Dear students:

Please check the Home page on the detailed potential itinerary, estimated costs, and FAQ of this course. Below is a highlight on all the important preparations. Please also read the information for your family and friends and help them prepare accordingly.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor.

Course expectations


Be prepared, focused and ready to learn.


Be punctual. Submit all assignments on time. Actively participate in all activities.


Be open-minded, flexible, and adventurous. Share your thoughts and work as a team.


Be respectful towards teachers and classmates. Encourage one another and stay united as a team.

To-do list with timeline

Talk to the instructor to learn more about this course and fill the application. The application is due on Jan 15, which is right after we are back to campus when things can be hectic, so it is highly recommended that you finish the applications during the winter break, if not sooner.

  • If you do not have a passport, apply for one as soon as possible. Your passport number is needed when booking the flight ticket, etc. You should have your passport ready in January in the latest. If you have a passport, please check its expiration date to ensure that it is valid till at least the Nov of our travel year.
  • If you hold an US passport, no visa to Bulgaria is needed for attending this faculty-led course. If you hold another country’s passport, check out the Bulgarian visa policy and apply for a visa by February, if needed, as it may take about two months.
  • It is desirable that the group travels together from the US to Bulgaria, although you could leave from an airport near your home, and hopefully we will get onto the same airplane in the last leg of our flight heading for Sofia.
  • Follow the IPS financial payment schedule ($500 nonrefundable deposit by February 1, and full payment by March 15) and obtain a satisfactory academic progress in the spring semester to ensure your slot in this travel course. If you have applied for summer financial aid, please forward us your financial aid approval and your acceptance of it, then it will be treated as a full payment, although the financial aid payment will not be dispensed until 10 days before the travel.
    • Here is the procedure to pay for the course.
  • We will buy flight tickets as soon as possible after February 1 (when the deposits are due, and then we know for sure who are going), so that we can get the best deal. We will meet together to figure out the itinerary to decide on the common plan and preferably buy the tickets at that meeting. For the students who plan to leave from their hometown airport or to extend your travel after the trip, please figure out the details of your plan before we buy the flight tickets. The flight ticket is budgeted as student responsibility, so that students can choose to use miles and have flexibility. It also means that it will be some upfront payment for students who has applied for financial aid. If you have a refund check in spring from financial aid, it can be used to purchase the flight ticket.
  • In spring, the travel group meets about once a month for orientation, logistics arrangement, and some lecturing on course contents to help you make the most of your travel.
  • During the trip, please follow all schedules closely and be prepared to participate in all activities to ensure a timely and productive progression of our travel course.
  • The post-trip course assignments will be updated on Canvas.

Travel preparations

  • COVID vaccines are strongly encouraged to ease the entry to Bulgaria (otherwise a negative test is needed).
  • Consider the possibility of getting a local SIM card for your unlocked phone to use in Bulgaria. The SIM card and/or a simple phone for voice-call can be purchased in town in Sofia. Or else, consider the Google Fi plan that is very convenient while being abroad.
  • Inform family on the emails and/or apps you will use to communicate with them.
  • If you don’t use Whatsapp app yet, it might be a good idea to install it as it is the most popular app in Bulgaria, when you may use it to connect with local friends.
  • Pack only a small to mid-sized luggage (carry-on). We will probably need to carry it while climbing stairs.
  • The weather conditions in each city can be checked on any weather channel on the web.