Ivan Bardarov, '13: A Slope from AUBG to Duke

When first asked about his memories from the American University in Bulgaria, the fresh undergraduate Ivan Bardarov summarizes: “AUBG is a very strange place.” In a positive light of course. AUBG, in his words, combines the traditional liberal arts education of U.S. universities with a diverse community. Ivan pinpoints this diversity as the factor that was instrumental in his future. It allowed him to develop a different perspective; to acquire the skills needed to interact with people from different cultures; and, last but not least, to attend the prestigious Duke university as a Tchaprachikoff awardee.

The Tchaprachikoff Scholarship Fund that Ivan is a recipient of provides one of the most exciting opportunities for selected Bulgarian students. The unique Tchaprachikoff Scholar program provides partial funding for tuition and fees for up to two years for Bulgarian AUBG graduates who are admitted to a master’s program in any field at any one of the top 20 national universities in the United States.

At AUBG, Ivan double-majored in Political Science & International Relations and Economics. He also took an active role outside the academic sphere – also quite literally, when he participated in several theatrical plays. Moreover, he was part of Radio Aura, served as a Student Ambassador, and enjoyed the occasional nights out with his friends. Ivan believes that the friends he made at AUBG will remain friends for life. “I would like to say that everything was memorable, but if I have to pick one specific thing – it will be the life in Skapto,” he confides. “The most challenging thing definitely was finding time to sleep.”

Ivan believes that what prepared him for his master’s degree was not only the course work but also the extracurricular activities which helped him develop his team-work skills and organizational and scheduling abilities. In 2013, he was accepted at the Sanford School of Public Policy in Duke University. Ivan relishes the courses he is taking and the lectures because of their relevant topics and the practical experience of his professors.

Here he draws a parallel between AUBG and Duke: “However this was also true for my AUBG courses. My feeling is that my education has been a steady slope starting from my freshman year in AUBG, climbing to the senior year and then progressing to a Master’s degree in Duke.” Yet one thing that AUBG most definitely excels in – for Ivan – is the fact that Blagoevgrad is a much better town than Durham.

Story by Yoana Savova

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