Moving to Rural Bulgaria with Young Children
What we will say below may sound discouraging to some of you but this is our true and honest opinion on the issue and we feel it is good to share it with our interested readers. Living in rural Bulgaria with young family has certain specifics which need to be taken into consideration before you choose your property (and property region and village).
Schooling. This is the first issue which you have to think about when choosing the location of your property. Normally there aren’t many young families in the villages away from the big cities. Hence there isn’t a school in each village and in some schools kids from two classes study together in mixed groups. Local municipalities provide a special free transport to the nearest school if there is not one in your village. Read further about the Bulgaria’s education system..
Medical care. When you have young kids you have to have constant contact with a doctor who knows them and who is available to speak with you and visit you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Finding a doctor to whom you can explain the condition of your kid in your language will not be easy in the villages. There is a general practitioner in most middle-sized and large villages. Just some of the most remote areas close to the borders (especially in the South-Eastern and Southern Bulgaria) are not well served by GPs. If you need to visit a specialist doctor however you will have to go to the nearest town or the regional city. If you have babies or kids with special needs in the family we strongly advise you inquire in advance what are the options in the area and eventually take the contacts and meet the local doctor. Further read about the Bulgaria’s health system..
Transport connections are important especially as you will have more shopping to do, may need to go to the nearest polyclinic with a kid or may have to take the kids to a school of your choice and not to the one the municipality recommends. In any of these cases having a car is a must. We do not think it viable to rely just on the available public transport.
Attractions for kids. They are very few if you think of quality playgrounds or other means that normally entertain kids in the cities. Kids living in the villages have a lot more though. They have the freedom, space, touch to the nature and traditional village life which is completely unknown to the city people. These are things which will not only entertain them but will also educate and give them a healthy attitude to the world that surrounds them. Kids in the villages are not growing in the jungle of parked cars, nor have to share a small garden with hundreds of other people. There is normally a quiet street where they can freely learn to ride a bicycle, a neighbour who has animals and will allow the kids to feed them, and a field where kids can walk freely.
Mother tongue tuition. Most parents would like their kids to be fluent in their native language. Pupils study Bulgarian in the local schools and start learning a foreign language of their choice at age of 8-9 at school. However the level of foreign language education varies and in some schools kids would not learn much especially in the small village schools. If you really want your kids to write well in your language you may need to spend time teaching them or to pay someone to do so instead of you. There are private language tutors in every city and many of the smaller towns.
Living in a Bulgarian village away from the big cities may be a challenge at times for both kids and parents but it can also turn into a fresh new perspective in life if you have done your research before purchasing your property.