importance.

Our Editorial Board has reviewed this issue and we think that it’s a problem that can be easily solved. Having a positive environment for learning and good health is crucial and also fundamental for every student in the school. Poor premises can lead to negativity, cynicism and poor attitudes – and even poor health. Having the problems shown in this article in mind, a door will be a solution to all those problems, right? It is low-cost — most doors cost around 150 lv. — and an effective solution to the problem. Having a door will allow the male students to change their clothes at the place intended for this purpose, which will resolve the problems with changing in the classroom. There are a lot of other things that need to be done but for now a door will save the day! And what better time to install it than when the school is under quarantine and students are absent for the next two weeks?

!!Halloween Scream!!


2020 2020 2020 2020


Submit your photo/s to PRUSAL@AOL.COM and a WINNER will be announced Sooooooon! All the best ones will be published!

Here are my photos from a stroll around my neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A. today. Whoooooo!

Jack o’ lanterns ready for illumination
A strange-looking doll, a green tree, and some fungi!
A crazy man finds his scream
All sorts of creatures emerge from the ground
This looks like a house of treats
Jaunty and bright – love the cat flag
Somebody got hung out to dry
This didn’t take much effort to provide a spooky look
OK — but look out for the guy in the corner of the porch

This house has it all — a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, popcorn stand, every entertainment you need to make the fear creep in – in a fun way!!

Covid Quarantine

Two students have a positive outlook

By Berrin Yesil (12th)

Oct. 20, 2020

  Current statistics from the Ministerial Council for Health show that the total number of coronavirus cases in Bulgaria is 36,519. Of these, 18,120 people have recovered and 1,077 have died. 

   Specifically for Burgas,  the overall cases are 1,508 with no breakdown for the number of recoveries or deaths.

  Unfortunately, RUO ( Regional Department of Education) informs us of more classes at schools going into quarantine because there are students –and even teachers — with positive results on coronavirus tests. At the English Language High School one additional class (from 11th grade) is now under quarantine for 14 days. That is why I decided to interview online through chat two people who are under this quarantine. 

  Firstly, I interviewed Nikolay Qnev. He said his class was under quarantine because his classmate was sick, but he didn’t give the name of the ill student. After that he explained that though it’s difficult being quarantined, it wasn’t a bad thing provided that by doing so they saved their loved ones from infection and also allowed the student’s condition to stabilize. For Qnev, the tough part of being under quarantine is staying in one small room so that he misses his loved ones even though he shares a home with them. He admits that Covid-19 exists but wonders why people would think that the virus would be more dangerous if a person has concomitant diseases and problems.

  Later, I interviewed Mila Kuneva. She believes that there isn’t so much Covid-19 as there is seasonal flu, which she has caught too. She admitted that she is doing great with the quarantine because she loves being stuck in her room where she can manage to both study and do her hobbies. She talked about the interesting rules during quarantine. For example, her family maintains social distancing and a person must not be in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes. One of her favourites is, “You cannot make coffee unless someone in our family feels bad for you and delivers you one, with mask and glasses.” They have  tried to keep it entertaining, because she thinks that  during a crisis like this you have to keep positive and look on the bright side of things.

The students’ parents have the same message, believing that no matter the hard circumstances, they have to take a positive view. They are pleased that their children are keeping safe, but they miss being able to interact with them freely.

   Also, Kuneva looks at the larger picture and has a message for everyone! She tells us she is worried about the currency dropping, an economic crisis, and unemployment percentages going up. She worries also about how it has been hard for many people, and it seems like the economic footprint from the Covid crisis is still here, and even deepening. We had already been through a lot for one year with major forest fires annihilating millions of animals and trees, shortly after that we had this virus outbreak, and then we had the huge protest for black people’s rights. It has been one of the most insane years, she says, but if we’ve managed to survive up until now, we can do so even further. We must fight and survive, even if we weren’t ready for it. We have to stay positive and ready to save ourselves and our family when the economic crisis hits Europe!



