The Balkan Language Initiative offers intensive, highly- individualized instruction in Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, and Serbian in five different countries. Through homestays, conversation partners, in-class instruction, and a wide range of extracurricular activities, participants enjoy an unprecedented opportunity to immerse themselves in daily local life in a region largely unserved by study abroad programs.
Students may select from the following cities Tirana (Albania), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Skopje (Macedonia), or Belgrade (Serbia). Please note that additional locations have not been approved by Ohio State.
Students will live with host families. All families are carefully screened, selected, and monitored by local American Councils staff. They provide two meals per day; participants are guaranteed private rooms and telephone access.
Ohio State Program Contact
Would you like to schedule an appointment? Click on the coordinator link above to request one.
Courses and Credits
Participants receive 15 to 18 hours per week of classroom instruction - either individually or in small groups - designed to strengthen speaking, listening, reading, and writing proficiency in the target language. Course work typically includes classes in phonetics, grammar, and conversation as well as composition, oral comprehension, and reading. Language courses also cover topics in literature, history, politics, culture, and area studies. All classes are conducted in the target language by host-country faculty with extensive experience teaching foreign students.
Graduate students traveling on the summer program will earn 10 semester credits. Undergraduate students who have completed second year BCS at Ohio State will earn BCS 3101 (4 credits) and BCS 3102 (4 credits). Graduate students or more advanced undergraduate students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. All students are assigned based on the results of a placement exam taken upon arrival in-country. To verify that a full year of BCS has been mastered, all returning students will take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) through the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures. Failure to pass the OPI satisfactorily will prohibit the student from taking the next language course in the sequence. To learn more about these credits or the OPI, interested students should contact Dr. Jenny Suchland
, Undergraduate Studies Chair or Dr. Larysa Stepanova
, Language Program Coordinator.
Each course a student takes abroad, regardless of the grade received or how course credit counts toward degree requirements, must:
- Be approved. Student may either select courses from the pre-approved course list or seek course approval via the credit evaluation process (non-language courses, only); students are strongly encouraged to do this prior to submitting their applications.
- Transfer back to the student’s Ohio State record.
- Be completed for graded Ohio State credit. This grade will be factored into the student’s GPA.
: Course approval, either via the pre-approved course list or completion of the credit evaluation process, does not guarantee the availability of the course abroad. Students must consult their program provider regarding course availability and talk with their Ohio State academic advisor to ensure that approved course options are appropriate given their degree requirements. All students should have multiple back-up courses approved. Canceling participation for failure to secure approval for desired course work will be subject to the cancellation policy
Admitted participants are required to register themselves in the temporary study abroad placeholder course, ARTSSCI 5797. Further instructions will be provided upon admission to the program.
This program offers multiple sessions during the summer semester. While completing your OSU application, you will be asked to submit your intended session(s) and credit(s). The Balkan Language Initiative program offers the following options:
- Summer Session (June 5-Aug 7): 8 undergraduate credits/10 graduate credits
Please refer to the American Councils website
for more detailed information.
In order to be eligible to apply for this program, students must have a 2.7 cumulative GPA, completed at least two years of college-level BCS prior to departure and meet OIA's General Eligibility Requirements
and Conditions for Participation
. All students will also be required to participate in on-campus pre-departure orientations organized by the Office of International Affairs.
Students may not graduate during the same term in which they are participating on a third party provider/direct enroll program.
Applicants are required to submit TWO applications:
1. OIA education abroad application (start at the "Apply Now" at the bottom or top of this page);
2. American Councils
applications must be submitted by the Ohio State application deadline.
Passports are required for every Ohio State study abroad program. For many study abroad destinations, passport information is required to apply for an entry visa (as early as 6 months prior to departure). For information about applying for a passport, go to travel.state.gov
Students will pay the American Councils program fee and GeoBlue international insurance fee. A waiver of tuition for Ohio State students that participate on university-approved third party provider or direct enroll programming is in effect until June 30, 2021. The American Councils program fee includes tuition and fees, housing with a local family (including breakfast and dinner), pre-departure orientation, in-country orientation, in-country airport transfer, excursions and cultural activities, visa (if necessary), in-country logistical support, and 24/7 emergency support.
If students withdraw or become ineligible any time 11 days after the acceptance notification from OSU, they will be held responsible for a $200 cancellation fee. Please refer to OIA's Cancellation Policy
Students should begin researching funding opportunities
before they have been accepted into a study abroad program. Grants and Scholarships
deadlines may occur before the study abroad program application deadline.
Please review the "Funding Your Trip Abroad" page
via American Councils for additional funding opportunities.
U.S. Department of State: travel.state.gov
(travel advisories/country specific safety information)
Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov/travel
(pre-travel health guidance)
Ohio State reserves the right to change without notice any statement contained herein, concerning but not limited to rules, policies, tuition, fees, curricula and courses. In the event of a change to an existing U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, CDC Travel Health Notice or other risk designated criteria
, the Office of International Affairs reserves the right to cancel any program prior to departure or while in progress. Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is defined as age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status, is prohibited.