Not only for youngsters


Working abroad is an experience for Europeans of all ages – and is just a click away. Decho Simeonov Valchanov is a 39-year old mechanic originally from Razgrad, a city in northeastern Bulgaria. His story shows that finding work abroad, with the help of EURES, is not just of benefit for Europeans in their 20s and 30s, but is also a great opportunity for the ‘more mature’ among us.

In December 2007, having grown unhappy with his salary and eager for work experience abroad, Decho decided to seek help from the Bulgarian public employment service. Although he knew that his wealth of work experience was a significant advantage, he was a little unsure, fearing that his age and the fact that he only spoke Bulgarian might limit his choices. “To be honest, I just didn’t know what my options were, so I was sort of a blank slate for ideas,” says Decho. EURES to the rescue!

At the public employment service he was directed to speak to EURES Adviser Elitsa Shenkova, who spoke to him about potential opportunities, and helped him to think about which country might suit him. She soon came across the ideal match in the EURES vacancies database: Carrocerias Hnos. Rega, a Spanish company, were looking for a car mechanic in the small town of Alfoz in the Spanish region of Galicia. (Don’t forget that EURES website visitors can also search the vacancy database themselves, and that EURES Advisers near you will always be happy to help if you need help.)

Elitsa helped Decho put together a CV and motivation letter and sent them off to Spain – and he soon found out that he’d been successful. Decho had never left Bulgaria before and quickly started preparing for his new life. “I was really excited to be offered a job somewhere completely new,” says Decho, “especially as I could carry on working in a field I really enjoy”.

When he arrived in the small town of Alfoz, Decho’s employer couldn’t have been friendlier, providing him with a small apartment and handling all the legal paperwork necessary for him to live and work in Spain. At work, Decho also found that he adapted quickly and enjoyed the job. Although he initially spoke no Spanish, by interacting with his colleagues and speaking it on a daily basis, he soon started to pick up the new language.

Decho was very satisfied with the services EURES provided for him and insists that the whole experience has opened his mind to new possibilities. Although Decho had to leave Spain after only a couple of months due to family problems back in Bulgaria, he would have loved to stay longer. In fact, he has his heart set on a return to Spain sooner or later – and plans to head straight to EURES to help him again.

“I loved the fact that I never felt like an outsider in Spain,” says Decho. “I think that was a really important part of enjoying the experience so much. It really showed me that it’s never too late to try something new.”

Indeed, Decho’s story is evidence that, with a little help from EURES, people of all ages and backgrounds are able to work abroad for the first time in their lives. Perhaps it’s time for you to take the plunge?


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