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Meet Clerin Benny, a second-year medical student at Sofia Medical University who made two very big steps in his life – move to study abroad and transfer between universities. A year ago he decided to transfer from Pleven Medical University to Sofia Medical University – in the following you will learn more about his experience and why he thinks Sofia is „maybe even more“ than what he had expected!
How did you decide to study in Bulgaria in the first place?
I have always wanted to become a doctor. After completing 12th grade, I did not get a place to study in India because the exam was very hard and I only prepared for it by myself. So then I thought of studying outside India because of the wide range of opportunities in Europe out of which Bulgaria was more convincing so here I am.
How did you spend your first year at the University? Was it hard to get used to living in Bulgaria?
So during my first semester I had Cytology, Physics, Medical psychology and Chemistry which is not so hard if you prepare notes and attend lectures regularly. In second semester we have subjects like Biology, Biophysics, Latin and Bulgarian exams out of which Biology is the toughest one I think. You need good knowledge to get an excellent grade and also for Biophysics you need to have basic knowledge in Physics. At the begining it was hard – we struggled to adapt but after a few months we got used to the uni life.
Why did you decide to transfer from Pleven Medical University to Sofia Medical University?
Pleven is a small city and it is common that local people don’t really speak English very well. This made it harder for me to get around. I went to Sofia with my friends for a day and we spent the whole day there. This was when I heard about Sofia Medcial University – at that time it celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Also, Sofia has its own way of attraction – you can travel around the city and explore a lot; you have trams, metro, buses which makes transportation a lot easier; also, there are many shopping malls and international restaurants and fast-food chains like McDonalds and KFC. All these factors made me move to Sofia.
How is life in Sofia so far?
Living here in Sofia feels great even though the living expenses are much higher compared to Pleven. Sofia has totally met my expectations … maybe even more than what I had expected. I am so glad that I moved here!
Is it hard being a transfer student?
Actually, it takes like 2 – 3 weeks to get into the proper track. I started the semester a bit late so it took me a month to get into the flow like catch up with lessons that I have missed, etc. I just had to do Medical ethics and Sports exams – apart from these two subjects every other subject was recognized. Actually, my university group was the best part – they were so nice to me, they helped me with the lessons I missed in the first week and they showed me where all seminars take place, the lecture halls and nearby copy shops, the university library… I didn’t feel any difference in the way they treat me and the way they treat their other friends.
What would you advise students who consider transferring between universities to do?
If you don’t like the place, it is your life and it is your choice to decide where to study. The only thing you should keep in mind is that you should know what you are doing, so don’t be afraid to stick to what you love and move on.
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