Bosnia and Herzegovina is quickly becoming a draw with study abroad students for its affordability, rich culture and easy access to a dizzying array of outdoor activities.
Located in southeastern Europe, it boasts stunning mountain ranges and coastal beaches along the Adriatic Sea, making it not a bad place to call home.
Modern Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to be a unique blend of East and West as the result of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires leaving their legacies here. This country is an ideal place to study conflict resolution and diplomacy as a prime example of a nation that has successfully rebuilt itself, leaving its recent dark past behind.
Photo Credit: Alen Djuderija Photography
Where to Go
This city never disappoints as a place to study with its storied history and diverse cultural influences. Lose yourself in the centrally located Bascarsija (Old Turkish Town) with its regal mosques, colorful shops and fragrant cafes. Head to the mountains only 12 miles from the city limits to ski at some of Europe’s best value slopes. With five universities in Sarajevo, the city naturally caters well to students’ needs and interests.
American University of Sarajevo (AUBIH)
Established in 2005, AUBIH is a small private university. The professors hail mainly from the United States, as well as a few from Europe and Bosnia. For study abroad students, there is a special curriculum that focus on the recent Bosnian War and transition to democracy. Classes include: Diplomacy and International Relations, Conflict Resolution, Nationalism, Genocide and State-Building.
International University of Sarajevo (IUS): Founded in 2004, IUS is a private university that boasts 1100 students from 22 countries around the world. The full-time student body is 1,500. The university is made up of several different colleges, including: Engineering and Natural Sciences, Business and Public Administration, Arts and Social Sciences and Education.
With its iconic Old Bridge high above the Neretva River and red-roofed houses in sharp contrast with the surrounding, emerald green mountains, this enchanting city is an ideal place for studying abroad. Cheer on locals as they conquer their fear of heights when they take the 65-foot plunge off the Old Bridge. Marvel at the nighttime transformation that this city goes through at dusk as thousands of lights set the stage for lively nighttime festivities.
University Džemal Bijedić of Mostar
Established in 1977, this public university consists of eight colleges: Agro-Mediterranean, Civil Engineering, Economy, Education, Humanities, Information Technologies, Law and Mechanical Engineering. The student body is approximately 12,000 students. This university makes a strong effort to collaborate and create connections with other universities around the world to provide a more global education.
University of Mostar
Founded in 1977, this public university has a student body of 16,000. This school is the only university that has Croatian as its official language in Bosnia. The different academic departments are: Agriculture and Food Technology, Economics, Civil Engineering, Medicine, Health Sciences, Pharmacy, Philosophy, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Engineering and Fine Arts. This university is a member of the Balkan Universities Network, which helps promote collaboration in education, research and student exchange within the region.
Planning Your Trip
The university school year in Bosnia and Herzegovina is based off of the European academic calendar. The fall semester begins in early October and ends in mid-January. The spring semester begins in early February and ends in late May. In some universities, there is the option for an intensive summer program for study abroad students from early June to late July.
American and international universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have English as their official language of instruction. Major local universities usually provide some courses in English, especially if they have a large international student population. There are opportunities to learn Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian (the three official languages) either with courses associated with the university or lessons by private schools.
Common housing options for students studying abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina are affordable apartments with roommates or a homestay if a student wants a deeper immersion into Bosnian culture through a local family.
Classes will only be a fraction of the experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a study abroad student. For avid travelers the location of this country allows for easy access to the rest of southeastern Europe. For thrill seekers the mountains await for skiing and rock climbing. For culture vultures traditional holidays and festivals that celebrate the diversity of culture and religion in this region can easily fulfill curious minds.
With a reputable extreme sports culture, history around each corner and a lively café-bar scene that amplifies as the sun sets, Bosnia and Herzegovina is an ideal study abroad destination that should be considered by every student!
For American, EU or Canadian students who plan on studying under three months, a visa is not required. Otherwise, a temporary residence permit should be obtained, which will be valid for a maximum of 12 months.
Costs & Funding
Plan to budget around $20-40 USD a day for food, transportation, souvenirs, and other personal expenses depending on your everyday lifestyle.
Programs can either be taken through a provider or enrolled directly through a university. Tuition is generally around $12,000 USD for a semester long stay. If room and board is covered through the program, it is usually through a homestay, which will cost around $4,000 USD. This also usually means that food is included, so keep that in mind. Some programs also take the students on special excursions as well, so look at what your program provides carefully.
If you enroll directly with a university's study abroad program, they may not provide you with or guarantee student housing. If that's the case, they may direct you to a nearby student hotel, which will typically cost around $60 a night for a single bed.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program rewards U.S. undergraduate students who do not have the financial means to study abroad. This scholarship encourages its recipients to choose non-traditional destinations outside of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.