The 30-year-old car mechanic Kone Yaku arrived in Bulgaria from Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in 2012. He has applied for refugee status and has won two cases in Bulgarian courts, but after a rejection from the Supreme Court he is in limbo. After several months working at a call centre, he is now a model at the National Academy of Arts.

Why did you chose Bulgaria?

I chose it because it looked as if it can be the solution to the problems I had in my country. All my hopes are in Bulgaria now. I trust that things will turn out in the best possible way, I believe in my bonne chance here.

Have you experienced special treatment in Bulgaria because you are a foreigner?

I haven't had any big problems in Bulgaria. I love the Bulgarians, the friends I made here. People are very amicable with me, and eager to help. I made many friends here – the friends of my girlfriend, the students in the Academy.

Can you single out anything which is typical for Bulgarians?

Everywhere in the world there are good people and bad people. I don't like to generalise.

Did Bulgaria surprise you when you arrived?

Here I saw snow for the first time in my life. And the food. I love Banichka and Shopska salad.

Do you celebrate Bulgarian feasts?

Yes. I love wearing Martenitsa and tying them to trees. With my girlfriend, we coloured eggs for Easter, and went to church on Good Friday and on Easter.

Can you describe Bulgaria in three words?

For me, Bulgaria is a good country. And the people are good.

Do you plan to stay in Bulgaria?

Of course. If everything is good for me here, I will be happy to stay. I like the country, I feel good here.