Snapshot of Sofia

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If you asked me just three months ago what I would be doing this summer, I would have never imagined I’d have the opportunity to intern in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. When I received my internship offer from Dronamics, a startup that develops unmanned cargo aircraft, I was a little bit hesitant to accept. I knew very little about Bulgaria; it was a country that I imagined was different from anything I had previously experienced, with a culture that was completely foreign to me as well.

Group photo of Dronamics employees and dog

Yiyao Xie (4th from left) with the rest of the Dronamics team.

My gut instinct was telling me to go with it, though, and now I am so thankful that I made this decision.

This is my first time in Europe, and it is the realization of a life-long dream; I’ve been wanting to go to Europe ever since I was a little girl in China. Bulgaria is very different from what I envisioned before my arrival. It may be because of the country’s previous experience with communism that I found a lot of similarities between Bulgaria and China, especially architecturally. From the outside, the apartment that I stay in here looks exactly like the apartment I lived in as a child.

The food here is, in my opinion, one of the biggest “selling points.” The portions are genuinely delicious, yet incredibly cheap. For example, at my work place, a very nice lunch (with bread, soup, dessert) will at most cost approximately $3. They are very healthy as well, as the salad here is usually freshly picked from the gardens. And people here are so friendly and nice to me, even if there are few other Asian faces around.

As an intern at Dronamics, I am mainly in charge of market research. However, given the flexibility of working for a startup, I found myself learning from the engineers in the company as well. I really appreciate how they share their knowledge about any subject with me, and I am so impressed by their humility. Overall, the experience offered at Dronamics has been amazing–coming all the way from across the ocean for this internship was completely worth it.

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About Author

Yiyao Xie '18

Yiyao Xie ’18 is a math and computer science double major from China. She worked over the summer as a marketing analytics intern for DRONAMICS in Sofia, Bulgaria, an internship acquired through the Davidson Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation program.

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