Raina was noticed while she was polishing her nails on one of the benches outside Polak, with her speaker on the table playing some jazzy beats.

Dreams and reality. ‘My decision to come study at EUR was very spontaneous. I sent my application literally one minute before the deadline. I love the programme I’m doing, but initially I wanted a career in music. I didn’t proceed with it, though, because my parents thought I’d end up jobless in the end. Well, I agree that having a back up, at least, is always good. Besides living in Bulgaria and Russia, I’ve also lived with my mum in France, so at first I wanted to study there. I applied for the IBA, but then realised that it wasn’t for me. I’m much more of an artistic person. I talked to my brother, who also came to the Netherlands 8 years ago, and after he encouraged me, I decided to give it a shot in Rotterdam. I really miss street musicians on the streets here, though.”

Dutch style. “I love the way Dutch people dress! There’s this hobo-style with a high appreciation of second-hand clothes. No one hides the fact that clothes have already been used. People here give clothes a second life. I also feel I can wear anything I want without being judged.”

Image credit: Anna Mazur


Outfit. “The denim jacket I’m wearing is from the second-hand shop on Meent in Rotterdam, the trousers are from a Bulgarian shop and the T-shirt is from H&M. I often dress in second-hand clothes, because they are so different than in regular shops. It’s like a time machine, so much fun. And you never know what clothes that look funny to you at first might look super stylish in a contemporary combination. Mixing styles is my thing. Sometimes it works and it’s a totally different new look. Sometimes I just look a little crazy. And, of course, it’s cheaper than in normal shops, so you can buy things more often.”

Music. “Yeah, I play piano but I don’t really enjoy it, so now I’m trying to learn how to play guitar. And I sing. I even think I might perform on the Open stage night next month with a friend, but we’ll see. The playlist I’m listening to now is hip-hop beats mixed with jazz on the 24/7 online radio. It’s great for studying, and it never stops, it’s amazing.”

Link to hip-hop radio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQBh9soLSkI&app=desktop