A mecca of history where Turkish and Greek architecture unite, Bulgaria is home to a fascinatingly mixed heritage built on a dynamic history. Though Bulgaria remains a relatively undiscovered destination, high schoolers will find its Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences unique and appealing.
High school in Bulgaria is best for students who like history, a diverse culture, learning Bulgarian, less touristy destinations.
High school students have the opportunity to immerse themselves into Bulgarian culture by living with a host family in a rural town anywhere from two weeks to a full year. Exchange programs allow students to experience the language, traditions, and culture firsthand while attending a local high school and living with a Bulgarian household.
Visas are not required for EU citizens. For citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, a visa is not required for stays less than 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, you must apply for a student visa. You are responsible for applying for you own visa, but your program will typically provide assistance if needed.
You will be living with a host family during the length of your program. Be prepared to learn a few Bulgarian phrases beforehand, as not all families have a strong grasp of English.
Program costs range from $13,000-$14,000 USD, which includes airfare, 24-hour support, the cost of attending school, and room and board provided by the homestay.
Bulgaria itself is a fairly inexpensive place to live. Plan to budget around $40 a week for outings, personal expenses, and souvenirs.
In the summertime between June and August, temperatures are high (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) with hot days and warm evenings. Between October and March, temperatures drop rapidly. Be prepared for freezing temperatures and snow. Be sure to pack:
- A very good winter coat
- Scarves, hats, and gloves for the winter months
- Winter boots
- Lightweight clothing and shorts for the summer
- Good walking shoes
- A 230V/50hz power and voltage converter
No vaccinations are required to travel to Bulgaria, but vaccinations against typhoid may be recommended by your doctor. Tap water is typically safe and drinkable, but may have an odd taste. Bottled mineral water is readily available and a cheap alternative. Protect yourself against tick bites in rural areas by using bug sprays and wearing long-sleeved clothes.
Bulgaria is home to many stray dogs. For health concerns, it is best to stay away from any feral dogs on the street.
Take typical safety precautions when heading into Bulgaria's cities. Protests are not uncommon in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, though they are heavily controlled.