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Expat Exchange - 10 Things to Know Before Moving to Bulgaria
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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Bulgaria

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: If you're planning a move to Bulgaria, here are 10 things expats living there wish they had known before moving to Bulgaria.

Moving to Bulgaria - 10 Things to Know Before Moving to Bulgaria

Are you considering a move to the beautiful country of Bulgaria? This Eastern European gem is becoming an increasingly popular destination for expats from around the world. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and affordable cost of living, it's no wonder why. However, before you pack your bags, there are a few things you should know. Here are the top 10 things to know before moving to Bulgaria.

1. Understanding the Bulgarian Language

While English is spoken in many tourist areas and by younger generations, the official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian. It's a Slavic language written in the Cyrillic alphabet, which can be challenging for newcomers. Learning some basic phrases and the alphabet will make your transition easier and is a sign of respect to the locals. There are many language schools and online resources available to help you get started.

2. Embrace the Bulgarian Cuisine

Bulgarian cuisine is a delightful mix of flavors influenced by its neighboring countries. Traditional dishes like banitsa, a type of cheese pastry, and shopska salad are must-tries. Bulgaria is also known for its yogurt and wine. Be prepared to enjoy hearty, fresh, and delicious meals!

3. Navigating the Bulgarian Healthcare System

Bulgaria's healthcare system is a mix of public and private providers. As an expat, it's advisable to have comprehensive health insurance. While the quality of healthcare can vary, major cities like Sofia and Plovdiv have excellent private hospitals and clinics. It's also worth noting that Bulgaria is a popular destination for medical tourism due to the high quality and affordable dental and cosmetic procedures.

4. The Bulgarian Climate

Bulgaria experiences a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The country is known for its ski resorts in the winter and its beautiful Black Sea beaches in the summer. Be prepared for the changing seasons and pack accordingly.

5. Understanding Bulgarian Etiquette

Bulgarians are known for their hospitality and friendliness. However, they have a unique way of nodding their heads for 'yes' and 'no'. A shake of the head means 'yes', and a nod means 'no', which can be confusing for foreigners. Also, when invited to a Bulgarian home, it's customary to bring a gift such as flowers or wine.

6. The Cost of Living in Bulgaria

One of the main attractions for expats moving to Bulgaria is the low cost of living. Housing, groceries, transportation, and entertainment are significantly cheaper compared to Western European countries. However, salaries are also lower, so it's essential to have a realistic budget.

7. The Rich Bulgarian History and Culture

Bulgaria is one of the oldest countries in Europe with a rich history and culture. From the ancient Thracian tombs to the medieval Boyana Church, there's plenty to explore. Bulgarians are proud of their heritage, and you'll find many festivals and events throughout the year celebrating their traditions.

8. The Bulgarian Education System

If you're moving with children, it's good to know that Bulgaria has a well-structured education system. There are public, private, and international schools available. The school year runs from September to June, and the curriculum includes Bulgarian language and literature, mathematics, foreign languages, and more.

9. The Bulgarian Transportation System

Bulgaria has a well-developed transportation system with buses, trams, and a metro system in Sofia. Taxis are also widely available and affordable. If you plan to drive, be aware that Bulgaria has one of the highest road accident rates in the EU, so extra caution is advised.

10. The Bulgarian Work Culture

Work culture in Bulgaria can be quite formal, with a clear hierarchy and respect for authority. Punctuality is highly valued, and business attire is typically conservative. However, Bulgarians also know how to enjoy life, with long lunches and after-work socializing being common.

Moving to a new country is always an adventure, and Bulgaria is no exception. With its unique blend of East and West, tradition and modernity, Bulgaria offers a fascinating and rewarding experience for those willing to embrace it. So, pack your bags and get ready for your Bulgarian adventure!

Expats talk about Moving to Bulgaria

"I would find out about a area of the country you like and fly out, drive around to if possible to find a place you like then find a estate agent or a English person to find you some houses to view . I moved out with Oggi who has a removal company, you pack your goods and he arranges the pick up, you have to load it on the lorry his driver will help, had it delivered from door to door in 6 days, great service and cheap, if you would like his email contact me," said one expat living in Pleven.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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William Russell
William Russell

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