Diverse natural beauty, intriguing history, and a lively nightlife are some of the many descriptors that can be used for Bulgaria. From the Black Sea beaches to the mountain ranges to the glacial lakes, you’ll quickly discover how beautiful this country is, yet it’s among the lesser-traveled European countries. With a blend of ancient history with its caves, medieval fortresses, Roman bathhouses, and more, its fertile archaeological ruins will make you feel like you’ve walked back in time. Studying in Bulgaria will be a singular experience full of cutting-edge cultural experiences with delightful panoramic views.
Where to Study Abroad in Bulgaria
Located in the southeastern part of Europe, Bulgaria is surrounded by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and the Black Sea. Bulgaria is home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, including the Balkan Mountains and the Black Sea.
Sofia, the capital and largest city of Bulgaria, is located in the western region of the country. Located at the foot of Mount Vitosha, Sofia is a natural choice for students who want to spend their free time hiking, mountaineering, climbing, or skiing. Not to mention Sofia has been named Europe’s most affordable capital to visit! Marvel at the onion-domed St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, explore the National Archaeological Museum, and stroll along Vitosha Boulevard to shop until you drop.
Dobrich. You’ll find this city in the northeastern part of Bulgaria not far from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Mosey through the City Park St. George, visit the Museum of Military Cemetery, and ogle at paintings and sculptures at the Art Gallery of Dobrich. With plenty of camping spots, beach spots, and nature reserves, you’ll never run out of tranquil places to hit the books in between classes.
Gabrovo. Stretching more than 15 miles along the Yantra River, this city is the longest city in Bulgaria and is situated at the foot of the Balkan Mountains in the central region, so students can hike in the Central Balkan National Park and in the Bulgarka Nature Park — where you can also visit the monasteries and the Shipka Memorial. Gabrovo is internationally known as the center of humor and offers two theatres that serve as cultural hubs to popularize comic art.
Popular Subjects to Study in Bulgaria
You might not think it, but Bulgaria offers courses in everything from business to media to tourism. According to the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG), the curricula of universities in Bulgaria for international students are rigorous, so you’ll be getting the most out of your education there.
Archaeology. With artifacts and ruins from the ancient Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and proto-Bulgarian cultures, Bulgaria is a haven for archaeology and anthropology lovers. You’ll find programs that offer you the opportunity to learn more about Bulgaria’s culture and history by visiting these ancient civilizations.
Biology. For those that are interested in animal science, biology, ecology, and zoology, apply to study for a program here where you can visit the Central Balkan National Park. You’ll be able to learn more about endangered species, wildlife communities, and even Brown Bears in the Stara Planina Mountain. You’ll learn firsthand about studying their diets and migration patterns as well.
International Relations. Many programs offer you the opportunity to visit both Bulgaria and Romania to learn more about different global viewpoints. You’ll learn more about the history of these countries and how government and business is carried out with each other. Some of these programs are in French, so you’ll need to be proficient to take courses in the program.
Costs of Studying in Bulgaria
By European standards, Bulgaria is one of the most inexpensive countries to live in. You’ll find that food, transportation, and housing costs will not empty your wallet (too much).
Your biggest cost will be your program fee, which usually covers housing, food, in-country transportation, and tuition. The cost depends on the program and duration as well. Flights aren’t usually included, which can be pretty expensive. Scholarship awards can help cover the cost of these expenses — visiting GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory is a helpful resource. Your family and friends can also help you cover the costs through FundMyTravel.
Student Housing in Bulgaria
In nearly all cases, your program will arrange the housing for you, and the type of housing depends on the placement. You could be staying in dorms, apartments/flats, group housing, or with a host family.
Living on campus is a great way to meet other international and local students and to make lifelong friends. However, living with a host family is a stellar opportunity to immerse yourself in the country, taste traditional foods, and learn more about the Bulgarian language and customs. You could also be living off campus, and most apartments have inexpensive rents.
Bulgarian Visas for Students
To study abroad in Bulgaria, no matter your nationality, you’ll need to apply for a Type D long-term visa. The requirements for this include a passport, a passport photo, insurance, a letter of acceptance into the university, and a $150 fee. Most programs will assist with the visa application process, and you can view GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to locate the closest consulates near you.
Benefits & Challenges
Adventure. Bulgaria’s swift-flowing rivers, including the Struma and Iskar, are perfect for kayaking and whitewater rafting. For adrenaline junkies, there’s bungee jumping down into the Prohodna cave, hang-gliding over Vitosha or Sliven mountains, and paragliding in the heights over the town of Sopot. Hiking on the famous Balkan Mountain range is also spectacular indeed, with some of the world’s highest waterfalls, beautiful vegetation, and a plethora of wild animals in their natural element.
Language. While you’re studying in Bulgaria, you’ll quickly notice that Bulgarian is the official language of instruction in the schools. However, you can usually take courses in English, but some courses will be in French. Some universities in Bulgaria for international students offer courses to learn the Bulgarian language in addition to their regular courses, or you could also just take intensive language courses in Bulgarian to learn this Slavic language.
From the Sveshtari Thracian Royal Tomb to the Seven Rila Lakes, studying abroad in Bulgaria will please adrenaline junkies and history buffs alike. Hop to it!