From Albania to Zimbabwe: Interview with Sofia Kadieva ’16


No matter where you are in the world, From Albania to Zimbabwe is the right place to find out about international happenings at Brown University! Hi, I’m Celina Stewart, a sophomore concentrating in International Relations here at Brown, and this is my space to give you updates and info about all things international at Brown, including international student life, international speakers, and different clubs and activities with an international focus. Read along and explore everything international at Brown! 

Hey everyone- this week we have another interview. To spice things up, I’m giving you a pop of personality from one of my friends (and dorm-mates), Sofia. Impeccably dressed and great with conversation, she can give you a great insight into her experience at Brown (as well as some international flair). Here goes- my questions are first (sorry for the wonky formatting, everyone) in blue.

Name: Sofia Kadieva 

Year: 2016

Concentration: Comparative Literature

Home Country: Bulgaria

  1. You aren’t exactly an “international student” in the way that most of the student’s I’ve interviewed have been. How long have you been living in the US? Did you attend school here before applying to Brown? 
    1. I was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and we moved to Brooklyn when I was four years old. I’ve been living in the US for over 15 years, been going to school throughout that time, and have dual citizenship.
    1. Why did you choose to Brown? 
      1. To be completely honest, I first heard about Brown while watching The O.C. when I was around eleven, so it was on my radar for a long time. My sister is two years older than I am so I had to go college touring when she went and one of the first schools we visited was Brown. It was not really a conscious decision, but I got this really good feeling, or vibe, just from the campus and I felt at home. I knew I liked this school, and I liked a few other schools too, but when doing my own college research during the application process I learned about the whole open curriculum and the opportunities and Brown and it just sounded absolutely perfect to me.
    1. What activities are you involved in on campus? How easy is it to get involved? 
      1. I am the Womenswear Editor for Brown’s fashion, art and culture magazine Unhemmed. I am on the general staff of and a student designer for Fashion@Brown, which holds events throughout the year and hosts an annual student fashion show at the end where students can exhibit their own creations, done in their own free time. I have also started to be involved in costume design for campus productions, which was also an incredible experience. Anyone can be a part of any of these things. For the magazine and for Fashion@Brown I found out about them during the Activities Fair. I was interested in costume design last year too but didn’t actively pursue it. It was because Fashion@Brown recommended me to a student director that I got involved with the theatre programs, and it’s been fantastic. If you actively seek out the club/activity you want to be a part of, you can get involved.
    1. As a student that has lived overseas, do you feel like you fit in with the international community at Brown? Do you want to be part of the international community? (Note: either way is fine, this is just for them to get perspective). 
      1. I know several international students, a few of which are Bulgarian, but in terms of the international community I don’t really fit in, but why would I? I don’t identify myself as American, I always say I am a Bulgarian with American citizenship. I wouldn’t expect to really be a part of the international community and I don’t have regrets about that.
    1. What are some things that you’ve found academically rewarding at Brown? 
      1. I am not one to talk in class, because I like time to think things over, but meeting with professors and talking to them about subjects is really rewarding in my opinion. I also get very brutally honest feedback on my papers, which is great, because I want to learn how to strongly express my argument.
    1. Can you think of any problems with the Brown community that might be of concern for a prospective international student? (i.e., language barriers, religious issues, tolerance). 
      1. As I’ve mentioned, I know a lot of international students and have never seen language barriers or religious issues be a problem. In fact, most people just ask many, many questions about the country and student comes from. But I am not actually international, so may not be the best authority on troubles they may face.
    1. Do you feel like Brown has helped you with your personal development? 
      1. It has, because when you go off to college you get to reinvent yourself and become the person you wanted to be instead of the one people remember you for. No one knew who I was so I got to re-introduce myself, and I know I’ve become more assertive. I was confident and assertive before Brown but having to prove my talents to new people made me more self-assured.
    1. Because you grew up overseas, did you ever consider moving away from your family in the US and attending school internationally? If so, why did you choose not to move? 
      1. No, because I am a fan of the American school system where it doesn’t quite matter what you study in school. I know at many international schools, and in Bulgaria, a person has to really know their set career path before university. I plan to run a fashion empire in the future, but I’m studying comparative literature because it fascinates me. Brown is a place where I can have these two completely different interests.
    1. How often do you return to Bulgaria? Do you ever get homesick for Bulgaria? If so, does it get easier as time goes by? Is there a Bulgarian community at Brown you spend time with? 
      1. I go back every summer, we used to go back for the full two months and stay with my grandparents, but now it’s always a two-week minimum vacation. I don’t get very homesick because I don’t really remember it, but I miss my grandparents. My parents call them every week, and while I don’t do that here, from time to time I call my grandparents, usually once a month. If it happens that I don’t go back to Bulgaria one year I will definitely feel a longing for it, I genuinely look forward to my yearly trip.
      2. There is a Bulgarian community at Brown, and I do have Bulgarian friends here that I know and talk to.
    1. Any other advice for students looking at Brown that might give them extra insight into what life at Brown is like? 
      1. Not really. Brown is great, there is something for everyone here. Every school says something to that affect, I know, but it’s definitely true at Brown.

Have  questions or comments? Feel free to email me at and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Or, if you’d rather, just comment on the blog! 


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