Berkeley Summer Abroad

Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia: Balkan Bridges: Contested Histories, Shared Commitments

  • Summary

    This four-week travel/study course will focus on legacies of war, exemplary moments of peaceful coexistence, and historical challenges to peace in the former Yugoslavia over the 20th century. The primary thrust of the program will be on the vital way historical memories consistently enter into and shape current debates about individual and group identity in the region.

    Over a month-long exploration of these ideas, students will be exposed to a variety of cultural objects, including literature and film, museums and galleries, monuments and cemeteries, as well as natural and constructed environments. They will investigate how longstanding historical identity can be traced through these narratives and learn how public sites of cultural memory serve as the testing ground for alternative communities based on shared commitments.

    Dates: June 16 – July 14, 2018
    All dates are subject to change

    Units: 6 units

    Language of Instruction: English

    Courses: TBD

    At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    2.0 GPA or higher


    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018

  • Courses

    During the program, you will take one course for a total of 6 UC Berkeley units.

    Course: TBD
    Title: Balkan Bridges: Contested Histories, Shared Commitments in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia
    Dates: June 16 – July 14, 2018
    Instructor: Antje Postema
    Units: 6 units

    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher
    • The course is open to students from all departments on the Berkeley campus as well as students from other universities, including those outside the United States. It satisfies the UC Berkeley Arts & Literature or Historical Studies L7S Breadth Requirement, and it is part of the Slavic Languages & Literatures Minor and Major.

    In this six-credit course, students will gain in-depth familiarity with the region’s rich history, its unique linguistic and cultural position in Europe, and its diverse natural beauty. They will spend one and a half weeks in Belgrade, one and a half weeks in Sarajevo, and one week in Dubrovnik, with short trips to Novi Sad and Mostar. Course readings and lectures will be paired with excursions to museums, galleries, and sites of historical significance. During the course, students will have the chance to meet with specialists working in various culture industries.
    This course is aimed at students who wish to explore the relationship between culture and society in the former Yugoslavia and will be guided by several questions, including:

    • When and how have histories been “contested” in the region? How, where, and when do these contestations happen, and what are the social consequences of polarized interpretations of the past?
    • What kinds of identities have been important for individuals and groups over the region’s history (religious/ethnic, national, supra-national, local, etc)?
    • What role has language played in thinking about identity, belonging, and difference in the region?
    • What role has the media played in thinking about identity, belonging, and difference in the region?
    • How have institutions helped to shape social memory? What narratives about these memories are on display, and which are “hushed”?
    • How is historical trauma visible in the landscape and culture-scape of the region? How do locals highlight or downplay these visible signs of trauma?

    Students must be aware that this is an intensive program, particularly because it includes travel to multiple cities. Full attendance and participation are required in all lectures, excursions, and course-related activities.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment.

  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition (6 units) $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $1,723 $1,723
    Total Cost $4,249 $5,023

    Fees are subject to change. All non-UC Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $55.

    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,400
    Additional Meals $268
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e. phone, passport, visas, etc.) $640
    Total Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses $2,530

    Financial Aid
    Financial aid is available for UC Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.

    Explanation of Fees
    Tuition is based on a per unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes the following items:

    • Students will be housed in shared accommodations with other program participants
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to the course and various excursions
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for group transportation, guest lecturers, museum admissions, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee
    • Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes


  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 6, 2018
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    First day of program June 16, 2018
    Last day of program July 14, 2018

    *These events take place on the UC Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    All dates are subject to change.

  • Instructors

    Antje Postema
    Program Director
    Antje Postema is a Lecturer of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language in the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2017 with a dissertation on the cultural memory of trauma in Bosnian literature and film. She has spent several years living, working, and doing research in the former Yugoslavia. In her research, she focuses on Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav literature and culture; representations of trauma; socio-cultural memory; cultural history; Balkan film; photography and visual culture; travel narratives and symbolic geographies; migration and displacement in literature and film; and translation (theory and praxis).