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YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
If you are a secondary school student in Bosnia & Herzegovina interested in applying for the YES Program, please click here for more information.
Age Range: 15 - 17 years of age at program commencement.
Host Communities: Students are hosted in Sarajevo.
Language: The language of instruction is Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and or English. Host families speak Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and some speak English.
Study in SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA with YES Abroad
Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply 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 and snowy winters.
Sarajevo is where YES Abroad students will spend their academic year. With a population of over 300,000 people, Sarajevo is the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the largest city in the country.
Often called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or the “Jerusalem of Balkans”, Sarajevo is famous for its traditional religious diversity. Adherents of Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism have coexisted here for centuries.
The history of Sarajevo dates back to prehistoric times rising to prominence during the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. More recently, Sarajevo was at the center of the Bosnian War, when it lay under siege from 1992-1996. Today, the city is undergoing a post-war reconstruction, and in 2011, Sarajevo became the first city outside of the European Union to be nominated as a European Capital of Culture, for 2014.
The country 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. Traditional religious identifications do not always match up with current religious practices, however. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is usually referred to in English as Bosnian.
Students will live in a host family in order to experience a true immersion into Bosnian culture. Families are selected based on recommendations from members of the local community, and each family is carefully screened by American Councils staff and volunteers. Due to the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is multicultural, multi-religious, and multiethnic country, you may be placed in Muslim, Catholic, Christian Orthodox, or Jewish family. It is also likely that someone in your host family will speak some English. All host family residences will be located in safe neighborhoods with access to reliable public transportation.
Your High School
The school where students take classes is in a very safe neighborhood and within either walking distance or a 15 to 20 minute drive from the host family home. The school’s enrollment is similar to that of an average American high school, with 1,000 students or less. There are two main languages of instruction: Bosnian for the national program (also called Croatian or Serbian), and English for the IB program, which you will attend. A schedule of classes would likely include history, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer technology, physical education, and a foreign language (for example, Bosnian literature, German, or French).
You will have the opportunity to take part in various non-scholastic activities while in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Examples of potential activities include:
The Political & Security Environment
Despite the war in 1990s and the challenging political environment, the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is stable, and it provides safe environment for exchange students. Sarajevo hosts many international organizations, embassies, and administrative units of the United States and European Union. It has a large community of international visitors who live and work here, and it is the site of the largest the U.S. Embassy in the region. All of these factors make Sarajevo even safer than one could presume given its history.
While Bosnia is still economically recovering from the war in 1990s and some Bosnians may be dissatisfied with the pace of change, Bosnia’s federal government is working closely with the European Union, European Commission, and other international organizations on its political, social, and economic reforms. Additionally, American Councils maintains a close relationship with the U.S. Embassy to keep students informed about what is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina during their stay.
Health & Safety
With a long-term presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region of Southeast Europe as a whole, American Councils is able to draw on strong local connections and a deep understanding of the intercultural, health, safety, and security issues inherent to studying in the Balkans. YES Abroad students will be covered by medical and dental insurance provided by the U.S. government. Any dental work not covered by insurance is affordable compared to costs in the U.S. Lastly, students will have access to a 24-hour emergency number, and American Councils staff members are thoroughly trained to deal with any incidents that may occur.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
A limited number of applicants who are high school graduates at the start of the program will be considered for placement in the following countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, Thailand and Turkey
For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Additional Eligibility Information:
The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. Also, ECA wants to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs. Therefore, in addition to the specific requirements for each program, an applicant for ECA-funded youth exchange programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Click here for more information about applying for the YES Abroad program.
Studying abroad in high school can benefit your child in a multitude of ways. The decision to allow your child to participate can be difficult. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not YES Abroad is the right choice for your child. We compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, e-mail the YES Abroad Advisor or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
Who will support my child while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have competitively been awarded grants by the U.S. State Department to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the U.S. support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on the program, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in their community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local cell phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
As a parent, how can I help promote the well-being of my child?
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history in the forms provided in the application. This information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but is considered in making country and host family assignments. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s participation. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program.
What is the involvement of the U.S. Department of State and embassies abroad?
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Where will my child be living?
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a school in their community alongside local peers.
What happens in the case of an emergency?
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
Will my child have medical coverage while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country.
What costs are covered?
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: room and board for the In-Person Selection Event (for semi-finalists); round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for finalists); in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; and visa fees.
What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include: costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport; required medical examinations and immunizations; and extra pocket money while on program.
How will YES Abroad help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.