The University of Veliko Tarnovo's international relations are focused on creating and maintaining long-term scientific and educational cooperation with universities, academies, international foundations and other educational, scientific and cultural institutions abroad. Academic collaboration is vital to the University’s development as a public educational and research institution integral to the national economy. The UVT governing body has garnered success in establishing cooperative relations and agreements with leading foreign universities and other educational institutions.
The groundwork for the University of Veliko Tarnovo’s international work was set soon after its founding and has since been aimed at connecting with prestigious partner universities with well-established faculties and degree courses, rich libraries and language-learning centres. The first such agreement was signed with The Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in 1972. In the following years, agreements were signed with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany; the Ivan Franko University of Lviv, Ukraine; the Pedagogical Institute at Nitra, Slovakia and the Craiova University, Romania. These agreements stipulate exchanging research, lecturers, students and student groups, as well as organising joint events and symposiums to publish the reports of the participants.
The number of signed agreements increased in the 1980s. Universities outside Eastern and Central Europe became partners of UVT as well, including the University of Nanterre, Paris and the University of Sheffield, Great Britain. During this time six foreign lecturers worked at UVT teaching Russian, French, English, Polish, Czech and Romanian. Many members of the academic staff at UVT had the opportunity to study in the libraries of our foreign partners, read lectures and consult colleagues. This international cooperation aided lecturers in successfully attaining academic ranks, increased education quality and was key in establishing the University as a national education and science hub in the Humanities.
The social changes from 1989 in Eastern Europe and in Bulgaria caused a radical shift and re-organisation of the University’s international activities. The significant opportunities brought about by these changes were the newly gained access to long-term specialisation in Western Europe and the USA, to various foundations and programmes of the European Union (Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Grundtvig, EU Youth programmes and others) and easier application for scholarships through the Internet. Despite the hurdles the new conditions created there remained the older partnerships with Jena, Cracow, Lviv, and Craiova. New agreements with prestigious universities were signed and some of those included the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, the Tver State University, the University of Ioannina, the University of Skopje, the University of Niš, and the University of Kharkov.
Currently, a major part of UVT’s interuniversity relations in Europe are through direct agreements and through the European Education Programme Erasmus+. At this time, The University of Veliko Tarnovo has 94 partner-universities in Europe, Asia, USA, Africa and South America. It is also gaining more interest from former Soviet countries (Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan) as well as China and Japan.
Lectureships, essential to foreign language teaching, are a crucial element in the University’s international activities. These programmes began in 1974 with a Polish lectureship, and later a German lectureship. There has been a significant number of foreign lecturers (from Poland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Romania, Serbia, the USA, Japan, Slovakia, Hungary, France, China, Russia, Brazil) that have taught at the University throughout its 50-year-long history. Some of them come with their families, others by themselves; some stay for a year, others remain for up to 6 years at the University of Veliko Tarnovo.
Due to its successful international activity, the University of Veliko Tarnovo is a partner preferred by many foreign universities. The University annually welcomes numerous foreign lecturers, students and student groups with learning agreements or traineeships, participants to international events, ambassadors and embassy assistants, delegates of partner-universities and other institutions.