Located between Croatia and Serbia, this diminutive country is a cultural crossroads. Occidental and oriental traditions are strong, and through out the ages East and West have fought for possession of this land. Beautiful unspoilt beaches on the Adriatic are proving quite a draw for ex-pats looking for a canny investment, and tourism is definitely on an upswing.
The languages in use are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. The population is about 40 percent Muslim, 31 percent Orthodox, 15 percent Catholic, 4 percent Protestant, with ten percent of no religious affiliation.
The TESOL market is an emerging one, and there are only a few private language institutes. However, rapid growth can be expected due to the fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina is seeking to both build its tourist trade and join the EU. Given the paucity of language schools, teaching privately may be the most solid route to earning a living.
Sarajavo and Mostar are the two principal cities, and have much to commend them in terms of history and culture. For those who prefer the sun, sea and sand, then the Adriatic coast has mile after mile of unspoilt, undeveloped beachfront
Anyone wishing to teach in a state or private school must expect to have a degree, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and a TESOL qualification, though two years of language teaching is not a requisite.
With language institutes you can, in the main, expect to find yourself teaching would-be Eurocrats, business people, or those working in tourism. Enthusiasm for English amongst the general population is not as high, for example, as it is in Germany or Holland, meaning both the market is not as broad, and the motivation of those being taught is not quite as great.
In the main you will find yourself teaching students of varying ability and experience, perhaps even in the same class. However, in such a multi-lingual society you can expect a high awareness of grammar and how it works, so it pays to do thorough preparation in this department.
Getting a Job
When trying to get work in advance it is useful to contact the British Council in Belgrade. They keep a list of language schools, both private and state. In addition to that, the on-line Yellow Pages is worth looking at. The language school, Anglia www.anglia-bn.com has a couple of openings a year and is worth contacting.
In many ways it is advisable to orient one’s self to ‘privates’, and this can be accomplished by putting notes up in universities, bookstores, tobacconists and the like. There is a growing expat scene on the Adriatic, and it may be worth combining business with pleasure touring around some of the small towns dotted along the coast.
Visa and Regulations
The visa situation is somewhat fluid due to the continuing process of alignment with the EU, and it is best to consult your local Bosnian Embassy. Work permits, etc, are going to be difficult to get, however, exchange programs may exist. In addition to this, located as it is, there is not a problem doing cross-border visa runs to renew expiring tourist visas.