In these uneasy days where COVID-19 is a constant presence in the news, and the world lives under the conditions of a pandemic, the American University in Bulgaria’s sunny campus lacks the usual vibrancy. Dr. David Evans, Interim President at the prestigious school, is in his office to coordinate all the anti-epidemic measures that his team is taking in Blagoevgrad.
The university offered distance learning to its students even before there were cases of infection in Bulgaria. The semester will continue online entirely so that the students seamlessly complete the school year and the seniors graduate on time.
“You know that at AUBG, students are taught under the liberal arts system where the student is at the center of all the efforts and activities,” Evans said. “Most of our students live and study together on campus, and we have a serious commitment to their health, along with the traditionally high quality of education that we offer. The university has its own digital platform for distance learning, and now is the time to make full use of it. The circumstances require it.”
Virtual Classes, Motivated Students
AUBG is one of the most digitally advanced universities in the country and the region, and the teachers are fully prepared for the start of the virtual classes. They are not concerned about this format of teaching: the AUBG students are extremely motivated and the university provides them with all the opportunities for a quality educational process. The only thing the AUBG community will miss is the vibrant life on campus and the cultural and sports events that the student clubs organize every year.
The Admission Process is Rigorous; Matriculation is Not Obligatory
Adaptability and flexibility: this is the lesson of the current health crisis in the world and in Bulgaria. With a timely and well-thought-out response, AUBG is an example of how the learning process can be reorganized in the context of emergency measures. Clearly defined rules, the importance of student opinion and a consensus approach are all part of AUBG’s DNA. Therefore, in the last three years, the interest in studying at AUBG – both from international and Bulgarian students — has been increasing. The Admission of students takes place practically all year round, with the application process taking place online entirely. “We teach entirely in English, our students come from 40 countries, so the requirements for the applicants are specific,” said Admissions Director Boriana Shalyavska. “We require excellent academic results and fluency in English, but we do not require a matriculation exam so that we ensure early Admission and an equal start for students from different countries. The applicants should submit an academic report from the school, recommendations from their teachers, an essay and a portfolio outlining their extracurricular activities and achievements. We also host an interview with each applicant. We do all of this online, without the need for travel and direct contact.”
“The current crisis is a test for AUBG, but also an opportunity to show how we deal with a non-standard situation and protect our students’ interests. Here we train future leaders and we are well aware of the great responsibility that we carry,” Evans said.