Most of Bulgaria’s international students come from neighboring nations Turkey, Greece and Macedonia, with large numbers also coming from Nigeria, Germany, Italy, Israel, UK, Ghana, South Africa and India, amongst others. International students are likely to be attracted by the country’s well-developed higher education system, internationally recognized degrees, highly reasonable tuition fees and living costs, and the safe and friendly living environment.
There are 51 universities in Bulgaria, which are well-respected internationally. Academic institutions in Bulgaria offer various programs taught in English, French or German, which are popular among foreign students, and some universities also offer programs which are jointly accredited. English-taught courses are common at master’s level and becoming increasingly common for medical degrees. PhDs usually take three years to complete.
Higher education in Bulgaria follows the Bologna process, which ensures compatibility with the qualifications on offer across European universities. This means that higher education follows the usual stages of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Undergraduate degrees take four years to complete, while master’s programs take one or two years (or five years if you directly after graduating from high school).
Prices have certainly risen since Bulgaria became a member of the EU in 2007, but life in the country remains relatively cheap. All food, drink and forms of transport are surprisingly inexpensive compared with Western European countries, but imported luxury goods, such as international-brand fashion and cosmetics, cost much the same as anywhere else.
Living in Bulgaria is cheap, relatively hassle-free and immensely rewarding. If you local Bulgarian food and catch public buses, allow about 300 EUR per person per month. If you want to eat at higher-quality restaurants and charter occasional taxis, allow about 500 EUR per person per month. If you chose to study in the Bulgarian capital Sofia you need to set a slightly higher budget.
Almost all of Bulgarian universities offer dormitories accommodation. The monthly dormitories accommodation rent varies from 35 to 70 Euros per months.
However, more and more international students prefer comfort to rent or share a private flat near the University’s main building. The monthly private apartment rent start from 100 EUR and run up to 300 EUR.
Accommodation is most expensive in Sofia and other big cities, notably Plovdiv and Varna, although independent student may find nice accommodation in good price.
Citizens of other EU member, USA and Switzerland can study in Bulgaria visa-free. Citizens of other countries must apply for Bulgarian Student Visa (D-type Visa) valid from 3 to 6 months.
After the arrival in Bulgaria, the applicant with Bulgarian student visa must apply for a long-term stay (residency permit) in Bulgaria, valid for one year maxim and renewable every year for the whole period of the studies. Application for residency permit is only be submitted in Bulgaria after final registration at University.