Bulgaria a small but charming country located in the Balkan Peninsula, is full of attractions for both international students and tourists. If you want to study on low tuition in Bulgaria, you’ll indeed find an impressive range of natural environments: from warm, sandy beaches to strikingly tall mountains and ski resorts – and it’s also a relatively low-cost international study destination.
Founded in 681, Bulgaria notably is one of the oldest European countries. Its rich history has left behind many historical sites, and plenty of stories and perspectives to explore. Between 1946 and 1989 it might interest you to know that it was a single-party communist state, but since then has been governed as a democratic republic. In 2007, it became a member state of the European Union, making it even easier to travel to and around the country.
Applying to Universities in Bulgaria
You should apply directly to your chosen Bulgarian university. Most Bulgarian universities stipulate international applicants to provide copies of relevant documents, which would include a diploma or certificate proving successful completion of the previous stage of education, a medical certificate, a valid passport or ID, and an English language test result (if studying in English).
Some universities on the other hand may ask you to sit an exam to test your Bulgarian or English language skills (depending on the language you intend to study in).Note that If you fail this exam, you may have the option to enroll in a year-long preparatory course studying either Bulgarian or English.
The deadline for applying to universities in Bulgaria is around 30 September in the year before the course commences for English-taught courses, or 15 September for courses taught in Bulgarian. However, this may slightly vary from institution to institution
Visas to Study in Bulgaria
Please note that European Union citizens do not need a visa in order to study in Bulgaria. All that is required is a valid passport or ID and you’re good to go! However, if you’re staying longer than three months for your studies, you’ll need to register with the police and present proof of your student status. You’ll then receive a national identity card and temporary residence lasting up to five years.
If you come from a non-EU country, you will need to apply for a Bulgarian student visa (D-type), which you can apply for either online or in person at your nearest Bulgarian embassy.
The documents you’ll require will depend largely on your nationality, so for full details you should check with your Bulgarian embassy. However, the usual documents needed are:
- Acceptance letter from a Bulgarian university
- Photocopy of your passport, which should be valid for at least one year after your intended period of study ends
- Valid health insurance
- Bank document showing that you’ve paid the necessary upfront payment on tuition fees (typically half of an annual fee)
- A recent passport-sized color photograph, with a white background
- Photocopies of any previous visas you’ve had for travel to Bulgaria, the US or the UK, if applicable.
After you arrive in Bulgaria, you must apply for a residency permit, which costs BGN 500 (~US$285), is valid for one year, and is renewable every year during your studies. An application for a residency permit can only be submitted after you have fully enrolled at university.
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Fees and Funding
Tuition fees are relatively low in Bulgaria. StudyinBulgaria.com estimates average fees of €2,900-8,000, with medical degrees at the higher end of this spectrum. A one-year preparatory course in English or Bulgarian costs around €2,500 (~US$2780).
EU/EEA and Swiss students of all study levels are able to apply for the Bulgarian tuition fee loan, and Bulgarian universities generally offer scholarships to help international students fund their programs
As mentioned earlier, the cost of living in Bulgaria is cheap and affordable, especially in comparison to other study abroad destinations. Your living costs, including accommodation, transport, food and other expenses, would likely amount to about US$7,200 per year (estimate based on the average monthly costs in euros here) – though you may wish to budget more depending on your lifestyle, spending habits, and city. Rent will be your biggest monthly expenditure – most students live on campus but if you prefer to rent privately, this will cost at least €100 a month (~US$110).
One of the main attractions of student life in Bulgaria is the relatively low cost of living, including accommodation, student tuition fees, public transportation and food. Prices vary from town to town, but in general you can expect your expenses on meals to be around half what it would be in a country such as the UK, and accommodation and utilities around a third of those in the UK market (sometimes even less). Bulgarians are very nice, but watch out for potential misunderstandings – they usually shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no, which can be a little confusing at first!
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Crux of the Matter
Apart from the cheap tuition fees and living costs, there are also several other reasons to study in Bulgaria. Besides been a popular tourist destination, famous for its sandy beaches and coastal resorts, and also for its beautiful mountain ranges and snowsports. If you’re interested in history, you’ll also find plenty to explore. One of the country’s oldest historical sites, the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, dates back to the 4th century BC. In addition, some of the most famous treasures in the world were found at the Varna Necropolis burial site, including the world’s oldest golden ornaments. If you are interested in these and more, why not take the next steps in applying to study in Latvia.
For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2348125835476