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14 Reasons Why People Choose to Study in Plovdiv

When students consider moving to Bulgaria, Plovdiv is often overlooked in favour of its bigger sister Sofia – but no more!

The vibe and atmosphere in Plovdiv are a captivating blend of culture, creativity, community and history, making it a truly special place to live, study, and explore. Why haven’t you heard of it? Well, that’s not on you, the world has yet to take notice of Plovdiv’s unique charm. Watch this space, because I’m convinced that in the next few years, Plovdiv will explode in popularity. To find out why then you’ll need to keep reading.

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Affordable Living Costs

Plovdiv is one of the most affordable cities in Bulgaria, and compared to most other European cities, Plovdiv is an absolute steal.

Plovdiv offers low living costs, including accommodation, food, and public transport. Living in Plovdiv will cost you less than half the price of living in uber-popular Milan. For a more local comparison, renting in Plovdiv is around 10% cheaper than the capital Sofia. What student doesn’t appreciate bang for your buck?

Laid-Back Lifestyle

Life in Plovdiv moves at a more relaxed pace compared to many larger cities. Cafés spill onto the streets, parks buzz with activity, and locals gather in plazas to socialize and unwind. You’ll notice that locals here really take their time to savour the simple pleasures of everyday life.

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Historical Ambiance

Plovdiv’s rich history and well-preserved architectural heritage contribute to a distinct historical ambiance. Walking through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, tourists and residents alike are transported back in time, surrounded by ancient ruins, Ottoman houses, and colourful Renaissance buildings.

Green Spaces

Plovdiv contains several parks and green spaces, providing students with plenty of opportunities for relaxation and escapism from urban life. Parks like Tsar Simeon’s Garden and the Rowing Canal offer a tranquil retreat from both the hustle and bustle of the city, and the stresses that come with being a student.

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High Quality Education - Taught in English

There are four main universities in Plovdiv, two of which currently offer programs in English.

Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski” (PU)

PU offers a variety of programs taught in English, particularly at graduate and postgraduate levels. These programs include fields such as Economics, International Relations, European Studies, amongst others.

Medical University of Plovdiv (MUP)

MUP offers English-taught programs primarily in the medical and healthcare fields, including Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Health Management. These programs are particularly popular with international students.

Small Town Vibes

With a population of around 350,000, Plovdiv isn’t tightly packed like a tin of sardines. Meaning you’ll get to know the name of the waitress in your favourite café, you’ll regularly bump into other university students while grocery shopping, little things like this make living in Plovdiv feel more like living in a small town, than a large city, but in the best way possible. The sense of community makes Plovdiv a great place to live.

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Rich Cultural Heritage

Plovdiv is older than both Rome and Athens! Not only is Plovdiv one of the oldest cities in Europe, it is actually one of the 10 oldest cities in the world – Let that sink in for a second.

Plovdiv boasts a rich cultural history spanning thousands of years, here you can see the story of Bulgaria unfolding before your eyes, from the Ancient Roman Stadium of Philipopolis, to Ottoman era mosques, to Soviet-inspired Statues all the way to modern day architecture.

Gateway to Europe

Plovdiv’s central location in Europe makes it an ideal base for exploring other European countries during breaks or weekends. Within a matter of hours by public transport you can arrive in Istanbul in Turkey or Thessaloniki in Greece.

Honest opinion incoming: Plovdiv has an airport…but Sofia Airport is only two hours away and honestly is just a better airport. From Sofia you can fly to way more places, and more importantly, there are a lot more deals for cheap flights with airlines like Ryanair. I’m not dissing Plovdiv airport, I just think that Sofia has better options.

Warm Climate

In Plovdiv you can enjoy the lush Mediterranean climate, with long hot summers and surprisingly mild winters. Summers regularly reach a lovely 30°C (86°F) while winters rarely drop below -3°C (26.6°F)

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Artistic Spirit

Plovdiv has a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, studios, and creative spaces dotted throughout the city. Street art adorns many walls, adding a contemporary touch to Plovdiv’s historic streetscape. The city’s designation as the European Capital of Culture in 2019 is a testament to the city’s commitment to fostering creativity and artistic expression.

International Fair Plovdiv

The International Fair Plovdiv is one of the largest exhibitions and event complexes in Southeastern Europe. Students can attend trade shows, conferences, and cultural events hosted in Plovdiv, providing networking opportunities and exposure to international business practices. Having opportunities for work long after the university experience has ended, makes Plovdiv an ideal place to live for the long-term.

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Delicious Food

Food is amazing all over Bulgaria, there is no denying that. The Mediterranean sunshine injects tomatoes with sweetness and ripens aubergines to purple perfection. Higher quality produce means, well, higher quality food.

From flaky banitsa to to hearty gyuvech, there is a meal to please every taste bud in Bulgaria. Plus with smaller cities like Plovdiv, prices for fresh seasonal produce tend to be more affordable, and locally grown.

Irrelevant personal opinion incoming: My biggest surprise in Bulgaria was honestly the tomatoes – and the fact that Bulgaria isn’t famous for them is a crime. They are mind-blowing, and honestly, I have lived in Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, the latter of which are famous for their tomatoes, and Bulgaria could easily give them a run for their money.

Festive Spirit

Throughout the year, Plovdiv hosts various festivals, concerts, and cultural events, infusing the city with a festive spirit. Whether it’s the vibrant colors of the Kapana Street Festival, the melodic strains of the Plovdiv Jazz Fest, to the quirky Night of Museums and Galleries, there’s always something to celebrate in Plovdiv!

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Vibrant Student Life

History, hiking and old building are great, but students also want to enjoy being students. For me, that was being young, dumb and broke and I don’t regret a thing, my liver might but that’s another story. Thankfully Plovdiv is very much a student city, with numerous clubs, organizations, and social events to enhance your university experience.

For bopping bars filled to the brim with young people, head to the Kapana district. For those who prefer coffee to cocktails, the café culture in Plovdiv is second to none. Living in Plovdiv, you’ll quickly adapt to the local way of having long chats with friends in lively cafes, nursing strong coffee while people watching – It is considered a sport by locals.