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The Department for Language Teaching and International Students (DLTIS) at Sofia University "St. Kl. Ohridski" is the successor of the Institute for Foreign Students and is continuing its 40-year-long tradition in Bulgarian language training for foreign learners. DLTIS focuses on the latest achievements in applied linguistics and foreign language teaching methods, along with the acquired creative experience and results achieved in the work of several generations of researchers and teachers.

The Institute for Foreign Students was established in 1963 as a specific educational institution with the following aims:

  • To train international students in Bulgarian to a proficiency level sufficient to enable them to continue their studies at Bulgarian Universities.
  • To ensure the conformity of international students’ basic knowledge to the Bulgarian high school level requirements in order to give them the opportunity to complete the chosen degree programmes successfully.

Organized courses in Bulgarian as a Foreign Language started in 1952 when the distinguished Bulgarian linguist Lyubomir Andreichin formed a new department at Sofia University. This department operated until 1963 when the Institute for Foreign Students was founded to take on its function. In December 2000 it joined Sofia University as the Department for Language Teaching and International Students.

After 1990 some other Schools of Higher Education started their own preliminary language courses but the Institute for Foreign Students kept its leading role throughout the 1990s. During the years of intensive academic language training, a new methodology has been developed which emphasizes knowledge acquisition based on situational activities without the need for a contact language and with the help of various audio-visual equipment. Focus here is placed on the communicative approach, which is the leading method in Bulgarian language teaching. In addition, the functional approach, which centres on phrase recognition and phraseology, has gradually ousted the less effective grammar approach. On the other hand, DLTIS has published a number of textbooks and language training manuals, which encompass a wide variety of conversational and specialized topics in Bulgarian. As a result, on the grounds of our extensive methodological experience, new contemporary editions of illustrated textbooks, materials, and manuals are being published nowadays in accordance with the common European language training standards. For 42 years over 40 000 undergraduate students, post-graduate students and adult learners have been trained at the Institute.

In 1976 the Foreign Language Centre for teaching Bulgarians was established within the Institute for Foreign Students. It is the most renowned methodological centre for foreign language teaching in Bulgaria. The training programmes are flexible: they include 3-month,1-month, intensive and semi-intensive, day-, evening- and weekend courses. For many years, over 6000 Bulgarians per year have been trained here.