Many expatriates living in Sofia choose to send their children to one of its many international schools. This means that they can be taught in English and complete international qualifications or those of their home country.
The growing expatriate community living in Sofia means there are a number of international schools to choose from, including the Zlatarski International School of Sofia, the Anglo-American School of Sofia, and the Uwekind: International School Sofia, amongst many others.
As the capital city of Bulgaria, Sofia is home to four of the five top-ranked universities in the country: Sofia University; the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy; the Technical University of Sofia; the University of National and World Economy; and the University of Mining and Geology.
The city has a large student population that exceeds 100,000, and its higher education system makes a large contribution to the city's strong economy. Many of the universities have links with other institutions around the world, and will offer certain courses in English and other European languages.
As an expatriate working and living in Sofia, you will pay social security contributions and therefore will be entitled to use the public healthcare system. If you are not working in Sofia but have an EHIC, you will be entitled to some services for free and some at a lower cost.
Although the public system is better equipped and has better conditions in Sofia than many other areas in Bulgaria, it is not of the same standard as the public system in many other European nations.
Therefore, many expatriates choose to take out private healthcare insurance, as the quality of care in the private system is much higher. However, expatriates living in Sofia will be pleased to hear that many doctors will speak English, and are often trained in Western Europe before returning to work in Sofia.
As it is located in an important strategic position at the center of the Balkan Peninsula, Sofia is a major transportation hub, with three major Pan-European Transportation Corridors running through the city.
However, driving in the city center can be difficult, especially during peak hours, as it often experiences heavy traffic with long delays. This is due to the fact that car ownership for people living in Sofia has risen dramatically in the last decade, and the roads are unequipped to deal with the amount of cars now on the road.
Due to the traffic, many people living in Sofia tend to use its public transportation system to get around. Sofia has an excellent two-line metro system that stretches all across the city, as well as extensive tram and bus networks. Public transportation is inexpensive and convenient, and so is the preferred choice for many natives and expatriates working and living in Sofia.