Year — Fall 2020
Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity! By living with a host family and attending a local school in Serbia you’ll be totally immersed in this fascinating culture. You’ll have the chance to gain a completely new perspective and discover things about yourself that you never thought were possible. Study abroad in Serbia to gain an in-depth understanding of a rich political history of a country that is redefining itself and its peoples. Join other teenagers from all over the world on an amazing journey!
Serbs are generally very outgoing and talkative. They’re laid back and relaxed and one of the first phrases you might learn is nema problema – no problem! People eat lots of meat in Serbia – be prepared for it to be a part of nearly every meal. Generosity and hospitality are very important qualities, so plan to bring a small gift like flowers or food when visiting friends for the first time.
Your adventure will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFS students from the United States, although it’s possible you’ll be the only one traveling to Serbia. You’ll attend an overnight orientation, where you’ll learn some important information about your first few days in Serbia and get a chance to talk to a cultural expert who recently spent time in the region. Then you’ll fly to Belgrade, where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers!
On your way to your host family you’ll have a chance to see some of the sights. You might see rivers, fertile plains, and mountains. In the towns and cities you’ll hear people engaged in lively conversations, often about politics and the state of the country, and in the countryside you’re bound to hear Serbia’s distinctive folk music. If you pass by uninhabited buildings, don’t be surprised to see bright artists’ murals or installations covering the walls. The churches, too, will likely be covered in mosaics or frescoes, though these may be hundreds of years old.
You might live in a community in any part of Serbia, from the cities along the Danube River in the north to more rural towns and villages in the mountainous southern region. While every family is different, in general you can expect that you’ll have more host siblings in rural areas than in urban ones. No matter where you are in Serbia though you’ll probably find that extended family helps take care of the kids while the parents are working.
During vacation Serbian families enjoy going to the beach and boating on the many lakes and rivers. If you like fishing and hunting, Serbia is an ideal spot for you. You can also expect to spend some quiet evenings at home with your family talking and watching TV. Don’t be surprised if your host family keeps piling food on your plate, food is an extremely important aspect of Serbian family life!See where past AFSers have lived
As a teenager in Serbia you can plan to spend a lot of time hanging out with large groups of friends. Serbs are very social and outgoing and they tend to be very open with each other about personal, emotional issues. You’ll find that being a good listener is a very valuable skill! Soccer, tennis, and basketball are the most popular sports and young Serbs also enjoy hanging out at cafes and local neighborhood restaurants.
Serbian food is a mix of Turkish, Greek, and central European ingredients and flavors. Bean soup and stuffed cabbage rolls are very popular and you’ll also have the chance to try lots of delicious pastries and local cheeses. Dinner is often eaten pretty late and tends to be something quick like pizza or pasta but you’ll have plenty of chances to snack throughout the day. Often on Sundays extended families will get together to eat a traditional lunch, where they might serve roasted pork and potatoes.
At school you’ll get to make lots of new friends and learn all about Serbian history and society. School in Serbia runs from September to June. The school day is broken up into two shifts, one from 8AM to 2PM and the other from 2PM to 8PM. Like in many countries, you’ll wear a uniform. Most schools in Serbia offer some extracurricular activities and if you like dancing and music you should definitely join a Serbian folk music group!
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.