By Preslava Stoyanova (10th)

One of the most popular hobbies among girls is dancing. It is a way to relax, to release negative energy replacing it with positivity, and most importantly — to have fun!

However, dancing is impossible without choreography. That’s why today we put the spotlight on Stela Mihova from 11th grade. She’s a choreographer, designing steps and movements for dancers, and an excellent dancer herself.

Stela Mihova (photo by Kaloyan Georgiev Kolarov)

      Stela was first introduced to dancing when she was 4 years old, but only realized it was her passion in the 8th grade. Attending practices from an early age has had an impact on her skills now. The young dancer tried several styles and some proved challenging in the beginning. ‘Break’ was the trickiest style for her to learn, as well as the most engaging.

However, even the most difficult challenges can be overcome with passion, and she has managed to master them. 

   After mastering many styles, the girl started coming up with choreography ideas. Now, she feels the beat of the music and immediately thinks of dance moves that could go along with it. Stela is even writing a choreography for the school cheerleaders this year.

She and her mentor, Helen Fuego, have been leading the Zumba club for the past two years, and a lot of students have taken an interest in it.

Dances are a great way of meeting new people and making new friends with similar interests. Stela spends most of her time listening to music and practicing dance moves. That’s her way of escaping reality.

   A lot of people find dancing exhausting and hard. This enthusiastic dancer’s advice to them is to be patient and kind to themselves. Every passion requires time and dedication. Dancing is a good way to express yourself. Once you’ve reached the point where you don’t feel exhaustion, even after whirling for hours, she says, you will have achieved self-satisfaction!

Planning on university?

3 viewpoints

Preparing (early) for University

By Preslava Stoyanova (10th)

 In Elementary school students, especially those in 7th grade, often get asked about the high school they want to attend. Some of them make their choice earlier, others make up their minds later, but all of them eventually go to a school suited to their capabilities.

 When applying to high school, most students won’t have found their field yet. Once in high school we are expected to acquire the knowledge required for the national exams, and then to apply to university.

  Time flies and in 10th grade, the sweet middle of your high school years, you need to know what you desire, so you can start your preparations. It’s a tough decision – there are so many choices! Most 10th graders have already decided which subject they want to focus on.

In order to find success in preparing for university, it’s a wise idea to get in touch with a teacher or even a professional in your chosen field. If you want to become an IT specialist, you can contact Bojidar Bojkov for advice; he can help you improve your coding skills. If becoming a doctor is what you’re aiming for, then talk to your personal doctor. They have the experience and can make you aware of the path that awaits you. All it takes is to show a little bit of interest and curiosity.

There are a lot of extracurricular activities you can sign up for. For example, my goal is to become a journalist, so I decided to join the Newspaper club last year, and my writing skills have improved significantly since then. If art is your passion, but you are not sure where to start, give the Art club a try. There are a lot of clubs and other activities that are definitely worth the effort. It’s a free experience for just a few extra hours in your week. By getting involved in after-school activities you also make new friends with similar interests, and later in life you are going to have a greater chance of getting hired, because employers are more likely to hire creative young people with experience.

The best way to get ready for university is to attend extracurricular activities, talk to professionals in the field you are interested in, and of course, prioritize the subject you are good at. It takes a lot of courage to do so but the results are worth it. So, fellow 10th graders, overcome the laziness and shyness and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!

What to do after graduation? Persevere!

By Julia Ivanova (12th)

                If you are reading this, you are probably about to graduate very soon, so congratulations!! (I think). From now on you are an adult and you will have to make big decisions for yourself, which can and probably will be important for your future. The biggest life choice you have to make is also the first one – what you should do when you graduate.

                The way I see it, there are three options: The first one is to study in your hometown or somewhere near it; the second one is to study abroad; and the third one is to basically do nothing.

I’m not saying that if you don’t go to college or university, you won’t have a good life but let’s face it – if you don’t have friends and connections, you have a very low chance of becoming successful or rich. That is because our society doesn’t give a chance to young, smart people who are on their own. So, if you decide not to study after you graduate, you will probably — hopefully — get a decent job but you won’t have a chance of being wealthy.

