Last Updated on August 28, 2023
Bulgaria shares borders with Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey. Two mountain ranges and two great valleys mark the topography of Bulgaria. Bulgaria has an emerging market economy in the upper middle income range, where the private sector accounts for more than 80 per cent of GDP. From a largely agricultural country with a predominantly rural population in 1948, by the 1980s Bulgaria had transformed into an industrial economy with scientific and technological research at the top of its budgetary expenditure priorities.
Studying in Bulgaria provides international students with an opportunity to truly embrace this portion of the world. With a strong educational system and a welcoming atmosphere to those who travel to the country for education, many students from around the world can be found here, learning from the rich culture and history. The country, officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria, is located in the south eastern portion of Europe. Greece and Turkey sit to the south with the Black Sea stretching out on the east. It also borders Romania, Serbia, and Macedonia. The country is the 14th largest in Europe and is home to more than 7.3 million people.
Education is one of the foundations of life here. The country is known for its very early civilizations as well as its work in religion, metalworking, and cultural components of human development. Yet, within the 28 provinces here, you will also find a very modern lifestyle and one filled with plenty of opportunities for people from around the world. The capital of Sofia is also the country’s largest city and it offers virtually all modern amenities necessary for the traveling student.
Overall, living in Bulgaria is very affordable. In Sofia, most people live in lofts and homes, though students tend to live in dormitories here. Costs tend to be lower than most of the rest of Europe, though those living in more modern cities will pay more for doing so.
In terms of culture and the arts, Bulgaria has plenty of museums, art festivals, and musical performances. Individuals here tend to be religious and many are political. Nevertheless, the country as a whole is welcoming. English is even taught at many secondary schools now. Those students who wish to live in a vibrant community will find that living here can be ideal. The country has a vast natural beauty with plants and mountains on either side. Temperatures are moderate due to the Mediterranean Sea and climate. Yet, it can be very cold near the mountainous regions.
Study in Bulgaria
Education in Bulgaria
The Ministry of Education and Science is the overseeing body for education in the country. All children between ages seven and 16 are required to be enrolled in school. Education here is free in state-funded schools, though students will pay for higher education, universities, and colleges. Interestingly, Bulgaria teaches information technology, sciences, and mathematics to even the youngest of children. The country’s literacy rate is very high at 98.6 percent.
Though the country went through numerous periods in which its economy and overall infrastructure have been damaged where education was not a key component of life, today 42 institutions of higher education are in place in the country and more than 215,000 students are enrolled nationwide. About 5 percent of the country’s national budget is dedicated to education.
Higher Education in Bulgaria
The country offers three types of higher education. That includes universities, colleges, and specialized higher schools. Universities are similar to those found throughout the world, each of which offers three stages of education. This begins with the undergraduate degree of the Bachelor’s, progressing to a graduate degree of Masters, and then a doctoral degree. Students spend four years in undergraduate education and graduate education lasts for an additional year. The PhD degree can require longer courses of study depending on the type of focus.
Specialized schools offer a specific focus. The most common of these include defense, sports, the fine arts, and science. Finally, colleges are generally not as advanced as universities or as specialized as specialized schools.
The following are some of the largest universities in the country. Each of these schools allows for international study by students interested in doing so.
- Sofia University, located in Sofia
- University of Economics, located in Varna
- University of National and World Economics
- South West University, also known as Neofit Rilski
- Technical University of Sofia, located in Sofia
- Plovdiv University
- New Bulgarian University
Students enrolling as international students here will find that Bulgaria’s universities and colleges set their own terms for enrollment, including fees, fines, and tuition costs. Most schools here require students to pass specialized testing to qualify for entrance, though this may be waived based on the country of origin of the individual.
In terms of costs for education, these costs are higher for international students over locals. The universities here are available both as public and private schools, with private schools considered slightly higher educational opportunities and with higher costs. Tuition costs range widely, but it is likely that a student will pay between €2500 and €6000 for a semester of education here. Private universities may charge twice as much as this.
Travel Visas for Students
As a student, individuals will need to apply for a student visa in order to live in the country. However, this cannot be done until the student has been enrolled in one of the recognized schools here. The student also has to have financial support that will pay for his or her education in full as well as all living expenses while in the country. Proof of this is often required. The student also must be in good health in order to enroll in these schools. Fees are likely for obtaining the visa as well.
To obtain the visa, students can apply through a local embassy or consulate. Additionally, it is possible to request a letter of support from the Ministry of Education of Bulgaria for entrance requirements. The student can also apply directly to the immigration component of the country.
Why Study in Bulgaria?
This is a modern country, even though it is one of the older countries. The community as a whole is very interested in education and it has rebuilt its educational opportunities from the ground up after the Cold War. Aside from the rich culture and history here, there are opportunities for international students to work in the fields of health care, sciences, and research, though there is high competition for these positions from citizens as well. Nevertheless, there are numerous opportunities here, including the simple opportunity to enjoy the natural surroundings here.
Cost of Living
Below you can see some basic cost-of-living indicators in Bulgaria. Actual cost of living will vary depending on your choices and lifestyle.
Use the menu below to select the currency in which you would like the cost to be displayed.Change currency:
Basic monthly living cost
Rent in a shared flat291
Share of utilities62
Sample lifestyle cost
Pint of local beer3
Schools & Universities in BulgariaClick to make interactive