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American University in Bulgaria Reviews

21 reviews
We have lots of different nationalities on campus, but I don't think there are many religious people there.
You see people selling and doing drugs. No one caresas long as you don't cause problems.
Bulgarians are partying the whole time. Student organized parties are usually fun, because you can party around your friends. But you obviously don't want to party among local old guys especially if you are a female.
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Students like to get drunk. It's okay for college, but sometimes people party to much and you can see the consequences (vomit especially) on campus.
Everything depends on professors. The strongest courses are in Economics and Business, but there are still some decent classes in other majors.
The campus is full of people of different origins, however from the religious view it is not diverse.
There are quite a good number of internship/job opportunities that career center provide students with. Students here are mostly very intelligent people and know how to make their way to the good employer. Once a year our campus hosts big Job fair, but employers attending it mostly look for Bulgarian speakers or Business majors.
The variety of courses is very poor. You can find out anything about the certain courses and professors from fellow students. Most of the professors are of Bulgarian origin and some have a very hard to understand accent (not only Bulgarian). Everything always depends on the professor, so choosing a course with interesting name does not guarantee an interesting class.
I feel pretty safe on campus. The town is relatively small, so not many things happen there. I personally have never heard of sexual assault on campus. If assault happens, I am sure it is all because of alcohol since it is very accepted on campus. You can leave your belongings anywhere inside the dorms or other buildings, no one would care about it (except food and cigarettes :), but it is extremely unsafe to leave your stuff with an open window by on the ground floor, because of the Roma people sneaking around.
There three dorms on campus each of which is called Skaptopara. Skapto 1 is the oldest and biggest one and known for its noisy residents. The Skapto two is average, the rooms there are tiny. The Skapto 3 is the new building which reminds of good hotel. One can only get a room in Skapto 3 by invitation or being of higher standing (juniors and seniors). AUBG people in 1 and 2 Skaptos are pretty noisy and violate the quiet hour rules a lot. Skapto 3 people are more meture and calm, they study all day and all night long.
We have an American football team which competes only once or twice a year. Some people cheer for them, some people even do not know about their existence. We also have a lot of soccer clubs, which are popular among friends of the players. Usually the final game of the soccer season hosts the full sports hall and has a lot of attention even from people who are not quite into sports. Coming Fall 2016 semester, it is planned that the new outdoor sports facilities will be opened. It will give opportunity for students going in for different kinds of sports to train and enjoy the pleasant Bulgarian weather.
The school is very diverse, you can meet people of over 50 nationalities on campus. While the majority still come from Bulgaria, you can accidentally run into a person from a country you have never heard of and become best friends. The campus is small, but it perfectly meets all the student body needs. There are several clubs and all of them are very engaging and have a purpose of serving the community. Overall, the best thing about AUBG is the people there. Students, professors, staff - everyone is unique, diverse and fun to be friends with.
There are a few extremely challenging classes, but once you know how to write a good paper they aren't that hard. Most of the work comes from projects, papers, and out-of-class readings. Most professors will tell you what their teaching style is on the first day of class, and that's the most important thing to pay attention to.
People from all over Eurasia attend here, so there's plenty or ethnic and religious diversity. There are a handful of LGBT students, but they're accepted by pretty much everyone. However, there are significantly more Bulgarians than other nationalities, and when they get together they forget to speak in English. If you gently remind them you can't understand them, they'll go back to English again. Economically, most of the students are probably middle class, but there are some people who are really wealthy, too. Politics are widely discussed because of the diversity of backgrounds. some of my teachers will pause class to ask people from every country what their opinion is on the topic and why, and the answers are always different because of the history and culture that person was raised in.
In Bulgaria the drinking age is 18, so there is no "underage" drinking on campus. The school sponsors events with wine and beer, it's not a taboo to get drunk here. Drugs are illegal, but as long as you're not causing a scene people won't call you out on smoking weed. Prescription and study drugs aren't really a thing here, and our student body is a little too sane to get into cocaine or heroine, so you're safe there.
So Blagoevgrad in general is super safe. I'm comfortable walking around town at two in the morning alone with earphones in. There's very little violent crime here, and the instances of violence usually devolve from alcohol, not money or sex. However, non-violent crime is kinda rampant. For example people living on the ground floor or the dorm buildings are advised not to keep their windows open because certain locals will literally reach their hands in and take things off your desk. This is a daily occurrence, and there doesn't seem to be a solution in the works, even though the dorms get really hot during the fall and spring. The security cameras on campus are also spotty and generally don't work, so you can't rely on them when things do go wrong. There are security guards inside the buildings, but unless something happens in their direct view or someone comes for them they aren't very helpful, since they stay in one spot all night. In the end you're safe here, but your possessions are less so.
There are currently (2015) very few courses being offered compared to Western Universities. Most of the options are courses required for majors with a few sprinkles of electives, and they generally aren't designed to target specific areas. For example, they won't offer a course called "Media and Politics" or "Economics of International Hospitality Businesses" as you might see at other schools, but they will offer all the necessary courses you need to compete in the marketplace and an elective in theater or German languages. The professors are mostly good. There are some (mostly Bulgarians) that read entirely out of the textbook, some who don't even use their textbooks, and some who have heavy accents that you have to adjust to. The liberal arts model will also requires everyone to take a lot of different general courses, and inevitably you will probably not be good at some of them. If you are from Bulgaria, I strongly recommend you set aside significant time for office hours with professors and visits to the writing center before turning in papers, since many professors, especially the American ones, are very demanding in the quality and format of their research papers, and this isn't well taught at most Eastern European High Schools.
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The housing depends completely what building you're in. Sk. 3 is new and gorgeous and worth every penny. sk.2 is a little older, a little smaller, and a little less nice. sk. 1 is gross, the rooms are small and nothing works quite as well as it should. According to Bulgarian students the housing is also really expensive, though by American and Western European Standards it it's extremely cheap. I recommend dorm life because it's the best way to experience the campus, even in Skapto 1.
We don't have any competitive sports. We have an American football team that competes once a year, but everything else is intramural. We are in the process of building a new sports facility that will be finished this fall (2016) but the gym, basketball courts, and future facility are sub par and rented out to locals to lower operating costs. Small, but adequate.
I'm an American student who transferred into AUBG for financial reasons, and it was a great decision. This school isn't for everyone, but there's a lot to do on and off campus and the classes (though the options are limited) are generally well-taught and reflect the American liberal arts style. My favorite thing about this school compared to the one I transferred from in the US is how much is expected of the students here. There are several student clubs and organizations on campus, but unlike American programs they aren't meant to just pass time or pad the resume, you actually organize and manage huge projects and conferences. Students have a lot of responsibility here and are more challenged to develop socially and professionally than academically, which in my opinion is how a university should operate.

There are downsides to every university. The food here is deplorable, so either budget to eat out most nights or learn to cook. If you are an international student, especially from a country like the US or Serbia with a lower number of students, you'll find that freshman year students will naturally divide into their nationalities and forget to speak English, but this starts to go away after a semester or two. If you aren't used to Eastern European cultures, you should also be aware that administration and lifestyle here is disorganized and not customer-friendly. There isn't a lot of transparency in the university's accounting or operations, and you have to be really persistent to get answers to one question at a time, while in the US you can send an email with ten questions and have them answered by the end of the day.
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