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Summer in the Balkans

Summer in the BalkansVisit Five Countries, May 3 – June 9, 2017

Serbia and Belgrade, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Kosovo

Senior Lecturer and former diplomat and Ambassador Vladimir Matic has been organizing programs in his old country since 2006. This is what students say: "amazing," "best experience of my life," "gave me a better understanding of international relations than all my previous studies combined," "had so much fun," "wish I could have stayed longer."

Program Overview

This is a unique opportunity to learn about the world and Europe - a troubled history and current developments, culture and most importantly about people - by living there submerged in a foreign yet safe and friendly environment. You will meet people from all strata of life and absorb new knowledge by socializing with your peers and making friends and experiencing all aspects of life in most vibrant and hospitable European capitals which never sleep and where people live a rich social life. You will enjoy also the countryside – mountains, rivers (rafting) and lakes, unparalleled beauty of the Mediterranean coast, see three of the best preserved medieval cities in the world and experience the magnificent Adriatic Sea beaches. 

A challenging and rewarding program (six credit hours) includes:

  • Briefings by government and other officials, diplomats and journalists, sessions with representatives of nongovernmental organizations and conversations with students.
  • Meetings and discussions with faculty and students arranged in collaboration with the School of Political Sciences in Belgrade and in Podgorica, and Diplomatic Academy in Zagreb.
  • Visits to museums, historic monuments and churches, exhibitions, concerts, opera and ballet, and sightseeing as well as excursions.

The entire program will be conducted in English.

Costs (Mostly Covered by Tuition) and Application

Program fee of $980 includes accommodation in three star hotels in the heart of the cities to be visited, and a villa at the seaside in Montenegro, transportation from the moment of arrival, excursions, museum and event tickets (concerts or opera and ballet), course materials and health insurance. Airfare and tuition are not included. Out-of-state students pay in-state tuition.

NOTE: Only 12 students participate in this opportunity each year. If you want educational enrichment, six credit hours, to visit four countries in one month, and to have the time of your young life, apply now to secure your placement in the program. For more information about the trip or to apply, contact Professor Matic by email ( or in person (230 Brackett Hall).

Application is now online and you will need to provide a name for the recommendation and pay by credit or check card $250 advance on program fee at the time you apply (fully refundable if you are not accepted)

Academic Program

BelgradeCourses offered are POSC 459: Ethnic Violence and POSC 489: The Balkans and the International Community. You may take POSC 410 as the third course (1-3 credits) and earn nine credit hours in one month while having a great time. The program is offered also to graduate students (POSC 878: Selected Topics).

Monday through Friday program will be based on the following schedule:

  • 9-10:30 a.m. - Review and critical analysis of the program/meetings of the previous day followed by a lecture/presentation and discussion.
  • 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Visits to museums, monuments, churches, etc.
  • 2:30-4 p.m. - Meetings with local representatives and conferences.
  • There will also be meetings with local students and discussion (topics may be proposed by both sides in advance).

You will learn and develop skills through interaction with Serbian, Montenegrin and Croatian students and faculty and high ranking officials. After having spent a month there you'll be enriched by an experience which will make you cosmopolitan in more ways than one. Your horizons will be broadened and you will be able to better understand developments in Europe and have your own opinion about major issues. Most importantly, you will better understand your own country and its policy and culture and more fully appreciate its diversity and core values so you can carry on the torch successfully in the 21st century.

Recent History of the Balkans

Former Yugoslavia was one of the pillars of European security structure throughout the Cold War and played an important role in international politics based on its strategic position, its fiercely independent policy, and its exceeding by far its own power and size. In the early 1990s, this federation began unraveling and today there are seven sovereign states in its place. The process of disintegration was violent and heinous crimes were committed very often by nationalist paramilitary groups against civilian population in what was named ethnic cleansing – attempts to create ethnically pure national states.

There have been no military conflicts or violence since the 1995 Dayton agreements, which ended carnage in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, but the international community remains heavily involved in the area in order to stabilize it. Some NATO forces still provide security in Kosovo, and the U.N. and European Union are involved in administering it. The EU and the United States are also still involved in governance of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia is a member of NATO and the EU (since 2014), while Serbia and Montenegro are negotiating accession to the EU.

