A student placement or internship is a compulsory part of undergraduate education in Bulgaria and although there is no central placement database, most students are able to find placements by themselves. Universities and specialised technical schools cooperate with local enterprises in order to help students acquire specific skills relevant to their future profession. Some student placement opportunities are facilitated by career centres at the universities, while others are offered by the Bulgarian ministries and local governments.
Student placements in Bulgaria can also be uploaded by companies to the Europe Internship [http://www.europe-internship.com] portal. Most Bulgarian universities offer student placements for foreign students under the LLP Erasmus programme, which supports student placements of be¬tween 3 and 12 months in commercial establishments and research centres within Europe.
Internship and Placement Advice
Information on job opportunities can be obtained from the National Employment Agency, which offers temporary or seasonal vacancies that might be of interest to students. Opportunities for internships are also offered by AISEC Bulgaria.
Social Security and European Health Insurance (Card)
Citizens of EU member states, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can obtain the European Health Insurance Card, which provides access to the Bulgarian public health care system and ensures compensation of medical costs after the foreigner returns back home. More detailed information is available at http://www.en.nhif.bg/web/gues/home. In exceptional cases, a temporary E111 proof of entitlement and proof of identity may be accepted in place of an EHIC. On presentation of the necessary documents, visitors pay the same contribution fee as insured Bulgarian citizens for access to medical services, treatments and prescriptions.
Any visitors from outside of the EU would need to check their eligibility for free or subsidised medical services and obtain private insurance where necessary. The public health care system in Bulgaria does not include all types of medical services and private health insurance may be needed, even with an EHIC.
Bulgaria has compulsory public health insurance and contributions are obligatory for Bulgarian citizens, as well as for foreigners who permanently reside in the country. The obligatory contribution rate is 8% of the monthly salary with the employer paying 60% and the employee 40%.
Health care services are accessed through a family doctor (GP), who is able to refer people to a specialist registered with the National Health Insurance Fund, if required.
There are many specialised private clinics and hospitals in the country. When visiting such clinics patients pay the whole cost of the services they receive immediately, whether or not they have health insurance.
In Bulgaria, the state offers social assistance. If you become ill, according to the law, the employer only pays the first day of sick-leave at the average daily rate. The employee is obliged to present their employer with a doctor’s note for any short-term inability to work. Sickness benefits for short-term inability to work, work-related accidents and illnesses are covered by the National Social Security Institute. The support for monthly child benefit is determined on the basis of family income and is given until the end of the child’s secondary education. Foreign women are also entitled to receive child benefit.
Overall, Bulgaria is a safe place. However, greater attention must be paid when travelling with the public transport due to the presence of pickpockets. Taxi drivers may overcharge unwary visitors and taxis that don’t have a visible meter should be avoided.
ATMs are available almost everywhere in major cities. However, all cards should be used carefully to minimise the risk theft or fraud. It is safer to use ATMs that are situated in major institutions like banks or large malls and it is advisable to use credit cards for hotel bills or at major retailers.
Aggressive driving behaviours and the absence of proper infrastructure mean that driving can be hazardous, so it is safer to drive defensively and ensure that seat belts are worn. It is highly recommended to avoid confrontations with other drivers and an English version of the Bulgarian traffic laws is published on the Ministry of Interior website:
You should act cautiously when you are outside of the major regions, avoiding dark streets and not giving any indications that you have money or valuables.
- The emergency telephone number is 112.
- The electricity voltage in the country is 220 V; 50 Hz
- Tap water is safe to drink in most of the cities.
- The speed limits are 50 km/h in populated areas; 90 km/h outside populated areas and 140 km/h on highways.
Do I need a Visa?
Holders of valid Schengen visas are allowed to enter Bulgaria and stay for up to 90 days in any 6 month period. For residents of EU member states or the USA, no visa is necessary for a visit of up to 90 days. Detailed information can be obtained from the website of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.mfa.bg/en/pages/view/85
Depending on nationality, students may need a residence permit and information on a individual country basis. Information can be obtained from: http://www.mvr.bg/en
A visa will only be given to owners of legitimate passports or travel documents that remain valid for a minimum of 3 months after their planned stay and have a blank page for affixing the visa.
When foreigners enter Bulgaria, they are supposed to state in writing the reason for their stay and the address where they will live, unless they are citizens of the European Union or countries in the Economic European Area.
The Bulgarian Foreign Nationals Act gives access to three key visa categories: the transit visa, short-stay visa and long-stay visa.
Foreign citizens are only allowed to work in the country after obtaining a work permit, unless otherwise stated by law. Work permits are issued for a maximum renewable term of one year on the basis of an existing employment contract or arrangement with a local business and there are a number of legal terms and conditions that must be met. An obligatory requirement for obtaining a work permit is that the citizen holds a long-stay visa. Foreign nationals on short-stay visas cannot receive work permits in Bulgaria. Foreigners need to ask the local employer for work permits, which are then issued by the Bulgarian Employment Agency.
Citizens of the EU do not require any visas or permits to travel to or work in Bulgaria.
For more detailed information see: http://www.investbulgaria.com/ForeignWorkersWorkPermits.php
Internship and Placement Salary
Salaries in Bulgaria are lower when compared to salaries in other EU member states.
In Bulgaria, the median monthly disposable salary (after tax) is 700.00 Leva or approximately €350. However, example monthly salaries range from €1,000 to €2,500 at the senior executive level down to €200 to €550 for a secretary or a painter and decorator. The salary is negotiated between the company and the employee and some companies provide unpaid internships.
Internship and Placement Accommodation
Most higher education institutions in Bulgaria have their own halls of residence that provide housing to students for the duration of their studies. Foreign students studying in Bulgaria on the basis of a bilateral agreement or an or¬der from a Bulgarian government body are normally entitled to accommodation in halls of residence. However, foreign students who are paying their own tuition fees receive accommodation at halls of residence only if there are vacant rooms/beds. The costs vary from university to university, ranging between €30 and €50 a month.
If the conditions in halls of residence do not live up to a student’s expecta¬tions, it is possible to rent a private flat or room for between €150 and €350 a month.Detailed information on students’ accommodation is provided in English on the websites of the Universities and specialised higher schools.
Learn more about the business culture in Bulgaria