Graduate Global Pharmaceutical Study Abroad Student Experience (USC 2022)

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Los Angeles
Max People : 20
Tour Details

Stone & Compass is excited to partner with the University of Southern California to offer an immersive study abroad program to Bulgaria. 


May 16 – 27, 2022

Departure & Return Location

Los Angeles, California


University of Southern California Graduate Students


Day 1
Travel to Bulgaria

We will take a late afternoon/early evening flight from LAX to Sofia Bulgaria. This will be an overnight flight with a stop in one of Europe’s large cities. Arrival in Sofia, Bulgaria is on the afternoon of day 2 taking into account the 7 hour time difference.

Day 2
Arrive in Bulgaria

In the early afternoon we will arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria. We spend the night in Sofia and adjust to our new surroundings.

Day 3
Sofia Tour and Visit to Sofia University

Today we step back in time…we will all take a historic walking tour of Sofia! The Founder of Balkan Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization working in the field of cultural preservation will lead the walk. Traverse the Roman roads, head into the catacombs, and visit Nevsky Cathedral. At lunch we will meet with National Government officials to discuss how Bulgaria is playing a pivotal role in the region. Members of the Government and former UN officials who work in the health sector will join us to discuss the challenges Bulgaria faces in the health sector due to its unique geographical location as a crossroad between Europe and Asia and Bulgaria’s large Roma population. After lunch we will visit Sofia University and meet with faculty and students in the Biological Health Department. In the late afternoon we will head to the Stone and Compass retreat center, our home away from home. The evening is spent enjoying a welcome dinner and a traditional Bulgarian dancing and music show.

Day 4
Roma Health Cultural Exchange

Amalipe is a Roma led organization that is dealing directly with the wellfare of the largest gypsy concentration of people in Europe. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the challnges this group has with accessing medicine and healthcare. Students will also be able to assess how the new Stone and Compass Health initiative can better serve the Roma population through student participation with Amlipe. Bulgaria is now home to some half million Roma who lack access to many of the health serivces in Bulgaria.

In the late afternoon we will enjoy an outing to Nicopolis Ad Istrum, an ancient Roman complex.

Day 5
Tour of Sevlievo Hospital, Devetashka Cave, and Krushina Waterfalls

On this day students and faculty will get a tour of the hospital and learn how drugs and the pharmaceutical industry works on a larger scale. A compare/contrast opportunity will commence as students gain a deeper understanding of the differences in the health and pharmaceutical fields between the United State and Bulgaria. Students and faculty will meet with hospital staff.

In the afternoon let’s get out into Nature! Hiking out in the beauty of natural Bulgaria you will enjoy these magnificent caves and waterfalls in the morning. Return to the center in the afternoon for lectures in the big barn. Local officials will visit the center and talk with students about how international non-profits are helping to revive the local villages and how sustainability initiatives are becoming a key to the future.

Day 6
Natural Health and Traditional Herbal Day and visit to Etara

Today students and faculty get to enjoy a classroom setting at the Stone and Compass Center! Professionals in Homeopathic health and traditional herbal medicines will visit the center and give lectures to our students. Students and faculty will learn about the medicinal uses of many endemic and local plants. Students and faculty will also get to partake in the unique opportunity as we create a medicinal herbal garden at the center!

In the late afternoon we take a break from studying and you will all get to visit an ethnographic open air living museum “Etara” where you will get to see craftsmen working on traditional water powered machinery. A great place to sample traditional sweets and baked goods and buy handcrafts to bring home to your family and friends. We will meet with the managers of this facility and learn how Bulgaria is utilizing student tourism as a way of creating new opportunities to increase economic welfare in rural areas.

Day 7
Veliko Tarnovo and Tsaravets Fortress

Today enjoy a day trip to the 2nd Bulgarian empire’s capital city of Veliko Tarnovo. Students will visit a local pharmacy and learn how different the pharmacies are compared to those in the United States. Students will also learn about how health insurances work in Bulgaria.

In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to climb Tsaravets Fortress which was the hub of this medieval city. Shopping, gelato, and traditional crafts make Veliko a favorite of all who visit. Learn why Veliko Tarnovo is going through an economic boom. We will also visit with local crafters and meet the director of archaeological excavations for the region. On this day we will also have our second set of meetings with the non-profit organization AMALIPE during a dinner meeting with the head of the organization. Utilizing information gained over the previous days experiences, students and faculty will begin to develop a health proposal for the Roma that can be implemented in the new Stone and Compass Health Clinic. Cultural challenges will be discussed and solutions and ideas addressed during this dinner meeting.

Day 8
Visit the site of the new Stone and Compass Health Clinic

Today we get dirty. Students and faculty have an opportunity to help the local community by being directly involved in the creation and setting of the health clinic. Spaces will be looked at and the needs of local populations will be discussed as we plan out the logistics of this new clinic. This is an incredible opportunity to have a hands on experience that will directly impact local lives.

Day 9
Shipka Pass

Spend one last morning enjoying a breakfast at the Stone and Compass center before we head into the mountains and stop at the famous Shipka Pass; the site of the final battle between Bulgarian and Russian forces to overthrow the Ottoman Empire. In the late afternoon we will arrive in Plovdiv! This ancient city formerly known as Philipopolis was founded by King Philip, the father of Alexander the Great.

Day 10

In the afternoon we visit the Museum of Pharmacy and take a late afternoon tour of the historic district of Plovdiv. Tonight is something special as we spend the night in the city and enjoy Plovdiv under the lights.

Day 11
Plovdiv and Sofia

In the afternoon we visit the Museum of Pharmacy and take a late afternoon tour of the historic district of Plovdiv. Tonight is something special as we spend the night in the city and enjoy Plovdiv under the lights.

Return to Sofia for an afternoon tour of the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company and a final farewell dinner.

Day 12
Travel Home

Wake today and cherish the memories you have made as we head back to the US.


Price Includes

  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Translator
  • Museum/Historical Site Admission Fees
  • Ground Transportation
  • Tour Guide(s)
  • Tips
  • Health Insurance

Price Excludes

  • Round-trip Airfare
  • Private ExpensesGifts, souvenirs, etc.

Payment must be made in full at time of booking. Price does not include round-trip airfare.

Total Price


Due: April 15, 2022