Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
Teach undergraduate and/or graduate courses and/or conduct research in area of specialization. In addition, scholars can consult on program development and curriculum design, assist with thesis advising, collaborate with faculty on research projects, produce artworks, participate in open lectures, seminars, conferences, performances, and engage in guest lectures at other institutions.
Candidates proposing teaching projects should be very flexible in terms of syllabi and proposed course topics which may change due to host institution's needs and preferences. While teaching-only proposals are welcome, we encourage candidates to consider including a research/professional project component, as many hosts are not able to offer visiting scholars a full course load. There is no preference on the division of proposed teaching and research responsibilities.
Professional projects can be carried out with local NGOs or non-strictly academic institutions, and can consist of consultation, capacity building, practical training or project development.
Applicants may indicate host institution preferences anywhere in the country and submit letters of affiliation. The Bulgarian Fulbright Commission tries to honor preferences, but may also propose alternate placements based on past experience. The Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission can also assist in identifying prospective host institutions and in providing relevant contact information. If you need more information about the hosts, please contact Program Officer Rada Kaneva at 359-2-9808212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three to five months. For Flex grants: two to four months.
Teaching grants begin in either October 2023 or February 2024. For the American University in Bulgaria, grants begin in either August 2023 or January 2024. For research and professional projects, start date is flexible, as long as they are conducted within the academic year for which the grant was awarded (academic year 2023-24 for the current competition).
Flex awards are offered for teaching, teaching/research, research, and professional projects. Flex grantees may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, consult on program development and curriculum design, participate in open lectures, seminars, conferences, performances, and otherwise engage with the host-country academic community.
The Flex Award is designed for scholars who require multiple visits to the host country. This option allows grants to be conducted over two or three short segments. Applicants must select Flex in the application form, and clearly describe their plans for Flex in their project statement, including a project timeline. Flex grantees may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host-country academic community.
The grant includes a housing allowance to support Scholars to pay for their accommodation. The Commission offers travel and relocation allowance for grantees, as well as travel allowance for dependents who spend at least 80% of the grant period in country.
While a letter of invitation is optional, applicants are encouraged to reach out to local institutions and try to obtain one. The Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission can assist in identifying prospective host institutions, and in providing relevant contact information. In some fields, such as pure and applied sciences, a letter of invitation is preferred due to the limited number of host institutions where the Scholar can teach or conduct research. Candidates should begin contacting potential hosts as early as possible (May-June) as most academic institutions are difficult to reach during the summer months. Applicants can indicate preferences for affiliation if invitation is not available. Final assignment is coordinated with the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission.
English is sufficient for teaching. Conversational Bulgarian is useful. For applicants for research and professional projects without local language proficiency, feasibility of conducting the project must be demonstrated in the project statement.
Projects are welcome in all disciplines, as well as those with an interdisciplinary focus. The Program is open to both academics and professionals. Please note that for teaching grants, some universities/departments require a Ph.D. while others do not. Candidates should inquire about degree requirements when reaching out to potential host institutions. For research and professional projects, applications are accepted from university faculty, and from professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, or independent scholars outside of academia who have recognized professional standing and substantial professional accomplishments.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Rada Kaneva, Program Officer for US Grantees at email@example.com
$3,000 per month.
For Flex grants: $3,000 per month.
Travel allowance of $1,700 and relocation allowance of $1,300 for grantee. Travel allowance of $1,500 for one dependent and $3,000 for two or more accompanying dependents who remain in country with grantee for at least 80% of grant duration.
For Flex grants: Travel allowance of $4,000 total for all segments of the grant. Dependent travel will not be provided.
Cost of living in Bulgaria is quite reasonable. For more information, please consult www.numbeo.com.
Basic housing allowance for scholars with no dependents is $600 per month; additional housing allowance of $100 per month for one dependent / $200 per month for two or more dependents.
For Flex awards housing allowance is $600 per month. Additional housing allowance for dependents is not provided.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
Bulgaria offers up to five Fulbright US Scholar awards (3-5 months), open to all disciplines.
What is life like in Bulgaria?
The benefits of life in Bulgaria include a breathtaking countryside, a relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, cheap prices, and delicious food. Bulgaria is generally a peaceful and safe country, and the local population is proud of the country’s long history and holds education in very high regard, which results in a good number of opportunities for collaboration.
