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Study Abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina

With its rich history influenced by both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, Bosnia and Herzegovina offers you the opportunity to rewrite your high school experience amid a diverse mix of cultures. Bosnia is an emerging tourist destination, and you can be one of the first to blaze the trail to this dynamic country. By living with a host family and attending a local high school, you’ll be able to learn the language and experience life as a regular teenager. This is more than just a year abroad; it’s a chance to step outside of your comfort zone and build your own adventure in a fascinating and little-known destination.

Things to Know About Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has three official languages: Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian. That may sound like a lot of vocab to memorize—but don’t worry, once you learn one of these languages, you can basically understand them all. You’ll find that people in Bosnia value honesty and directness. They’re usually very friendly, with a unique brand of unguarded humor.

What's included in your experience

  • 70 Years Experience

Eligibility

Graduates Eligible? Current high school students and recent graduates are eligible.
Minimum GPA Must be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.5 or above).
Age Range
Language Skills Basic Cyrillic language skills preferred, but not required.
COVID-19 Vaccine Strongly recommended, not required*

*AFS cannot predict and is not responsible for changes to host school or government health requirements which may change from the time of application and could impact program eligibility.

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

Your Journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Visa Information

AFS will provide visa guidance and support documents (if applicable). Visa processes can be lengthy and complex; you may be required to travel long distances to apply for the visa if there is not an embassy, consulate, etc. close to your home. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond a return date from your host country. We urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible if applying to an AFS program. We recommend not taking any trips (domestically or internationally) within 2 months prior to your AFS program as it may interfere with the visa application process and result in a late program start date.

Travel & Orientation

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience.

Also during this time, AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you.You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Bosnia & Herzegovina will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers…as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Bosnian culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.

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Your Accommodations

Meeting your Bosnian Host Family

AFSers have lived in communities all throughout Bosnia. The country is full of small towns so you’ll most likely find yourself in a somewhat rural area. Like anywhere in the world, all families in Bosnia are different. Many Bosnians live with their extended family and it’s common for grandparents to care for children while parents are at work. Once you settle in, you can expect to be treated like part of the family. That means you’ll be included in your family members’ daily lives, whether it’s by helping your host parents make dinner, doing the dishes, or sharing late-night conversations with your host siblings. Above all, your Bosnian family is a great resource for cultural exchange; they can make you feel at home in their country while you teach them traditions from yours.

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Your High School in Bosnia

When you study abroad in Bosnia, you’ll most likely be enrolled in an academic high school, called a gymnasium. Most gymnasiums offer four directions: natural subjects (chemistry, biology, and physics), math informatics (math, computer science, and physics), languages (English, German, French, Spanish, or Latin) and social subjects (Geography, History and Sociology). In some schools students only have classes in the morning or afternoon, not both, so you’ll get time each day to relax and explore your community. You’ll also want to take advantage of the intensive language courses provided in the first two months of your stay.

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Daily Life

Teenage life

In Bosnia you’ll probably spend most of your time with friends hanging out in cafes, parks, and town squares. Since most AFSers live in small communities, you’ll have the chance to grow close with your classmates and neighbors. Sports are popular, especially soccer, and are a good way to meet new people. School clubs and activities usually meet on Saturdays. You might also be able to take advantage of the country’s sloping landscape by going skiing or rafting.

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Food You’ll Encounter

If you love coffee, you’ll be happy to know that most Bosnians drink it every day. Food in Bosnia is similar to Turkish, Greek, and other Mediterranean cuisines. Typical dishes include pilav (rice pilaf, or rice cooked in broth), ćevapi (grilled, minced sausage), dolma (vegetables stuffed with meat and rice), and baklava (a pastry with syrup or honey) for dessert. Some other ingredients you’ll encounter are beef, lamb, and potatoes. Before eating, your Bosnian host family might say, “Prijatno,” which means, “enjoy your meal.”

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Bosnia and Herzegovina?
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country)
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex)
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one. When you return home from your study abroad in Bosnia, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.

That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning. It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.