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A father shares the story of how his son started university in Bulgaria
Seeing your child off to University is difficult for most parents. Seeing your child off to University in another country is even more so. My son, Ismail made a decision over a year ago to not apply for Dentistry in the UK. Although he’s a straight A student, the stiff competition put him off. Around 12% of those who apply to medicine in the UK get in and around 8% for dentistry. Ismail didn’t want to take that chance. Instead he applied for Optom in the UK and had places.
Both Ismail and I started researching the possibility of studying abroad. Google was the obvious place to start. We didn’t want to be just a number or a client but were looking for more of a personal touch. Someone suggested Inter HECS and as the saying goes – the rest is history.
A quick email to Dimitar, Manager International Students at Inter HECS Ltd., on a Sunday evening I think it was. Dimitar messaged back right away making himself available for any questions (and believe me there were loads). My main concerns were loans, accommodation, safety, validity of the degree, application process, offers and acceptance from the university itself. Here are the questions with the response from Dimitar and my opinion of this matter since.
Student loans in Bulgaria
Q: Are are they available?
A: Some universities allow student loans, but the acceptance rate is low.
My Opinion: Many agents are claiming loans are available. However, after speaking to a number of current students and the banks themselves, it does appear loans will not be available especially for those who are from the UK.
Accommodation in Bulgaria
Q: How will inter HECS arrange accommodation for the student?
A: They have links with a number of estate agents and will help with the process starting from around mid May by getting you in touch with real estate agents.
My Opinion: The whole process of accommodation and apartment hunting needs to be reviewed as during the early days.
Bulgarian universities: Validity of the degree
Q: Very concerned around this item. What advise can you offer?
A: I got directed to various websites including the GDC, and did some of my own research too. We were satisfied with the outcome.
Offers and acceptance from Bulgarian universities
Q: Will the University provide conditional or non-conditional offers like they do in the UK?
A: No, they won’t.
My Opinion: Well, not much can be done here. If the Uni won’t provide such a guarantee, agents won’t provide it either. It’s very worrying for A2 students, as they won’t know till early Sep if they have a place! However, my son has a place and so does all other who applied with Inter HECS. So Inter HECS guarantee is 100% genuine.
Now back to our journey in Bulgaria
So around Mid-June, I started to contact a number of estate agents myself too via the various pages on Facebook. Some would contact back; others would just ignore. Not sure if it’s because we were after a 3-bedroom apartment or the language barrier or just ignorance. After speaking to two established estate agents, we asked Inter HECS to be our liaison. Inter HECS visited the apartment on our behalf (from Sofia to Plovdiv) at their own cost. They didn’t have to, yet they did. Just shows how helpful they are.
That apartment didn’t pan out. We then found another one via Facebook and as we were visiting Plovdiv, we made arrangements with the agent to view the apartment.
We made plans to visit Plovdiv. Dimitar was awesome in planning this trip for us. The main purpose was to view this apartment but also the Uni and the town itself. Inter HECS also arranged for us to be collected from Sofia Airport (and dropped off too). Truly magnificent service. We were greeted at the hotel by Inter HECS staff, even though it was a Saturday. We were also accompanied to the apartment and helped with the language barrier.
Throughout the remaining months (June to Sep), Dimitar and his team have been there; whether via email or Facebook Messenger. Not only providing answers to me, but to the other hundreds too. We all become very close.
Come results day, we sent off the paperwork as instructed and Inter HECS acknowledged receipt. They then submitted to the Uni. It was now early September and time for my son to fly to Plovdiv. We had shared the travel details with Inter HECS. The boys were greeted at Sofia Airport by an Inter HECS driver and driven to their apartment.
Dimitar had already shared the plan for the week, so everyone knew what to do and when. Both Dimitar and his sister were there in person. The kids got their sim cards, bank accounts opened, Broadband but most importantly they got registered at the Uni.
I speak to my son regularly and he is still full of praises for Dimitar and his team. Inter HECS will not leave you at the gates like some of the other agents; Inter HECS will be there to support you throughout your studies.
THANK YOU DIMITAR & TEAM
31st October 2016
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