Bosnia and Herzegovina


Study in BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA with YES Abroad!

Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina is nearly landlocked, except for a 16 mile stretch of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. The central and southern interior parts of the country are mountainous, while the northwest of the country is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The majority of the country has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters.

YES Abroad students selected to participate on the program in Bosnia and Herzegovina will spend their academic year in either Sarajevo or Banja Luka. With a population of over 300,000 people, Sarajevo is the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the largest city in the country. Often called the "Jerusalem of Europe" or the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," Sarajevo is famous for its traditional religious diversity. Adherents of Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism have coexisted here for centuries.

Banja Luka is the administrative and cultural center of Republic of Srpska, one of the two states in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the second biggest city in the country, with a population of more than 250,000. Known for it’s greenery, Banja Luka is a peaceful city, surrounded by rolling hills and situated on the river Vrbas.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to three major ethnic groups or so-called "constituent peoples," a term unique to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosniaks (Muslim) are the largest group of the three, with Serbs (Orthodox Christian) second, and Croats (Catholic) third. However, traditional religious identifications do not always match up with current religious practices, and citizens are increasingly separating their ethnic identity from their religious beliefs. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is usually referred to in English as Bosnian.

Learn more about being a YES Abroad student in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Host Family

Students will live with host families in order to experience true immersion in the local culture. Families are selected based on recommendations by members of the local community, and each family is carefully screened by American Councils staff. Families are carefully vetted through a thorough application process and are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. In addition to a host family, participants will also have access to an American Councils staff member, who will serve as a local coordinator.

Your High School

Students attend public high schools in both Banja Luka and Sarajevo. The primary language of instruction will be English. School typically runs Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and uniforms are not customary. While there are no official extramural or extracurricular activities at the school, students will have a Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) requirement that provides opportunities for students to participate in activities organized by the school.

The Political & Security Environment

The United States enjoys good relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an active member in organizations such as the UN, WHO, ICC and ILO.

For more information, visit the CIA World Factbook.

Health & Safety

With a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2002, American Councils is able to draw on strong local connections for a deep understanding of the intercultural, health, safety, and security issues. Prior to departure and upon arrival, students are given safety briefings by American Councils staff. They will also have a security briefing by the U.S. Embassy's Security Office and will be given assistance in registering with the Embassy to receive travel alerts. American Councils works closely before arrival and throughout the exchange year to discuss and prepare for students' well-being. YES Abroad students are covered by medical as well as Political and Security Evacuation benefits. Students will have access to a 24-hour emergency number, and our staff members are thoroughly trained. Each student will be given a cell phone upon arrival, and will be given the contact number for their local support representative and his/her local American Councils-Bosnia and Herzegovina office. In the case of an emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States. This number is made available to both students and their parents while on program. For further information on Bosnia and Herzegovina, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.

Enrichment Activities

Students will have the opportunity to take part in various activities to increase their interaction with local peers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Activities may include field trips, sporting events, cultural excursions, social outings, and community service projects. Examples of previous enrichment activities include: 

  • Meeting with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy;
  • Exploring host cities;
  • Trips to various cities and towns, including Mostar, Tuzla,Travnik, Pocitelj, and Trebinje;
  • Cultural days with Bosnian YES alumni who studied in the United States;
  • Community service activities, such as volunteering at local animal shelters, participating in clothing and food drives, clean-up campaigns, and helping organizations that work with children with disabilities or orphanages. Participation in volunteer activities in honor of Global Youth Service Day have also been a tradition with YES Abroad students in Bosnia since the launch of the program in 2012.