The American Councils Balkan Language Initiative provides graduate students, undergraduates, scholars, and working professionals the unique opportunity to study Balkan language and culture in an overseas, immersion setting. Expert faculty from leading local universities and educational institutions conduct courses during Fall, Spring, Summer, and Academic-Year terms. Students with at least two years of college-level instruction in the host-country language are eligible to apply.
The Balkan Language Initiative provides overseas, immersion instruction in the following languages:
Graduate students, working professionals, and advanced undergraduates who have completed one year of college-level study in the target language, Russian, or a language related to the target language are eligible to apply.
Participants may select semester, academic year, or summer programs. The semester program provides approximately 14 weeks of study; the academic year program provides approximately 28 weeks; and the summer program provides approximately seven weeks. Program dates vary by host country; approximate dates are:
Fall Semester: September 1 – December 20
Participants receive approximately 15 hours per week of classroom instruction, led by expert faculty from leading local universities and educational institutions. Courses are designed to strengthen speaking, listening, reading, and writing proficiency in the language of study. Courses in literature, history, politics, culture, and area studies are available for advanced students.
Students are enrolled in either small group classes or individual tutorials. If enrolled in small-group classes, they receive approximately 20 hours per week of in-class instruction; if studying in tutorials, participants are provided approximately 12 contact hours per week, with the understanding that each tutorial hour will require at least three hours of preparation outside the classroom. All classes are conducted in the target language by full-time faculty members of the host institution who have extensive experience teaching foreign students.
Participants are offered the chance to meet with tutors their own age several hours a week. Peer tutors introduce participants to local young people, accompany participants on sightseeing tours, organize cultural activities (cinema, museum, etc.), and provide students with academic support. Peer tutors are expected to speak only the local language with participants.
Participants receive graduate or undergraduate academic credit through Bryn Mawr College. Semester participants receive 16 undergraduate or 15 graduate semester hours; academic year participants receive 32 undergraduate semester or 30 graduate semester hours; summer participants receive 8 undergraduate or 10 graduate semester hours.
Participants live with local host families. Host families expose students to authentic, contemporary language in informal social settings and provide supportive environments for students to test their growing language skills. All families are screened, selected, and monitored by local American Councils staff. They provide two meals per day; participants are guaranteed private rooms and telephone access.
Many colleges and universities provide financial aid for participation in American Councils programs. Funding from the National Security Education Program (NSEP), the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and the U.S. Department of Education Title VI (FLAS) may also be applicable to this program.
Summer Program: March 1