Bosnia and Herzegovina offers a mix of cultures that blend the East and West in the architecture, cuisine, languages and religions. Bosnia and Herzegovina offers the possibility to experience beautiful towering mountains—the site of the 1984 Winter Olympics—forests, historical fortresses, monasteries, and mosques. Bosnians tend to be very direct, sharing their opinions, wishes and criticism in open discussions about current issues.

When they are not in school or studying, young people in Bosnia spend their free time with the family or friends: hanging out around the town, drinking coffee or juice in cafes, going to the cinemas, local youth centres, concerts, etc. If you enjoy sports, this is the place for you: the most popular sport is soccer, but during the winter you can also take advantage of the mountain slopes and try out skiing.

People of Bosnia and Herzegovina

People in Bosnia are often very direct and honest in communication, sharing their opinions, wishes and criticism in open discussions about daily issues. Bosnian people are very friendly, and welcoming with a unique sense of humor. Relationships between parents and children are mostly based on mutual trust even though parents have the final say in many decisions. If you show responsibility and maturity, you might be allowed to make many decisions yourself.

Photo by Habeebee


Photo by Jaime Silva

Host Family & Community

You probably will be hosted in a small town or a rural area of Bosnia. Many people live with their extended family and it’s common for grandparents to care for children while parents work. Your host family will be happy to help you find activities in town, including sports, music and similar activities, which are a good way to meet people and make friends. A handshake or a kiss on the cheek followed by a simple “hello” are the greeting signs to welcome you in your new community.


You will likely attend a gymnasium, which is a typical high school. School runs from Monday through Friday, usually in two shifts: one week you will have classes from 8 am to 2 pm, the other from 2 pm to 8 pm. The class size varies from 20 to 30 students. Some schools have clubs for music, sports, art and drama which are mostly held on Saturdays. You may also get a chance to participate in a one-day or one-weekend school trips within the country or to the neighbouring countries.

Photo by Vitor Antunes
Photo by Brenda Annerl


Bosnia and Herzegovina has three official languages: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. That may sound like a lot to memorize—but don’t worry, once you learn one of these languages, you can basically understand them all. You’ll also want to take advantage of the intensive language courses provided in the first two months of your stay.


Bosnian food is related to Turkish, Greek, and other former Ottoman and Mediterranean cuisines. Most families say Prijatno (enjoy your meal) before they start eating. Typical dishes include ćevapi (grilled, minced meat), pita (a pie stuffed with meat, potato, cheese, spinach or pumpkin), dolma (vegetables stuffed with meat and rice), and baklava (a pastry with sugar syrup) for dessert. Meals also commonly contain beef, lamb and potatoes, and lots of coffee and tea are consumed during the day.

Photo by Zlatko Unger

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.   

Explore the Programs Available in Bosnia and Herzegovina