The Balkans achieved progress in the past decade and attracts visitors by the natural beauty and rich cultural history. Most importantly, visitors are spellbound by the atmosphere and hospitality. Their enjoyment of still inexpensive cultural events and delicious food is surpassed only by the joy of discovery of a new world and making new friends.

Serbia and Belgrade


Serbia has been recovering since 2000, when their autocratic leader Milosevic was removed from power. The assistance of the international community, in particular the EU and the U.S., has been massive, but the economy is lagging behind and the ongoing transformation is very slow. The position of consecutive governments, supported by the public, is to keep moving toward membership in the EU and building democratic institutions.

Belgrade, a jewel of European tourism, is a city with almost two million people. Its center - the old city - is small enough to get acquainted within a few days and start feeling at home. People are very friendly and most, especially the young, speak English.

The city connects northern and southern Europe, East and West, and Europe and Asia. Belgrade is the crossroads where civilizations met and armies and empires clashed, and where religions engaged in the struggle for souls. In Belgrade, cultures and ideas fused to create a rich and unique environment combining European finesse and Asian refinement.

Numerous museums provide vivid displays of Serbia’s rich cultural heritage. Belgrade boasts some of the greatest nightlife to be found anywhere in Europe. The city has world-class opera, ballet and music. It is also famous for its restaurants and clubs, many with live music and all with cuisine combining the best of the European and Asian cultures. Outdoor cafes abound throughout the city’s center.


It declared independence on 2008 and is in transition towards full sovereignty and international recognition negotiating with Serbia under the mediation of the European Union. Unresolved issues include position of the Serbian minority in the country where Albanians are almost ninety present of the population as well as property, communications etc.

Kosovo is former province of Serbia and the cradle of Serbian medieval state. It hosts some of the oldest and most beautiful orthodox monasteries. The capital Prishtina is a lively fast growing city welcoming foreign visitors and in particular Americans. It is full of young people who congregate in numerous cafes and restaurants serving local and oriental food.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

bosniaThis former republic of Yugoslavia was most ethnically heterogeneous. The conflicts from 1992 to 1995 accounted more than 100,000 casualties, displacement of 60 percent of the population, and genocide. This resulted in the creation of three ethnically pure territorial units. The international community accepted and even legalized this in 1995 to end the armed conflicts. The recovery has been very slow since nationalists remained in power. Today, notwithstanding the economic, social and political problems, there is peace in this beautiful and ethnically diverse country.

The capital, Sarajevo, is a unique mixture of European and oriental architecture as well as culture. Within a couple of hundred yards one can see a medieval mosque, a synagogue, an orthodox church and a catholic cathedral. The old city is well preserved and offers dining and shopping not to be found anywhere else. This is the place where Austro-Hungarian Prince Ferdinand was assassinated in June 1914, which triggered the Great War.


montenegroThe Mediterranean has attracted adventure seekers as well as poets for centuries. Madonna was just one in a long series of famous visitors of this fascinating country where majestic mountains reach all the way to the lovely beaches washed by clear blue sea. The coast is dotted with medieval towns which offer beauty, serenity and hospitality off the beaten tourist paths. This proud, small nation, independent again since 2006, has a rich history, and many Roman and Byzantine monuments are preserved, along with later cultural influences of Venice and Austria. In addition to national dishes, it offers famous prosciutto and Njeguski cheese made by mountain peasants for centuries.


MontenegroThe Dalmatian coast shares a rich history of the Mediterranean. Ulysses sailed along this coast and visited islands. It was frequented by the ancient Greeks, ruled by Romans – many monuments and palaces still exist – Venetia, France and Austria before becoming part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia after World War I. Ancient cities and beautiful beaches are all along the coast. No wonder it has been a tourist Mecca ever since people started traveling. Dubrovnik, a medieval city holds a prominent place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage because of its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces, streets with fountains and buildings mostly from 13th and 16th centuries. You will walk the stone paved streets and the walls of the fortress, which once protected this city republic.

Croatia’s capital Zagreb – with a beautiful typically central European old city - is bursting with life. It offers walks through streets dotted with cafes with outdoor tables and a rich nightlife.

National Park Plitvice Lakes, in the mountains between Zagreb and the Adriatic coast, is a unique natural phenomenon – a set of lakes connected by waterfalls. Its transparent green waters and serene surroundings excite and calm visitors at the same time.

Student Impressions About the Program