Since 1999, William & Mary Bosnia Project student volunteers have worked in the post-war communities in and around Sarajevo to teach English, cross-cultural understanding and non-violent communication to more than 80 Bosnian schoolchildren each summer. Today, the project continues to thrive and innovate as student volunteer teachers promote team-building, youth empowerment and creative expression through a program of active learning, games and filmmaking in which the students write, produce and act in short videos featuring strictly English dialogue. Through strong collaborative partnerships with Bosnian educators, W&M student volunteers are building bridges and promoting peace for the next generation of Bosnians.
FACULTY ADVISOR: Professor Paula Pickering, 757-221-3038
BOSNIA PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:
INNOVATIVE PROGRAM OF CREATIVE PROJECTS & FILMMAKING: Bosnia Project summer teaching volunteers embrace active and innovative teaching methods to promote team-building and creative expression in a system that is still transitioning away from the state socialist model of education. Teachers reinforce lessons on peace, tolerance, ethnic equality and even environmental sustainability thorough interactive projects and a filmmaking program in which the students write, produce and act in short videos featuring strictly English dialogue.
AWARD-WINNING STUDENT PHILANTHROPY: The Bosnia Project was recognized with “The Best Practices in International Education Award” for student philanthropy in 2015 by the NASPA, the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Read more here.
CULTURAL AMBASSADORS: Prior to their time in country, W&M volunteers receive an extensive foundation on Bosnian history, politics, international intervention and culture though a two-credit course. This training develops knowledgeable cultural ambassadors, well equipped for the intense Bosnian immersion that includes homestays and a month in the classroom.
COLLABORATIVE TEACHING: Increased communications between W&M volunteer teachers and their Bosnian co-teachers in the months before the summer teaching session and expanded collaborative lesson planning while in country develop the inter-cultural cooperation skills of the teachers and enhance the student learning experience.
A STRONG LOCAL NETWORK: The Bosnia Project thrives thanks in part to years of strong collaborations with the University of Sarajevo and Creativus, a Sarajevo-based NGO dedicated to youth education. These partnerships not only ensure the long-term impact of our teaching program, but by placing student volunteers with host families in Sarajevo and coordinating the program from Bosnia, keep the costs of running the program very low.
EVALUATING IMPACT: In 2014 a W&M-led impact evaluation of the Bosnia Project assessed the camp’s impact on participants and found that 82 percent of Bosnian students improved “a lot” in their ability to converse with native English speakers while 63 percent of W&M students said they improved their cross-cultural communication. The 2015 team of volunteers will conduct research to assess the impact of the Bosnia Project on participants’ inter-cultural competences.
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI: Of the many outstanding Bosnia Project alumni, six have received prestigious Fulbright scholarships. Three went went to Bosnia: Kelly Chroninger ’04; Dana McKelvey ’13; and Lexi Hartley ’14, M.Ed.’15. Two went to Germany: Amanda Norris '05 and Catherine Reynolds '05. One went to Bulgaria - Michael Tsidulko ’09.