Sarajevo, the capital of mountain-rugged Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a melting pot of communities from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. This charming city connects the past and the modern and acts as a bridge between the East and the West. Today, Sarajevo is attracting international attention for its excellent higher education opportunities. Among the prominent universities in the city is the International University of Sarajevo (IUS), which was established in the academic 2004/2005 year by the Foundation for Education Development Sarajevo.
“The institution’s main purpose is to provide and promote university education and enable self-development and self-improvement through various courses, activities, and research. This is an organization of multicultural understanding, unity, and intellectual growth that seeks long-term regional and global cooperation,” says Amela Kavaz, Recruitment and Admission Coordinator, IUS. The university has achieved all this by enriching students’ academic experiences. It bestows innovative programs, academic and administrative excellence, strategic partnerships with regional and local industries, and purposeful research to promote regional and global well-being.
The university engages members from more than 12 different countries, so they are quite an international institution. “We have a diverse and experienced team of faculty members. Some of them rank among the 2% of scientists in the world with the highest impact of citations throughout their careers. Besides, the gender structure of our academic staff is very balanced – 37 Female and 41 Male – full-timers, according to the HR report from November 2022. We also emphasize that all our faculty members are highly proficient in English,” Amela explains.
Unique facilities for the international student community
IUS offers students diverse academic programs in Engineering and Natural Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Administration, Law, and Education. Amela says, “The university boasts the Research and Development Centre (RDC) covering an area of 1,300 square meters, including laboratories specialized in molecular biology and genetics, physics, mechanical and electrical engineering. Among several well-equipped laboratories at the RDC, the Genetic and Bioengineering labs, the Fabrication 3D printing lab, and the Material testing lab stand out with very modern devices.” The University also includes a Software and Computer Sciences Lab, Genetics and Bioengineering Lab, Architectural Lab, and Visual Arts and Visual Communications Design Lab. Students wishing to enroll in natural science, art, or architecture branch can improve their skills in highly equipped laboratories.
“IUS is not a place where our prospective students will only obtain a diploma and develop employable skills. In addition to providing students with knowledge, we also try to instill self-confidence, independence, and responsibility. We can also boast of the geographical location of the city where the University is located. Students can get to know different cultures and meet people from different historical and cultural backgrounds,” adds Amela. Considering the number of students coming from different countries, they will also gain lifelong connections and be open to the possibility of hearing and learning new languages and traditions, all of which create a perfect foundation for building a career of their interest anywhere in the world.
IUS offers a welcoming and friendly environment. They cherish differences and diversities since they have students from more than forty-five countries – from all continents. The University is also a part of the Erasmus+ Exchange program. Every year, they welcome numerous incoming students who come to experience student life at IUS, even just for a semester. “The friendly environment is cultivated through activities and clubs devoted to promoting differences and bringing them closer in this family. University can also boast about several clubs such as International Psychology Students Association or Alas Club whose goal is to improve campus life and connect people from every background, despite their religion, nation, or social status,” adds Amela.
The array of programs available for international students at IUS
IUS offers its students various academic programs in Engineering and Natural Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Administration, Law, and Education. “Most of their students choose programs that offer practical training that allows students to gain work experience during their studies and prepare them for the labor market – these programs are mostly from the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,” adds Amela.
The University has fixed tuition fees per program and offers different discounts based on the total amount a student needs to pay; the same includes English Language School tuition fees or/and scientific preparation fees. This is how they are helping international students.
Addressing the International Student Mobility Post-COVID-19
IUS puts the health of its students and academic and administrative staff first. During the global pandemic, the university established online classes and completely switched to an online teaching model. This made it possible for their students to stay safe in their homes with their families and continue attending classes. They were ready to shift to this new teaching model from the beginning due to highly equipped classrooms and sophisticated technology.
“We are constantly working on boosting the number of incoming students. The quantity itself is not something that we want to retain. Our focus is on the quality of presenting and teaching university material comparatively complying with safety measures,” shares Amela. As an international university, IUS is aware that mental and physical health needs to be in focus and that the fear of a new wave of pandemic still exists. The university has a student counseling center that is open every day, and its psychology professors are always there to help students struggling with different issues. “If we need to shift to online classes and send students home once again, we will not need to close our doors completely. Students will still be able to attend lectures online and maintain contact with their professors and friends,” adds Amela.
At present, IUS has around 2000 students studying in all 3 cycles of studies, coming from all continents and more than 45 countries of the world. “After traveling to 24 different countries, I found IUS to be the perfect place to study. I can perfect my English but also dive into learning the Bosnian language and culture,” says Theresa Faltermeir from Germany. Similar to Theresa, international students speak highly of IUS. Some of them are:
“IUS offers a quality education at an affordable price. The level of diversity is amazing, and no matter where you come from, IUS makes you feel at home.” (Sufyan Musa, Ghana)
“I speak 7 languages, and I decided to study at IUS because it offers a truly international feel and environment. I would recommend IUS to all local and international students.” (Sara Mezit, Bosnian diaspora)
“What I like about IUS is that it offers a range of extracurricular activities. I am a big fan of sports, and IUS has its own basketball club.” (Fahad Guimano, Philippines)
“IUS offers me quality education, and with the degree from IUS, I can work anywhere in the world.”( Mahdi Jichi, Lebanon)
“My university life in Sarajevo and IUS has been a wonderful journey. Although occasional academic challenges may be overwhelming occasionally, the vibrant international atmosphere at the campus motivates me and pushes me towards excellence.” (Omar A.K.Saad, Egypt)
“IUS exceeded my expectations with its quality of education. Professors are extremely kind to us students, and the atmosphere at the campus is very friendly. The campus is surrounded by nature making the learning experience unforgettable. I am in love with the culture, nature, and history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.” (Tülay Özdoğan, Turkey).
