Moving to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Expats moving to Bosnia and Herzegovina will need to bear in mind that the country is still recovering from the devastating war which took place from 1992 to 1995.
The majority of expats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the capital, Sarajevo. Most expats are employed by NGOs or international organisations. Entrepreneurs are also starting to see the potential of the country’s educated workforce and are choosing Bosnia and Herzegovina as a destination for setting up businesses, especially those that focus on computing and technology.
The cost of living in Bosnia is very inexpensive. The prices of food and transport are minimal and decrease the further away you go from Sarajevo. The country is known for its beautiful mountainous scenery and expats can ski and hike all they want. Art lovers will be in their element in Sarajevo which has a thriving arts scene. The Sarajevo Film Festival and International Theatre Festival are just two of the prominent events on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s calendar.
English isn’t always widely spoken but the younger generations are becoming more fluent, as they learn it as a second language at school. Expats will discover that local people are warm, vibrant and generous, which helps foreigners in settling down in a new country. Expats who take the time to learn at least a few phrases of Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian will find that they will develop a deeper appreciation of the local culture. It is also important for expats to remember that the majority of Bosnians are Muslim or Serbian Orthodox so it is advisable to dress modestly and behave conservatively, especially in rural parts of the country.
Obtaining the correct visa or work permit for Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long process and expats need to prepare themselves for the bureaucratic backlogs. Due to the country’s high unemployment figures, trailing spouses might have some difficulty in securing a job in their field, so it’s best to be flexible and open-minded.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is not the ideal expat destination for those with children as there are very few international schools in the country, all of which are located in Sarajevo. The standard of healthcare is not up to the standard that expats from North America or Western Europe would be accustomed to. There is a shortage of medical staff in Bosnia and Herzegovina and while there are a few good private hospitals in the country, it is best that expats invest in a health insurance policy that covers them for treatment abroad.
Despite its troubled past, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country full of potential and opportunities for expats. Once expats overcome the bureaucratic red tape, they may find that the expat experience of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina is overwhelmingly positive.