Teachers and students find their niche

Alf Eastergard became aware of American University in Bulgaria while teaching accounting at the University of Maine. After that, leaving the United States behind was an easy decision, he says.

"I didn't feel as though I was doing anything for anybody," says the AUBG accounting professor. "If I go to the US, there's somebody 30 miles down the road in any direction who's doing exactly what I'm doing. Here in Bulgaria there's no question. You can't be here and not know [your work is] not redundant."

He says that, especially within his department, which offers the business administration major, the university is offering an education not otherwise available in Bulgaria for at least 50 years.

"What we focus on," Dr. Eastergard says, "are Western concepts of measurement, Western techniques, and budgeting and planning, reminding them of farsightedness."

And that's just the kind of nuts and bolts anti-theory students like Alexandra Todorova are looking for.

"It's more practical," says the senior majoring in mass communications. "It's unlike the Bulgarian universities, where there's 300 people in the auditorium, and a lecturer with a mike talking and people just listening, and they never get any chance to ask a question."

Magdalena Ionescu saw an ad for scholarships to AUBG in her native Romania. "Throughout high school I was always told that I can't write, and when I came here, a professor discovered that actually I was very good," she says. "That's the great thing about American schools; they give you the option to try different things and see what you're good at."

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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