Tips for international students moving to study abroad in Bulgaria
Do you plan to study abroad in Bulgaria? We have prepared a university starter pack with a list of tips before you move to Bulgaria and start your studies at the university. This way you will be able to prepare for university life and living in Bulgaria. The tips are great for full-time international students at international universities in Bulgaria, incl. Sofia Medical University and Plovdiv Medical University, but also for exchange students who will spend only a semester or a year in Bulgaria. The article is based on video we have published, so if you prefer watching over reading, just check it out here! If you have not started your application for admission in Bulgaria, do not hesitate to contact our team for a free academic consultation!
1. Learn Bulgarian language!
We definitely advise you to learn the Bulgarian alphabet before moving to Bulgaria. For the convenience of our students, we even organize free online Bulgarian lessons, so that they learn and practice useful Bulgarian phrases! A lot of the signs in Bulgaria are written in Bulgarian language and locals will love you if you do your best to say „Zdraveyte“ (Hello), „Blagodarya“ (Thank you) or „Dovizhdane“ (Goodbye)! Of course, most young people in Bulgaria do speak English, so do not worry. In any case, if you decide to travel around Bulgaria, picking up Bulgarian skills is definitely a good idea.
Bonus tip: Watch our video about how to learn Bulgarian language!
2. Travel around Bulgaria!
There are many sightseeing places in Bulgaria, so do not stick to the city you live in and explore different interesting places like caves, waterfalls, traditional Bulgarian villages! Also, do not visit only the touristy places like the Seven Rila Lakes, Varna or Burgas – instead, make sure to visit other beautiful places in Bulgaria like Belogradchik rocks, Koprivshtitsa, Tryavna, Melnik, Devin, etc. Do take advantage of being a student abroad so travel as much as you can!
Bonus tip: On our Instagram and Facebook page we often share photos and videos from beautiful spots around Bulgaria, so make sure to follow our social media channels!
3. Have fun!
You can also have fun in the Bulgarian town where you are planning to live… and having fun is very important! It will help you avoid burn-out at university but also you will enjoy your time as a student abroad much more. You can sign up at a gym, find a new hobby, make new friends, check out student societies, explore different cool places like parks or outdoor activities. It is normal to be homesick when you are abroad, but make sure to focus on the positive aspects of your life in Bulgaria!
Bonus tip: Google Maps is very useful when it comes to finding new activities! Just google an activity you might find cool and the online map will show you relevant places near your apartment!
4. First-year at university means more free time!
Usually, you have much more free time in your first year at university in comparison to later on, when the study material is more complicated and you might even have more subjects or group projects. This means that in the first few years of your education you will have more time to do things you find interesting, travel more or even do something fun and fall in love in Bulgaria!
Bonus tip: Speak to other students – they might have some good tips for time management that will help you have more free time even later on!
5. Upper-year students will help you out!
Don’t be afraid to ask upper-year students for help – they have been through a lot and they have all books, notes and tips for better exam performance. Also, consider them as a resource for other useful information, such as where to go in your free time, what international restaurants offer tasty food and also how to overcome stress at university!
Bonus tip: Teachers are always there help out as well! Anytime you have questions – make sure to ask them too!
6. Impress your teachers!
Do not miss any lectures or practicals at the university! Take part in many activities at the university and show your teachers you appreciate their efforts! Some of the university exams may be oral, so it is important that your teachers know you and see that you are doing your best. Even if tasks at university are written, being one of the top students in the class will definitely give you bonus points during your studies!
Bonus tip: Always look for extra projects you can take part in – this will not only impress your teachers but maybe even help you apply for a scholarship later on!
7. Use free websites and apps for studying!
There are many free websites that have useful videos, articles, lectures, explanations and also there are many free YouTube tutorials. Hence: Don’t forget that you are not the only student who wants to study online and is looking for extra study materials. For instance, a lot of medical and dental students use Anatomy Zone, Kenhub, PubMed, Medical FlashNotes etc. There are also many apps to improve your time management but also limit the use of social media channels so that you focus on studying.
Bonus tip: Ask other students what apps they use, maybe you will find something good for you as well!
8. Extracurricular activities are important!
Take advantage of volunteering, do an internship, learn a new language! Being a student means having more time in comparison to when you start work after graduation. This means university time is the time when you have time to work on your CV and add some skills. This way your background will stand out and you can impress your future employer. In Bulgaria you will be able to find internships, courses and volunteering opportunities in English language, so don’t worry.
Bonus tip: Internships or part-time jobs during your studies can also help you earn some extra pocket money while you are in Bulgaria! A lot of international companies look for foreigners who speak different languages, so don’t be afraid to look for job opportunities!
9. Buying things in advance? Don’t worry about buying things before moving to Bulgaria. When it comes to books and study materials, during the first weeks of university your teachers will inform you what you need to get for your lectures and seminars. Once you start university, even if there is something you have to buy, you will definitely be able to get it in Bulgaria. This is also valid for any furniture, clothing, cutlery or any other things you might need during your stay in Bulgaria – we have many shops, so you do not need to bring too much luggage with you.
Bonus tip: There are a lot of local shops „hidden“ in the small streets of each city, so you do not need to go shopping in the big shopping malls or to the famous international shops. Local shops are much cheaper! Inter HECS students also take advantage of many discounts!
10. Make friends with people coming from different countries!
Yes, you should definitely mix with people who are not your nationality! At university, you will quickly meet all other students who come from your home country. Hence, it is a harder task to actually become friends with people who do not share your background. Usually, in the start of the academic year you will be divided into small university groups, so choose to work with people from other countries – it will help you improve your communication skills and make friends with people from abroad!
Bonus tip: Sign up for student societies for different cultures – you will be able to make friends from different countries and expand your horizons!
We upload weekly videos on our YouTube channel when it comes to moving to Bulgaria and life in Bulgaria. Make sure to subscribe and enjoy your stay in Bulgaria!
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