Exciting Research Activities
Besides the Research and Development Centre, which provides excellent research infrastructure for several scientific fields, IUS provides its faculty necessary support to submit competitive proposals for highly competitive national and international research grants through the Office of Sponsored Projects. IUS regularly hosts prominent researchers and guests, organizes information sessions and webinars to familiarize its faculty and staff with existing and new research and project opportunities, and fosters ethical conduct in research.
IUS has multiple European Commission-funded projects, including Horizon2020 and Erasmus+ program. “In our research projects, IUS faculty tackle local and global matters. It focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals, and addresses various issues including but not limited to education, global health concerns, environmental issues, human rights and inequalities, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” shares Amela. Some exciting international projects include HORIZON 2020-COVIRNA – A diagnostic test to improve surveillance and care of COVID-19 patients, which contributed to the public health preparedness and response in the context of the ongoing epidemic of COVID-19; Modeling Educational Robot, which focused on meeting the needs of the 21st-century digital society by incorporating programming and robotics in the school curriculum; IUS-KUL international master study program, a joint master’s program in Bioanalytical Technologies with the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL); INTERVET-Internationalization of Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems in Western Balkan Project set up exchange programs for high school students and staff to increase young people’s skill set and employability.”
Amela adds, “It is crucial to mention some local projects supported by the Ministry of Science, Higher Education, and Youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which address pressing local issues. They include projects such as: Managing haptic interactions, Numerical simulation of airflow, dispersion, and quality in urban orographs and meteorological conditions; Dispersion of Air Pollutants in Traffic under the Conditions of Temperature Inversion; Entrepreneurial and Intra-Entrepreneurial Intentions in the Sarajevo Canton, and Europeanization of Western Balkans and Its Role in Growth and Development.” IUS faculty engages students in these research projects. IUS faculty also collaborates with several pharmaceutical companies as well.
Encouraging innovation and creativity in students
IUS takes pride in the fact that it offers its students the chance to develop and use their creativity through numerous projects and activities throughout their education at the University. Visual Arts and Communication Design students can practically implement their theoretical knowledge in a sophisticated video/television studio and record advertisements, short films, and commercials. Architecture students are encouraged to be creative by participating in several local and international competitions and exhibiting their work within the IUS Art Gallery. Students of Software Engineering and Computer Science Engineering continuously prove their web design skills by designing websites and applications which have thus far been recognized beyond the borders of the University. Some of the IUS student applications are to be used by the local authorities to improve the quality of life in the local community. Electrical and Electronics Engineering, together with their peers from the Mechanical Engineering study program, is pushed to the limits of their creativity to produce sophisticated appliances.
“One such example that stemmed from the graduation project of two engineering students was a robot designed to help in clearances of mine-stricken areas. Genetics and Bioengineering students are continuously working in University labs to make breakthrough findings for common diseases. All the above comes from the availability of resources and facilities that the University has provided for its students, together with the devoted stance of their professors and mentors who do not shy away from offering a hand and supporting their students in their practical work,” says Amela.
Student’s Life at the Campus
IUS has a very student-centric policy. The Student and Career Center exists to serve that purpose. Amela explains, “We are proud to say that we help students resolve their issues with faculties, answer their requests, provide activities and training, and create events they can enjoy. In addition to that, we are here for them at the very beginning of their future careers, as we deal with internships, both in the formal part of its submission, and we help our students find the suitable opportunity for them.”
Student and Career Center is also in charge of student clubs. IUS students have a way of providing entertaining, yet very useful, content for their peers, and the university supports them very well. “IUS Welcome Fair, Spring Festival, Sports Tournament, Job Fair, you name it, and we will have it ready for you in a bit,” claims Amela.
Preparing to operate in the post-pandemic world
The integration of pandemic preparedness into our strategic plan is recognized as one of the most important aspects of the IUS framework. The university is constantly monitoring and assessing situations to collect and analyze information and all data regarding the post-pandemic world. “A key component is strengthening a hybrid model that balances face-to-face and online teaching. Even though our students are currently attending lectures in classrooms, we still have highly developed online educational platforms and digital access to the library catalog and students’ information system,” says Amela.
Furthermore, IUS is not focusing only on outcome-based education and students’ performance empirically but on project-based education, where students are effectively taught the requisite skills and attitudes and have to apply information learned during the class entirely on their own. “This way, even if we have to switch to online classes, students are again encouraged to actively participate, communicate and engage in the learning process. ” We believe it is worth mentioning that all our staff is fully vaccinated,” she concludes.
For More Info: https://www.ius.edu.ba/en
About Amela Kavaz, Recruitment and Admission Coordinator
Amela Kavaz joined the International University of Sarajevo a little over a year ago as an English language instructor with five years of experience working with students. Currently working as a Recruitment and Admission Coordinator, she provides admission counseling to prospective students and coordinates central enrollment management. She also works as a part-time translator for a publishing house. Most of all, committed to meeting the needs of the students with the goal of supporting student success and enrollment through a variety of services. Devoted to implementing college-wide marketing and student recruitment strategies with a complete understanding of the importance of promoting IUS content and providing services like articles to help engage more students. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and currently earning a master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies at the University of Sarajevo.