                In Bulgaria, if you don’t continue to study, you become “a lost cause,” or people say that you have wasted your potential — basically, they get in your business. Nowadays, it’s fashionable to go study and/or live abroad, because people say life in Bulgaria lacks opportunities. In my opinion, this is kind of true – the education here is on a higher level but it’s not accredited in the same way as in every other country.

There aren’t many jobs in Bulgaria and not many opportunities to realize yourself compared to the U.S. or Germany, for instance. The only good thing about our country is all the nature and the low prices, but when you think about it, the salaries are so low you can’t afford to take care of yourself or buy a home or even go on a short trip.

                Now if you decide to study in your hometown or near it, you will have help from your family in most cases, since you will either be able to live with them or, at least, you will be able to visit them often and be with them. It’s also a better option since it is easier to get into a university if you’re a local student; and if you’re from a small or not very popular city, there won’t be much competition.

                Your last option is to go abroad. That’s probably the most popular one because it gives the greatest chance for you to become successful and get yourself a nice job or maybe travel the world. I know I would have chosen this one. Well, actually I did, but as it turns out, the UK has decided to stop/cancel student loans for European students and now I can’t pay for my tuition. I was very sad about that, but I have not given up my hopes!

I made a plan for myself: Step 1 – try paying for my tuition here in Bulgaria; step 2 – study my Bachelors here, then make enough money and go to London!! I’m still on step 1 though and we will see how this goes.

                To conclude, you can choose what to do after you graduate and whatever you choose it is 100% likely to be wrong. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions and just do what you wish because there is no right or wrong choice.

You will end up where you are supposed to be sooner or later, just don’t give up!

Universities in Turkey

By Berrin Yesil (12th)

Probably, you never expected to read such detailed information about university education in Turkey.

 Let me start with the explanation that Turkey is a big country and a really helpful and warmhearted nation! So, for foreign students it is easy to adapt quickly to its interesting lifestyle with a different culture and traditions. According to the consulting firm, ATA Kurumsal, , this is one the of the reasons Turkey is one of the countries most often chosen by foreign students! Moreover, Turkish people are so kind and hospitable that even students from Indonesia and Malaysia come to study there! Also, because  Turkey and South  Korea have “favored nation” status, Asian people from Korea, China and Japan have advantages in obtaining an education there.

Other reasons foreign students choose Turkey are that the history of the Ottoman empire is well known, and the government pays really serious attention to education, which reaches a world-class level; for example, its medical education is highly regarded.

   According to ATA Kurumsal, foreign students can apply to universities for a bachelors degree by providing a secondary education diploma and a transcript showing the high school grades. Next, the required score must be obtained from internationally recognized exams such as the GCE, ACT, SAT, or the Foreign Student Exam (YÖS). Another fact about Turkey is that students learn American English there, which is why it is often required to apply with the SAT.

  What is the Foreign Student Exam (YÖS)? This is a special examination for foreign students that measures distinct qualities. It consists of two stages: Students have to  first pass a test called “Basic Learning Skills Test, which measures the abstract thinking levels of the candidates; there are explanations in English as well as Turkish questions in order to avoid the language barrier. In the other stage, there is a “Turkish Test” based on the power of understanding, comprehending and interpreting expressions written in Turkish. Both tests are used for university entrance, but some universities may rely on the basic learning skills test, while others may rely on the score of the Turkish test.

      According to  the most prestigious of the world-class universities in Ankara are ÖTDÜ, Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi, Ankara Müzik ve Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi ( Music and Arts University), and Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi. The best universities in Istanbul are Galatasaray Üniversitesi, İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Marmara Üniversitesi, and Acıbadem Mehmet Ali Aydınlar Üniversitesi.

  Finally, for these who want to live and work in Turkey there are many  jobs for foreign students including in the Technology Sector and Information Systems, Natural Resources and Energy, the Automotive industry, Textile sector, Defense Technologies, Logistics Sector and Medicine. Foreign students have multiple opportunities for success in both education and careers in Turkey.