“Founded in the 7th century CE, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states on the European continent. It is intersected by historically important routes from northern and eastern Europe to the Mediterranean basin and from western and central Europe to the Middle East. Before the creation of the Bulgarian state, the empires of ancient Rome, Greece, and Byzantium were strong presences, and people and goods traveled the land with frequency. Emerging from centuries of Ottoman rule, Bulgaria gained its independence in the late 19th century, joined the losing side of several conflicts in the first half of the 20th century, and, after gravitating toward the Axis powers in World War II, found itself within the close orbit of the Soviet Union by mid-century. This alliance had profound effects on the Bulgarian state and psyche, altering everything from land use and labor practices to religion and the arts. As communist governments fell in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bulgaria was suddenly released from the USSR’s sphere of influence and drifted into the uneasy terrain of post-communism. Today its gaze is firmly fixed on the West: Bulgaria became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and of the European Union (EU) in 2007. The members of the EU engage in the bulk of Bulgarian trade. Like other nations of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria claims a mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and the mingling is evident in its cuisine, its architecture, and its religious heritage” (adapted from Encyclopædia Britannica).
Bulgarians are joyful people and they like to celebrate, so don’t be surprised by the many holidays in the calendar; come celebrate with us!
Fulbright Scholars in Bulgaria
As a Fulbright scholar in Bulgaria, you can engage in a variety of activities – teaching, research, professional project, or a combination of any of those. We are flexible regarding the timing of your grant, and we accept affiliations outside of academia. We work closely with many institutions of higher education, research think tanks, NGOs and international organizations, and we will be happy to put you in touch with those relevant to your work and interests. During your grant period, the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission will be there to help you settle into your Bulgarian life. We organize an orientation in the beginning of September, a mid-term meeting in January, and a wrap – up seminar in June. If your grant start date doesn’t coincide with those events, Fulbright Bulgaria staff will set up an individual meeting after your arrival to discuss aspects of living and working in the country and to answer any questions you may have. We also strive to provide a cultural/educational program for scholars and students every month; we share information and invitations from partner organizations that may enrich your stay in the country, and we support our scholars’ in-class, extracurricular, or community engagement activities in a variety of ways. We help you liaise with colleagues and give guest lectures at other institutions in the country (or in another European country through the Fulbright Inter-Country Travel Program).
Fulbright Bulgaria has also established ways to help grantees obtain local phone/mobile data services, local bank accounts, and negotiate with local schools to allow children to audit classes taught in English. Scholars arriving with children can enroll them at their own expense in a private international school, or, as the usual practice goes, children continue their studies at their US school online, but join some classes at a Bulgarian public school (free of charge) to meet Bulgarian peers, dive into the rich culture and learn new Bulgarian words. Bulgaria is known for its ability to successfully prepare students thoroughly in subjects such as math, history, arts, languages and literature, biology, chemistry, and others.
General information about Bulgarian higher education and the academic year:
Higher education in Bulgaria is provided exclusively by colleges and universities. In accordance with the Higher Education Act, universities are all self-governing and autonomous institutions.
Currently, we have 51 acknowledged higher schools which under the Higher Education Act are state owned and private, including universities, specialized higher schools and self-contained colleges. The academic year is divided into two semesters and typically covers 32 academic weeks. The exact date of the academic year is set by the respective institution, but usually the start of the first semester is in the beginning of October, and the second semester starts some time in February (for the American University in Bulgaria, semesters start in August and January). Educational degrees conferred are Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD. More information on structure, admission and cycles of higher education in Bulgaria can be found at https://www.euroeducation.net/prof/bulgaco.htm
Bulgaria is actively working on building an appropriate environment for modernizing the higher education system, considering the demands of society and businesses. Good practices are continually being studied and disseminated, and Fulbright scholars’ contributions to curriculum development or exchange of best practices are always appreciated.
Fulbright Bulgaria is happy to support not only traditional scholar awards in academia, but also professional projects that may lead to long-term collaborations or will have a significant impact for the participating parties or the respective sector. We welcome specialists with established professional careers in a variety of fields – journalism, law, business, political science, hard sciences, environmental sciences, arts, etc. who are willing to engage with local institutions for the realization of a specific project that also has an educational, training, or cultural enrichment focus.
For more about Bulgaria, please watch the following video: https://youtu.be/esT3KbwgjGg
US Scholars Testimonials - https://youtu.be/pHK2LgjnDyw Throughout 2021, the US State Department, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, and other Fulbright partners and supporters are celebrating the Fulbright program’s 75th Anniversary with a wide and varied range of activities taking place around the world. This film was created for this occasion to showcase the talent of Fulbright Bulgaria alumni in the arts: https://youtu.be/FuB4K6WKY0A
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.