Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans

"It's hard to imagine a better way to study abroad: you are welcomed into a family and a home, you are taught by local experts, learn the language, traverse the streets, eat delicious food, explore different cultural scenes, and at the end of the semester you are able to direct your own studies and conduct original research. The experience moves you beyond tourist status, gives context to conversations outside of class, and enables you to ask questions with insight.”

-- Danielle Hayes, Washington University in St. Louis

Gain firsthand knowledge of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, and the struggle for human rights in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

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This program engages students interested in peace and conflict studies, history, international relations, and political science with the ongoing efforts of peacebuilding and reconciliation in the Balkans. Students examine the origins of the conflicts in the Balkans, from the breakup of Yugoslavia to the violent wars of the 1990s, as well as current challenges and opportunities in post-conflict transformation. The program provides an excellent platform from which to  examine processes in the Balkans through a focus on social memory studies, transitional justice, and international intervention.

Engage with peace and human rights activists, academics, and local students
Students meet with local scholars, social activists, students, and peacebuilding and human rights groups who share their analysis, activism, and visions of the future. Lecturers are drawn from academic institutions such as the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University (Belgrade), University of Belgrade, Islamic Faculty in Sarajevo, the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Sarajevo, the University of Prishtina in Kosovo, as well as from local organizations such as the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia).

Experience the effects of conflict on diverse communities in three different countries, including Kosovo after its unilateral declaration of independence
From the program base in the city of Belgrade — Serbia’s vibrant capital and cultural and political center— students travel to other cities, towns, and villages in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. In Kosovo, students witness the different realities and points of view regarding the future of the frozen conflict there. Learn more about the Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina excursions.

Share daily life with a Belgradian family
The program's homestay with a family in Belgrade immerses students in the city’s life and a local community. By living with a family, students can improve their language skills and further explore Serbian culture.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Tacarra Lake (University of New Mexico) studied on the program in spring 2013. In the summer of 2013, Tacarra continued her studies in the Balkans through the Summer University at Srebrenica. Read her reflections on her experiences in the Balkans.

Congratulations to SIT Balkans alumna Uche Esonu (Bowdoin)—now in Croatia on a Fulbright grant! Read Bowdoin’s profile of Uche where she describes the ways in which studying abroad in the Balkans was academically and personally valuable.

Learn more about studying in the Balkans with SIT through the words of program alumna Sarajane Blair:  “The program in the Balkans changed the way I look at conflict, post-conflict societies, and post-conflict studies…and focused my final year of college… The intensive coursework, along with the history of Yugoslavia and our ability to travel within three countries, was more than I could have asked for.”

Sarah Larsson Program alum Sarah Larsson was awarded a 2011 Davis Projects for Peace grant. "The SIT faculty inspired and encouraged me to understand community peacebuilding more deeply — and now I'm starting my own project to expand this work."

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Belgrade

Language Study: Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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