Study and find schools in Bulgaria
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Cities to study in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a sovereign parliamentary republic located in Southeastern Europe, with a total land area of nearly 43,000 square miles, making it the 14th largest country in Europe. Bordered to the north by Romania, to the west by Serbia and Macedonia, to the south by Greece and Turkey and to the east by the Black Sea, Bulgaria is a beautiful, yet rugged country, mostly due to its geographic proximity to the Balkan Peninsula. From the conclusion of World War II until the end of 1989, Bulgaria was a communist country and a satellite member of the Warsaw Pact, but since 1990 the country has been democratic, holding free elections and having a market-based economy. The capital and largest city in Bulgaria is Sofia (1.1 million), and the country’s strongest economic sectors are heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture.
Bulgaria has a population of nearly 7.5 million, most of whom are concentrated in the highly urbanized administrative centers of its 28 provinces. Since 1989, when the population peaked at 9 million, Bulgaria has experienced negative population growth and mass emigration, particularly by young adults due to the prolonged stagnation within the economy.
Ethnic Bulgarians account for nearly 85 percent of the total population, with minority groups of Turkish and Roma comprising 9 percent and 5 percent respectively. Bulgarian, the most ancient Slavic language which is characterized by grammatical oddities, is the native language for the majority of residents, and the only language with official status in the country. Orthodox Christianity is the preferred religion for nearly 80 percent of the Bulgarian population, with Islam (10%) Protestantism (1%) and Roman Catholicism (1%) well behind in terms of the number of adherents.
Being that Bulgaria is geographically at the crossroads of many ancient civilizations, the country boasts the third-largest number of uncovered archaeological sites in Europe, trailing only Greece and Italy. The culture in Bulgaria, including the folk music, art and dance, consists of a combination of medieval Eastern and modern Western traits that have slowly developed over time. Its cuisine is very similar to other eastern Balkan countries, with both Turkish and Greek influences. Foods such as yogurt, banista and kozunak are just some of the local favorites. The most popular sport among Bulgarians is football, although its athletes seem to fare better in world competitions in sports such as wrestling, boxing, weightlifting and gymnastics.
Education in Bulgaria
Education in Bulgaria is administered by the Ministry of Education and Science and is free and compulsory for children 7-16 years of age (6-year old children can enroll in school if their parents so desire). Education is divided between three distinct levels, primary or elementary education, secondary education and higher education, and is free at all state-owned schools through secondary school. Elementary schools in Bulgaria consist of grades 1-8 and feature a broad curriculum that includes mathematics, science, Bulgarian language, history, geography, art, music, and social studies. Students are awarded a Certificate for Primary Education and Certificate for Elementary Education after successful completion of the 4th and 8th grade respectively, with grades from the latter used as the admissions criteria for secondary school.
The majority of students in Bulgaria begin their secondary education after the conclusion of grade 8. Exceptional students, however, typically those who plan to study languages or mathematics, can apply for admission following 7th grade. At secondary schools there are eight main fields of study, including Bulgarian language and literature, foreign languages, mathematics, social sciences and civics, natural sciences and ecology, information technologies and music and art. Students must also take classes in physical education and sport during their initial two years. Prior to graduation students must sit for two exit exams, one covering the Bulgarian language and the other in a subject of their choice—usually the subject they plan to study at the university level.
Universities, Specialized Higher Schools and Colleges make up the higher education system in Bulgaria. Much like the rest of Europe, the universities in Bulgaria now offer education at three distinct levels: undergraduate, a 3-year program leading to a Bachelor Degree; graduate, an additional two years leading to a Master’s Degree; and post-graduate, 3-5 year programs leading to Doctoral degrees. Specialized Higher Schools have a similar structure, but tend to concentrate on only one or two degree fields, typically art, sport, defense or one of the physical sciences. Colleges, which can be independent or a branch of a university, tend to offer only undergraduate degrees.
Education at all levels is highly valued in Bulgaria and the country is renowned for having very tough educational standards. As of the last census, the adult literacy rate in Bulgaria was 99 percent.