Moldova is a small country in Eastern Europe at the crossroad between east and west. It is surrounded by Ukraine to the northeast and Romania to the southwest with a population of over 3.5 million people. Once known as "the garden" of Soviet Union, it is famous for its wine, the world’s largest wine cellars and its charming countryside. Safe and welcoming, it is one of the few countries with bilingual population (Romanian- and Russian-speaking) with two different alphabets: Cyrillic and Latin.
Moldova has a fascinating history; it was part of Romania during the interwar period, and incorporated into Soviet Union at the close of World War II. Previously it had been an independent nation under Ottoman rule and annexed by Tsarist Russia. Today, Moldova is an independent republic with an autonomous region called Gagauzia and a strip of break-away territory called Transnistria, which has not been recognized by any country. Transnistria is an example of a frozen conflict, which has existed in a state of limbo since 1990. It is distinctive by its Soviet architecture, posters and pro-Russian sentiments. Transnistria State University, located in its capital Tiraspol, offers internationally accredited courses and features satellite campuses in the towns of Rybnitsa and Bender.
Overall, there are 30 universities in Moldova, 18 of which are state institutions and 12 private. The majority are in the capital, Chisinau, including Moldova State University, Technical University, Pedagogical University, Medical University, University of Arts, Academy of Economic Studies and Agricultural University. There is also one state university in the northern city of Balti; one in Comrat, the capital of the Gagauz region; and another in Cahul, in the south of Moldova. The largest and oldest private university is Free Independent University of Moldova (ULIM) in Chisinau.
In 2005, Moldova joined the Bologna Process, which aims to enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education and create a European Higher Education Area. As part of this process, Moldova reformed and modernized its higher education system. Reforms include introducing two cycles of higher education (three to four years of undergraduate studies and one to two years of master's studies), implementing the European transferable credits system and bringing Moldovan legislation in the field of education to European standards. As Moldova progresses through the Bologna Process, the principal issue on the current agendum is assurance of quality throughout the higher education system.
A Fulbright placement in Moldova is a great opportunity for someone who is looking for direct interaction with multi-ethnic republic and its Soviet and Romanian heritage. The Embassy strives to provide opportunities for all Fulbrighters to engage with partners throughout the country, including in Chisinau, Tiraspol, Cahul, Comrat and Balti, regardless of their host institution.