Teaching English in Bosnia‏‎ and Herzegovina

Bosnia (or to give it its full name, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a relatively new country in the Balkans in South-East Europe which, by all recent accounts, is looking for TEFL teachers as the demand for English grows.

Although situated in Europe, Bosnia is not part of the EU yet so it is relatively easy for Americans and other non-European passport holders to get a visa to work here. Many people speak English to a greater or lesser extent and Italian and German are also popular. Note that Bosnia is aiming to join the EU so this situation is likely to change in perhaps 10 years or so.

The capital, Sarejevo, is where most of the work can be found. It’s cheap to live there and hospitable and renowned as a beautiful and vibrant city.

Pay starts at about 1,000 BAM per month or €500 ($632 USD, £402) but can rise to 1,400 BAM or €700 ($885 USD, £563) which is over 3 times the average salary.

As an example of costs, your biggest expense is likely to be accommodation which runs at about 300 BAM per month €150 ($190 USD, £121) for a small apartment outside the big cities, a little more in places like Sarajevo.

Aside from Sarajevo, jobs can be found in Bijeljina, Brcko and Zvornik. The qualifications you need will depend on the school and although the norm is a degree and a 120hr TEFL Certificate, you may be able to find work without them if you are already in the country and lucky.

Teaching & Living Conditions

Students in Bosnia are often found to be polite and respectful of their teachers. As English is often seen as a way to improve their living and career opportunities they are keen to learn and make the most of the lessons; likewise your DoS or school boss will expect you to be professional in your approach and teaching. It’s not a country for backpacker teachers!

There are some expats in Bosnia but not that many; it is a country which is easy to dive into if you like that kind of lifestyle – it’s not one where great groups of expat teachers keep apart from the locals and live an almost separate life.

The country itself is fairly small with a population of about 4.5 million of various ethnic groups. Weatherwise it enjoys hot summers and cold winters and some stunningly beautiful countryside. Although signs of the 1990s war are still evident (off the beaten path the countryside is still riddled with landmines and it wise not to wander randomly in the countryside) it is an open, hospitable country now which welcomes visitors from abroad with very hospitable locals.

One comment often made is that the organization and red tape can get a little getting used to!

Useful Links

Teaching English in Europe – about working in Europe in general

Teaching in the EU for Non-Europeans – how non-Europeans can work in Europe

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Posted in Country Guides.

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