Bulgaria a small but beautiful country located in the Balkan Peninsula, and full of attractions for both international students and tourists. If you would like to study on low tuition in Bulgaria, you’ll find a largely impressive range of natural environments: from warm, sandy beaches to strikingly tall mountains and ski resorts – and it’s also a relatively cheap tuition study abroad destination.
Discovered sometime 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 require 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).
A few 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 to deliver during the 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 30th September in the year before the program commences for English-taught courses, or 15 September for courses taught in Bulgarian. However, this may vary slightly from institution to institution
Visas to Study in Bulgaria
Please note that citizens from the EU do not require 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 be required to register with the police and present authentic proof of your student status. You’ll then receive a duly signed 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 the nearest Bulgarian embassy.
The documents you’ll require will depend to a large extent on your nationality, so for full details please connect with your Bulgarian embassy. However, the usual documents needed are as follows:
- Acceptance letter from a Bulgarian university
- Photocopy of your passport, which has to be valid for at least one year after your intended period of study ends
- A valid health insurance should accompany the application.
- Bank document showing that you’ve made the 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.
The very moment you arrive in Bulgaria, you must apply for a residency permit, which costs BGN 500 (~US$285), and is valid for one year, and 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 can apply for the Bulgarian tuition fee loan, and Bulgarian universities do offer generous scholarships to help locals and international students fund their programs
As indicated earlier, the cost of living in Bulgaria is cheap and affordable, when compared to other study abroad destinations. Your living costs, including accommodation, transport, food and other expenses, would likely amount to roughly US$7,200 per year (estimate based on the average monthly costs in euros here) – though you may decide to budget more depending on your lifestyle, spending habit, and the city you are living in. Please note that rent will typically be the biggest monthly expenditure – most students in this country live on campus but if you prefer to rent privately, this will cost say €100 a month (~US$110).
One of the main attractions of student life in Bulgaria is the affordable 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 popular study abroad country such as the UK, and accommodation and utilities around a third of those in the UK market (sometimes even less).If you did Bulgarians are very nice, but watch out for potential misunderstandings – they typically shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no, which understanably can be a little confusing at first!
Besides the cheap tuition fees and living costs, there are also 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 equally find plenty to explore in this country. One of the country’s oldest historical sites, the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, goes back to the 4th century BC. Additionally, 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, please take the next steps in applying to study in Bulgaria.