Work and Travel in Kosovo
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN KOSOVO FOR TRAVELLERS
Kosovo is known as one of the poorest countries in Europe. Anyone who wants to work in Kosovo also has to be aware that tensions between neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro have remained high since the formation of Kosovo as a separate country.
But it’s become a common fixture on the backpacking trail of the Balkans in recent years. So if you want to work and travel in Kosovo and discover this country you’re in the right place.
Our travel guide to Kosovo (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kosovo) is going to show you everything you need to know about this country.
1. Work in a Hostel in Kosovo
One of the easiest volunteering opportunities in Kosovo you can secure at short notice is working in a hostel. There are a number of hostels across the country, with most of them only opening in the past five years. This is a great job because you can connect with travellers and locals alike.
Most roles involve cleaning and reception work. In exchange, you’ll be able to take advantage of free accommodation and, sometimes, free food.
The two main centres for working in a hostel are Pristina and Prizren.
2. Support Women’s Empowerment in Kosovo
Women’s rights are a big issue in Kosovo. With much of the population still holding to conservative values, women’s empowerment is an uphill battle.
Join one of the charities there and help women from a range of ethnicities win their rights. There are a range of ways this can happen, such as supporting them in crafts to raise their incomes and spreading awareness of women’s rights in Kosovo.
You don’t need to speak any of the local languages to involve yourself in this type of work in Kosovo.
3. Help the Roma in Kosovo
There’s a significant population of Roma in Kosovo. You’ll soon discover that they are amongst the most abused peoples in the country as you travel in Kosovo.
Charities are operating in Kosovo to help protect the Roma from harm and to help them integrate into society. With so many negative stereotypes of Roma in the region, this is help that’s sorely needed.
You can join these charities and help to educate and raise the incomes of the local Roma people.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR KOSOVO
Kosovo doesn’t have a complex visa policy. All countries in Europe are entitled to enter Kosovo for 90 days before they have to apply for one of the long-term visas (https://aab-edu.net/en/about-aab/welcome-to-kosovo/kosovo-visa-application-requirements-procedures-guideliness/), with the exceptions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Belarus.
This same policy applies to anyone who wants to work and travel in Kosovo from North America, South Africa, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
Despite what many people think, you can travel in Kosovo without a visa even if you’re from a country that doesn’t have a good relationship with Kosovo. Even Serbians, which don’t recognise Kosovo as a country, can enter the country without a visa.
If you come from a country where Kosovo doesn’t have an embassy, you will need to apply for a long-term Kosovan visa in another country (http://www.ambasada-ks.net/us/?page=2,7). Thankfully, practically every Western country recognises Kosovo.
Take note that the presence of a Kosovo stamp won’t bar you entry to Serbia later, and vice-versa. The isolated incidents referenced at the UK foreign office (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kosovo/entry-requirements) are largely a thing of the past.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN KOSOVO
Kosovo enjoys four full seasons across the year. Spring is relatively warm as the snows on the mountains melt. We recommend taking a job working with some of the ethnic minorities in the country. You’ll find a range of them to work with, including the Roma, Bosniaks, and even Egyptians.
You’ll be working directly with their communities and you’ll be spending a lot of time in both urban and rural areas. There are so many options on the table.
The summer season is the main tourist season in Kosovo. If you want to work in a hostel, this is the time to do it. You don’t need to apply long in advance. Many backpackers even stay at the hostels and find a job during their stay.
There are plenty of options, so we recommend checking out Working Traveller’s database a few weeks before starting your trip and securing a position.
Autumn marks the end of the main tourist season, but there are still volunteer opportunities in Kosovo for you to take advantage of.
We recommend teaching English in the country. Many young people recognise the importance of a working knowledge of English and want to learn it. Native speakers will find it easy to get a job. TEFL qualifications allow more lucrative positions with better conditions, but these qualifications are far from necessary.
Like the rest of the Balkans, Kosovo can be bitterly cold at this time of year. There’s little to do in Kosovo, unless you’re teaching English, in winter, so for most travellers we wouldn’t recommend the winter season.
However, if you have prior experience in winter sports, you could work at ski resorts like Brezovica. This is the top ski resort in Kosovo and does get some international tourists every year. Those backpackers who lack experience may struggle to get work, though.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN KOSOVO
Kosovo is an intriguing nation filled with complexity. For a start, understand that the country is made up mainly of Albanians. There are also Serbians, Bosniaks, Roma, Egyptians, Macedonians, and a small contingent of young people who were actually born in an independent Kosovo.
For this reason, you should tread carefully when discussing politics and history. It’s an easy way to acquire a lot of hostility quickly.
Foreigners are welcome because Kosovo’s existence relies entirely on the recognition from other nations. The abundance of American flags across the country will become apparent the moment you begin to travel in Kosovo.
So it’s a great place to work and travel, but you need to make sure you avoid stepping upon the fault lines that makeup Kosovo.
Do you have what it takes to work and travel in Kosovo?
- Edited on Dec 7 2018 by Marichka