Located in a beautiful and interesting country, but a generally awful school. Past Review

By (University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 08/31/2016 to 12/19/2016 with

American University in Bulgaria: Blagoevgrad - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The most important thing I gained from my experience abroad was learning so much about myself and my own abilities to be independent, adventurous, and brave. I learned so much more about myself than I could have if I stayed home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The worst education I've ever received; the academics at AUBG are an absolute joke.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Poor efficiency and communication.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

No vegan options, very few vegetarian options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Blagoevgrad is a much more genuinely Eastern European city than Sofia, so I feel like I received an authentic cultural experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Was sick briefly, the doctor saw me for barely a minute before scribbling out a prescription and forcing me off. Became even more sick from the medicine.

* Safety:

Relatively safe city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would choose a university that I could be confident would provide me with professors who are actually passionate about what they teach and are good at what they do. AUBG spends a lot of money on marketing how cool it is, but the education really is abysmal. I barely learned anything.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 20-30 lev (no more than $15).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of any dining funds and don't go crazy with shopping!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Rich culture in the country
  • Strong international student community
  • Being able to travel Europe so cheaply
* What could be improved?
  • Quality of professors/teaching
  • Quality of food
  • Perhaps more funding allocated to areas that need it, rather than into the pockets of the administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is *extremely* different from the U.S. in Blagoevgrad. While there are Western things in the capital (Sofia), this small city is still very much entrenched in the past. There were very few things that were familiar to me here, and I experienced fairly intense culture shock when I arrived. Technology and infrastructure is extremely outdated, and the culture is very conservative (I witnessed many instances of racism and homophobia, as well as sexism while here).

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!