Petar Stanchev is the kind of student Bulgaria needs to keep. Last year, according to the country’s Association of Private Universities, more than half of its college-bound students applied to institutions abroad, says the Hechinger Report. The 23-year-old planned to remain in this mountainous, verdant patch of southeastern Europe. For two years, working toward a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he showed up for classes in sociology and media at the prestigious Sofia University. The problem was, his teachers didn’t.

“I had a French teacher who didn’t come to lectures for weeks as though it was normal,” he said. “There were whole groups of us who were waiting for a lecturer who didn’t even bother to send us an email or let us know.” Finally, last spring, Stanchev got so fed up that he left home for university in the United Kingdom…

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