The Education Section of the Embassy of Spain in Bulgaria begins 2023 with a special focus on higher education. The Embassy invites all students who would like to continue their studies in higher education institutions in Spain to visit the Education in Spain Expo. It starts on 28 January at the Central Military Club in Sofia. A day earlier, on 27 January, representatives of Bulgarian and Spanish universities will discuss opportunities for cooperation and links.
The event is organized in cooperation with the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE) with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science and Sofia Municipality.
Ángel Santamaría Barnola, Education Counsellor at the Spanish Embassy, has been actively working with Bulgarian schools for several years and supports the study of the Spanish language in Bulgaria with various initiatives."There are 16 bilingual schools in Bulgaria, where Spanish is taught and where we have 18 Spanish language teachers, who were chosen in Spain to work here," explains Ángel Santamaría in an interview with Radio Bulgaria. - When I arrived in this country, I was struck by the fact that when these kids graduated from school, many of them did not choose to study in Spain. This was not because they had better opportunities in other countries, but because the Bulgarian applicants did not know Spanish universities well. In the two years of the pandemic, with great effort, we made some virtual meetings to promote Spanish universities and that is how we came to organising the Education in Spain Expo in the Bulgarian capital. It was necessary and at the same time the schools and the children's families showed interest."11 Spanish universities are participating tn the Fair. "I think this is a good figure which gives us grounds to think about future such events," says Ángel Santamaría.
Universities offering different levels and fields of study will present their programmes in Sofia. The Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona is the one offering the most highly specialised programmes. But representatives of universities from all over Spain will come.
What majors are Bulgarian students interested in studying at Spanish universities?
"In the last few years we have been trying to establish contacts with Spanish universities that offer scholarships," says Mr Santamaría. - Several universities offer scholarships to language school students. But we don't yet have an established channel to explore what their preferences are."
There has long been interest in learning Spanish in Bulgaria. But can Bulgarian universities attract Spanish students, we asked Mr Santamaría?
"I think there are a lot of Spanish students who are here on the Erasmus programme at the moment. Spain is the country that receives the most Erasmus students in Europe, but I have personally seen groups of Spanish young people on the streets of Sofia who are students. When I speak to them they all say they are in Bulgaria on Erasmus. I think that if, after the meetings of the closed session of the exhibition on 27 January, which is only for the universities of both countries, some common projects or ideas for such projects are established, this will also help the Spanish students to get to know the Bulgarian universities. I know that besides Erasmus students, there are Spaniards who study medicine in Bulgaria."
At the end of the conversation, Mr Santamaría reminded that we can look forward to the new edition of the National Festival of Student Theatre in Spanish, which this year will be held in Varna in February.Photo: Department of Education, Embassy of Spain in Bulgaria, unwe.bg
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