My name is Chris Kostov and I am a dual Bulgarian and Canadian citizen. I was born in Varna, Bulgaria, but we immigrated to Canada where I finished my education. I earned my doctorate in history and Canadian studies from the University of Ottawa. As a kid, I was fascinated with historical books and my dream was to study history. I am passionate about traveling, and on my trips I enjoy taking photographs of the beautiful architecture and mingling with the locals. I try to follow the Dalai Lama’s advice to visit at least one new place every year. In fact, I don’t analyze or teach about countries that I haven’t been to yet, which encourages me to travel more. In my free time, I love reading and spending time with my wife and three children. Our daughter loves cooking with us, and our twin boys keep us busy at home—at least we never get bored!
History and travel: a story of combined passions
As a student, Chris worked a lot of different summer jobs. From selling ice cream and lemonade to working as a hotel receptionist and travel agent, he considers these roles to be part of his journey. While he was earning his doctorate, Chris taught history classes part-time, and also worked as a historical research consultant for the Canadian Federal Government. These side jobs quickly led him to his vocation—teaching. Motivated and eager to go to work every day as a part-time teacher, interacting with his curious students helped Chris realize that he wanted to pursue this as his future career.
Chris came to teach at IE University because of its reputation as a prestigious institution with innovative classes and unique students. He says the classroom environment drives him to be a better teacher after every session. Currently, he is teaching History of International Relations Up to 1945, History of International Relations Since 1945, and Modern Political and Economic History. This semester he is also, for the first time, teaching Propaganda, Fake News and the Manipulation of Public Opinion.
Even though Chris is the professor, he shared with us that he is constantly learning from his students. As they are all from diverse backgrounds, Chris enjoys talking to them about their countries, cultures, experiences and viewpoints on historical figures and events. He seeks to keep his students engaged and encourages them to discuss their personal observations, noting that he admires their negotiation skills and their opinions on recent historical events.
Chris explained that his main goal in his professional life is to leave something meaningful behind—he does this in the approach he uses in his classes. Believing that learning every historic event and date by heart isn’t the most important part, Chris pushes his students to develop critical and analytical thinking skills. These are skills he feels are crucial for any role his students will have in the future.
As for his personal life, Chris loves traveling, taking pictures, reading and spending time with his family. His house is full of books and maps, and his wife, six-year-old daughter and twin two-and-a-half-year-old sons help make sure he never feels bored. His passion for travel shows through in his classes, and his diverse students encourage him to visit new places and give him tips and ideas for his next trip.
Chris believes that the key to success is knowing what you want, setting goals and working until you achieve them. He goes on to say, “In short, never give up!”