Work and Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA FOR TRAVELLERS
Bosnia and Herzegovina is known by the Westerner for one thing: the civil war that tore the country to pieces in the 1990s. You’ll still see the evidence of that within the country today.
But this is a nation that has largely recovered from that dark time and it’s now a prime destination in the Balkans. If you feel like you want to work and travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina we have a selection of tips for you.
Take a look at some of the different volunteer opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You won’t find these in an average travel guide for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1. Land Mine Clearance in the Former Yugoslavia
Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina and you’ll soon discover that this is the country with the most landmines in Europe. The country relies on international aid for mine clearance. Skilled volunteers who’re part of organisations like the US Peace Corps may be able to find work in this country. However, it does depend on how lucky you are because Bosnia constantly has to scramble for UN funding to fund the clearances.
2. Rebuilding the Country
Anyone who wants to work and travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina will notice the scars of war still present all over the place. Many buildings were left obliterated by the war and a lot of communities have still yet to recover from the conflict. Volunteers who want to dedicate their time and skills can join programmes dedicated to rebuilding many of the communities destroyed by the war.
Insert yourself into local communities and really get to know people as you help to make their lives that little bit better.
3. Teach English/German in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Non-English speaking countries always need foreigners who can teach them how to speak. But what you may not know is that German is also a highly useful language here. Many war refugees went to Germany and returned with a knowledge of the language. That has left many people with a gap in their knowledge.
So German is extremely helpful and a lot of young people either want to learn it or improve their skills.
If you can speak English or German you can find work in the major cities of Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, and Jajce.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Despite not being in the EU and having no formal agreements with the organisation, Bosnia is a country open to 97 states around the world. The only country in the whole of Europe that it doesn’t allow visa-free entry to is Belarus. EU citizens, people from the UK, and Russians can enter without any problems.
Anyone from North America will also be able to enter without a visa for up to 90 days. The same goes for Australians, Kiwis, the Japanese, and South Koreans.
African citizens, though, will have to provide a normal visa via a visit to the embassy.
It should be noted that unless you’re with an accredited organization, you will have to leave the country for 90 days prior to getting a new 90-day visa upon your return.
On a side note, beware of the extremely bureaucratic system in place in Bosnia. Any paperwork you’re required to fill out for your specific project will take much longer than you think. Always apply much sooner than you expect.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Spring in Bosnia and Herzegovina brings little in the way of seasonal work. It’s not a major farming heartland and most of the economy is for skilled people. Volunteers usually stick to the hostels or specific international-led initiatives in the country at this time of year.
The summer is when the majority of the backpackers make their way to Bosnia. Work and travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina at this time of year and you’ll be able to pick up work in the tourism business.
The major tourism areas are centred upon Mostar and the capital of Sarajevo. The other areas of the country are visited, but the well-trodden backpacking route only takes in these two cities. Working in hostels is an option, however, as they’re available in abundance.
Autumn is the time to start picking up teaching work as this is when the new school year starts. Tuzla, Banja Luka, Mostar, and the other major cities are all options for finding language teaching work.
You should bear in mind that it can be more difficult to find work in the Serbian-controlled third of the country. The northern part is typically closer to Russia and is much more bureaucratic than the rest of the already extremely bureaucratic country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes extremely cold during the winter time. It also has a large number of hills and mountains, so there is a small skiing industry here. Remember that in the 1980s Sarajevo was the host city of the Winter Olympics.
See if you can find some volunteer work at the ski resorts. There aren’t many positions because there are just not a lot of resorts, but if you apply well in advance and know the right people you should be able to find something.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a nation of foreigners itself. Serbians, Bosnians, and Croatians all make up this troubled country. The sight of a foreigner is not particularly newsworthy and mass tourism has helped to rebuild the country following the breakup of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, it’s quite common for Bosnians to go abroad to work in Western European countries.
The only exception is the Serbian part of Bosnia. Travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the north is incredibly rare, with the exception of Serbians. Foreigners don’t stop there so you’re likely to be considered strange if you spend an extended period of time in this part of the country.
You’re unlikely to have any problems at all as you work and travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so begin planning your adventure now!
- Edited on Jan 15 2018 by Yara