Home of Alexander the Great; conqueror of the ancient world and birthplace of Mother Theresa, Macedonia has an incredible history and also a bright future. With a major revamping of the capital city and the country’s developing economy there’s a lot to like about the future in Macedonia.
There are universities both new and old for foreign students to utilize and countless options for travel and other extra-curricular activities. The country is within easy striking distance of paradises on the Aegean and Adriatic seas, but Macedonia’s matchless beauty and wonderful east-meets-west culture might just keep you within her borders.
It’s much easier to find a study abroad placement in Macedonia if you’re already in the European university system (particularly ERASMUS), but it’s far from impossible to come from outside. There are few tailor-made study abroad courses, but numerous universities open to exchange and semester-abroad opportunities.
Macedonian students love a good café-bar. They’re a great place to hang out, discuss course-work, practice language and kick back with a coffee or a beer.
Classes in English and other foreign languages are commonplace; more so at the international universities. Macedonian and Albanian are the official languages of Macedonia and as such are often the languages of instruction. If you plan on studying in the local dialect you might want to brush up on your Cyrillic script!
It all depends on your budget and requirements. Most universities have on-campus residences, but a lot of students choose to rent a flat close to their university. Each university has a department to assist students to find suitable accommodation.
Skopje is the capital city and centre of study abroad opportunities in Macedonia. Located on the banks of the Vardar River the city is a melting pot of old and new world culture. In the city you’ll find the University American College Skopje and the International Balkan University – both of which have a history of welcoming foreign students. There’s a thriving student café culture in Skopje and the nightlife is awesome too; there is a collection of epic nightclubs which attract the best DJs on the planet.
Smaller than the capital city but infinitely more beautiful; Ohrid is located on the shores of the picturesque Lake Ohrid and within easy travelling distance of some of Macedonia’s best cultural and historical sites. Both Ohrid town and lake are UNESCO World Heritage listed. For tech students the University of Information Science and Technology is right in town, enthusiastic toward foreign students and offers classes delivered in the English language.
For European students there are plenty of grant and scholarship opportunities; check out the ERASMUS website.
The Macedonian Government is encouraging more international students to choose Macedonia as a study abroad destination and offers scholarships to fully or partially cover tuition fees. Here is a good place to start looking.
You can find a broad outline of costs for international students living in Macedonia here.
Visa regulations change frequently. Thankfully there are heaps of Macedonian embassies and consulates around the world, so it’s easy to contact one and find out the latest. A cover letter from your university or educational institution is required for a student visa. Student visas generally remain valid for as long as you are enrolled in your course. Make sure you apply well in advance as student visas cannot be issued from within Macedonia.
Social Life and Student Culture
If building your Macedonian vocabulary is tiring you out try the Kino Kultura theatre in Skopje for English Language movies.
Make sure your dancing shoes are in good condition, you’ll need them!
If shopping is your thing then you’ll find a great range of bazaars to explore all over the country. Parts of Macedonia are divided along cultural lines and while you might find that younger students are more accepting of their fellow Macedonians’ ways of life it’s still advisable to use caution when discussing divisive topics like politics and religion.
Contributed by Pat O’Shea
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