Often overshadowed by its Greek and Turkish neighbors, Bulgaria is rarely given credit for some of the amazing experiences it can bring to tourists and international interns alike. Its optimal location in the Mediterranean has contributed to its dynamically evolving culture that combines Slavic, Thracian, Roman, Ottoman, and Persian influences. If you did not previously think about traveling to Bulgaria for an internship, think again! Interning abroad in Bulgaria could be the best professional and personal learning experience you have as you learn what it truly means to immerse yourself in completely different country.Photo credit: akk_rus.
- Business: After Bulgaria joined the European Union, the foreign investment interest and the number of businesses in the country has steadily increased. More and more large multinational companies including VMware have established offices in Sofia, and are looking to expand. There are opportunities to either intern at an international corporation or work at a smaller local Bulgarian business. Either way, interning in Bulgaria is a great way to get more experience in the field of business and start your professional career.
- Museum/History: Bulgaria’s fascinating history is captured through art and exhibitions in various museums around the country. If you are interested in pursuing museum science, want to conduct your own historical research, or shadow a museum curator, go intern in Bulgaria! This is your chance to understand the inner workings of a museum and satisfy your curiosity and wonder for Bulgarian history.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
The best way to find an internship in Bulgaria is to apply through an internship program provider. These programs often have already established relationship with local Bulgarian companies, and can tailor an internship to your interests. Internships are usually available year-round, and last anywhere from 1 month to 1 year.
Cost of Living in Bulgaria
The cost of living in Bulgaria is about one third of the cost in the UK! Property rates are also known to be extremely low compared to the rest of Europe, and overall consumer goods are very affordable. Below are some examples of costs in Bulgaria; note that 1 Bulgarian Lev is approximately 0.66 U.S. dollars. For a more detailed breakdown of costs in Bulgaria, see NUMBEO.
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Center: 400 BGN
- 1 pair of jeans: 100 BGN
- 1 bottle of water: 8 BGN
- 1 way transportation ticket: 1 BGN
Work Culture in Bulgaria:
- Etiquette: The Bulgarian work culture is extremely relaxed, along with the overall pace of life, which is much slower than in the U.S. or any major city around the world. Bulgarians like to take their time to smell the flowers and highly value developing close relationships with family and friends. Because of the overall cultural emphasis on enjoying life, people do not like to be rushed, and business meetings and operations are rarely conducted on a cutthroat level.
- Language: The official language spoken in the country is Bulgarian. Part of the Slavic language family, Bulgarian is similar is certain aspects to Russian, Polish, and Czech. Most internships in Bulgaria will be conducted in Bulgarian, so be sure to brush up your language skills!
- Networking:A people well known for their hospitality, Bulgarians place huge emphasis on cultivating relationships with others. To build professional connections, people often stay after business meetings to chat or eat a meal. If you are looking for a structured network group, check out Enterprise Europe Network in Bulgaria and Expat Network Bulgaria.
Work and Labor Laws in Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s work and labor laws establish the appropriate working hours and occupational safety standards in Bulgaria. Only those with a permanent residence permit can be employed on the same terms as Bulgarian citizens; however, employers may also issue temporary work permits.