Bistra Andreeva (’01): ‘Cherish your friendship with your AUBG peeps’

Bistra Andreeva (‘01), Journalism and Mass Communication major at AUBG, has had quite a career: She has experience working as an executive producer for some of Bulgaria’s most popular TV shows, as an editor-in-chief for an arts and culture magazine and as a freelance writer who has been published in a number of local and foreign publications. She is also a professional literary translator and a conference interpreter accredited to work at EU institutions. Bistra holds a Master of Arts degree in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management from the University of Arts in Belgrade and Lumiere University Lyon and a Master of Arts degree in Conference Interpreting from Sofia University.

Where do we find you at this moment?

At home in Sofia for two weeks, on a short break from my usual summer residence – a caravan on the beach at the Bulgarian seaside (where I work too, don’t get me wrong).

What was your first destination after AUBG? Describe your career path.

My first job was as a Production Assistant at SIA Advertising – the biggest TV production house at the time. Professor Nedyalko Delchev helped me get it as he put me in touch with an alum who was already working there as a director. I went on to be the Executive Producer of TV shows such as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, I would also travel to acquire entertainment formats. Fun times, but not something I wanted to do forever – after five years I quit and joined an arts and culture magazine (Edno) where I wrote and edited for another five years, worked on cultural events too. It was an amazing period but I needed a change again and I wanted to go after an actual craft which required expert skills – so I started translating books and learned to interpret professionally. Now I am a freelancer and my time is split between these two things. As an interpreter, I am accredited to work for the EU institutions so I get to travel often to Brussels and Strasbourg.

How have the years at AUBG prepared you for your career?

By teaching me to think, to research, to read. By giving me a non-Bulgarian perspective which helps think outside of the local box. By allowing me to try different things outside of the library – studying was one of the last things I did, it was all about the AURA radio, the More Honors, the student newspaper, the photography workshops, the theater plays; my JMC internship was at an advertising agency. More specifically – by keeping my English lean and current, it later proved to be my major asset.

What class has the most significant impact on you?

Probably History of Mass Communication and Rhetorical Criticism – both taught by the extraordinary professor Tony Osborne. I still remember the stories he was telling us (PT Barnum’s publicity stunt to put cigarettes in women’s hands) and the papers I genuinely enjoyed writing (one was an analysis of a Kurt Vonnegut speech). I also absolutely loved the Non-fiction and Poetry Writing classes of Prof. Annie Paradise – she was almost as young as us and so cool, she really opened my eyes to reading and writing.

Knowing what you know now, what would you want to tell your student self? If you could change something back what would it be?

I was very happy at AUBG – I don’t know if I would change anything. I would simply tell her (my student self): Don’t be scared if you don’t know what you want to do with your life – you’ll be working it out step by step and this will never end (at least until 40). Also: after you graduate cherish your friendship with your AUBG peeps, the world is big but they will prove to be more precious than you know.

What are the things that make you tick? What is your greatest passion or motivation at present?

Great writing, a little bit of art, a good laugh, good conversation, traveling, keeping fit and the sea make me feel alive. It absolutely thrills me when I translate a book I love that people discover and love as a result. I am also very prone to helping people – I love feeling useful.

Future projects and plans that you look forward to with anticipation?

I am very much looking forward to adding Spanish as a working language, this is my project for the next 3-4 years. Hopefully Italian will be next. I am excited about the new class of Conference Interpreting students at Sofia University where I teach. Of course, I probably won’t resist taking on some more great literary fiction to translate.

Article reprinted with permission.

Originally published on the AUBG Alumni Association website.

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