Welcome back!

Dear Readers,

The ELS Newspaper is back for its second year at Geo Milev! Thanks for reading our variety of news, opinion, and features.

Last year we also sponsored 3 events: a Halloween celebration, a Nikulden art contest, and a club fair that showcased many of the school’s extracurricular activities. Look for more exciting happenings this year!

We want to hear from you. Use the link below to contact us and suggest story ideas. Let us know what you’re interested in! Help to make Geo Milev an even better school and community.

Julia Ivanova created this poster.

Covid-19 has delayed the arrival of the next Fulbright ETA, Kadia King, until January. She has lots of newspaper expertise and ideas and will help me remotely until then. Thanks for reading! Prue Salasky, Editor. (Fulbright ETA 2019-2020)

Find us on Facebook at ELS Newspaper and on Instagram at elsnewspaper_burgas

A call for unity

Opinion piece by Alexandra Sarieva (9th)

The protests in Bulgaria, caused by … wait a minute. Actually the reasons why each person participates in them are different, but they are all fighting against one thing — the government.

Some of the people are there to support the БСП [Bulgarian Socialist Party]– they have found an opportunity and joined the protest as that will help them take down ГЕРБ [GERB], whom they oppose.

Others claim that they are totally against the government as it “wasn’t controlling the others or supervising them to see whether they were wearing masks.” Well, I could have agreed with this statement, and taken it seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact that people who were chanting that weren’t wearing their own masks.

The protest is not uniting us — actually it’s quite the contrary — it has disunited us, because after the protests, even if the people there seem to be united, they will fight against each other as the result won’t be what the other half of them wanted it to be.

We can say that particularly the COVID-19 tension is one of the reasons as it makes people anxious and very angry. So, I neither support the protestors, nor do I say that I am against them, but the only thing that I fight for is for us to be united for real.

Study abroad

By Berrin Yesil (12th)

Many students studying at the English Language High School want to go to universities in Europe after graduation. While they’re confidently preparing for the upcoming change in their lives, a part of them is still worried about the process involved. That’s why I decided to prepare some  information about universities in a couple of popular countries — the Netherlands and Scotland — by interviewing two students who finished this high school and are now studying abroad.

  First of all I interviewed Ivo-Emanuel Polinchev. He’s currently studying psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands because, he says, he’s interested in how the mind works and how he can help others with their own psychological challenges. Asked about what he likes and dislikes about the system there, he answered that he likes how certain issues there seemed to be dealt with faster and there was more help provided if someone has difficulties managing all they have to do; but, he didn’t like that the information was presented in quite a confusing manner even if he believes that this was different for every institute.

  Ivo advised those who want to study in the Netherlands to keep in mind that every university has some unique rules, different from the best known ones. He added that even though the universities don’t differ too much from each other, it’s useful to know the differences.

  Then, he started talking about his study program. His bachelors was 3 years long and there were optional masters programs typically lasting for 1 year. The cost was 2050€ per year for the last two years of the bachelors and for the first year the price was halved.

 When asked if he would return to Bulgaria after university, he answered that he had been thinking about returning after finishing his master’s degree. He potentially has two work places (with some online options of course) – one in Bulgaria and one in the Netherlands. His first specialized job would most likely be in a public workplace, such as a school. He has also considered doing a second degree but hasn’t finalized his decision yet. 

  Finally, he talked about the benefits. According to him, the benefits of the program were that it opens a lot of options when completed and even while doing it. There were also multiple honors programs. The cons were mostly that if the person wants to be financially independent, at first they have to work 56 hours per month while studying in order to receive the full loan from the government. Without work, only the university loan was provided at no cost.

  The other former Geo Milev student I interviewed was Greta Gospodinova. She studies psychology at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. Unfortunately, she couldn’t give as much information, but she said that her perspective on her psychology program is that it’s better than in Bulgaria because the university is innovative and the students spend more time on surveys and projects than on theory. In the end she said that she’s going to work in Bulgaria after she finishes her bachelors program, which is for 4 years.