As an exchange student in Bulgaria, you should be prepared to be special! We have a very small number of inbound students in our country, so Bulgarians are always very eager to meet the exchange students and find out more about them. Your first point of contact with Bulgarians will be your host family, who you will live with as if they were your own family. YFU Bulgaria carefully screens each host family and they are chosen based on your interests and characteristics from your application.
Many Bulgarians speak a second language, with the most common being Russian, English, German and French. You could be placed with a family who speak your native language, but our main priority is to find you a family who’s lifestyle fits with yours, and where you feel at home. Our host families come from all over the country and their languages, lifestyle and homes will all be very different from one another. No matter what kind of family you are placed with, they all have one thing in common: they want to share their culture with you, and learn about yours!
While living in Bulgaria, you’ll get the chance to experience the unique Bulgarian way of life. Here are some interesting things that you might not have known about the country:
- Bulgaria is one of only two countries in the world where people shake their heads for ‘yes’ and nod their heads for ‘no’
- Bulgarians invented yoghurt, and the yoghurt that comes from Bulgaria (кисело мляко) is famed for being the best yoghurt in the world
- Bulgarians get to celebrate their ‘name day’ as well as a birthday
The school year begins in mid-September and finishes at the end of June. Many schools in Bulgaria (especially in the capital, Sofia) often operates in ‘shifts’, which means students attend school from early morning to early afternoon for the first semester, and early afternoon to the evening for the next semester. Bulgaria has many specialized secondary schools that place an emphasis on a particular language, science and/or mathematics, sports, arts, etc.
In Bulgaria, students will often attend extracurricular activities after school, such as sports, music, language or art classes. We encourage you to find hobbies, it’s a great way to meet new people and make friends. You could always try doing something new while you’re in Bulgaria – such as Bulgarian folk dancing classes!
If you want to know more about the different place you might be living in during your time in Bulgaria, check out our destinations page. Don’t forget to check out our blog at yfubulgaria.blogspot.com for more from us!