This program is tentatively planned to run again in summer 2021.
For those with an adventurous spirit who want to visit a new country with a hidden past and a promising future, we invite you to join us in Kosovo! Located in south-eastern region of Europe, the Republic of Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008 several years after the Kosovo War in the late 1990’s. With its central position in the Balkans, it serves as a link in the connection between central and south Europe, the Adriatic Sea, and Black Sea. Packed into a relatively small place, Kosovo has breathtakingly beautiful mountain peaks, waterfalls and wildflower meadows, fascinating cultural treasures, Ottoman-era buildings, churches, mosques, museums and so much more. Additionally, Kosovo is surrounded by mountains that offer an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities such a hike along the Balking Trail, and a trip to Brezovica, a forgotten, but beautiful ski town. During our Kosovo adventure we will be afforded the opportunity for an embassy briefing, visit two universities and a school, tour museums and mosques, overnight on the Balkan Trail, marvel at the Stone Castle Winery, meet wonderful people, experience local culture and unique cuisines, and begin to understand the essence and impact of the term “Newborn” within the Kosovar society.
Andrew Martin, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator
Departments: Recreation Services; Health, Recreation & Community Services
Campus Address: WRC 174
Dr. Andrew Martin is currently employed at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) as the Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, a position he has held since starting the program in 1997. Additionally, Andrew is also an adjunct instructor through the College of Education for the Health, Recreation, and Community Services (HRCS) Department with a primary focus in outdoor education. He has led numerous university adventures both in the United States and internationally. Dr Martin’s international adventures include locations such as: Nepal, Scotland, Peru, Iceland, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands.
CAP 3550: Constructing Cross-Cultural Bridges (3 credit hours)
The primary focus of this course will be on the growing adventure recreation, tourism and service learning industries within Kosovo. Additionally, students will experience first-hand, the cross-cultural comparisons within each of these components while gaining insight into the cultural difference between the United States and the Kosovar people. The interdisciplinary nature of this course incorporates a variety of learning experiences, included but not limited to the personal interactions with the Kosovar people, readings, lectures, presentations, class discussions, guided tours to museums and Mosques, visits to local universities and historic sites, and participation in outdoor adventure activities. These experiences will allow students the opportunity to explore Kosovo through many lenses in the hopes of reaching a greater understanding of the counties heritage, cultural identity, tourism opportunities, and future trends and how each compares to the United States. To view the course syllabus, click HERE.
Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the spring semester, although the capstone course is scheduled as a summer course. The Study Abroad Center will direct enroll participants in the capstone course during the spring semester. Please contact the program's course leader for more information on academic requirements.
- In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
- Students planning to participate in the spring commencement ceremony in May can enroll in this summer term program, however, their degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer term and is contingent on the successful completion of the program and all required coursework.
- Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
- Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
Sample itinerary is subject to change. Tentative travel dates abroad: May, 2021.
Day 1: Arrive in Kosovo; afternoon walking tour to become familiar with the capital city of Prishtina; welcome dinner
Day 2: Start the day with a U.S. Embassy Briefing to learn about what the US government is doing to help the Kokovar people work through the challenges they face. Next, visit the University of Prishtina and learn about Kosovo’s history and the foundations of its current state. After lunch, visit the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to learn about how Kosovo is utilizing its natural resources to attract travelers. End the day at the National Museum.
Day 3:Travel to the town of Peja, located at the foot of the stunning Bjeshkët e Nemuna Mountains. Visit a local university. Share what it is like to study at UNI with the local students! In the afternoon, tour Peja Monastery, a UNESCO protected site. For dinner, experience the global “Slow Food” movement, by eating in a home and learning about the foods are connected to the region’s heritage and culture.
Days 4 -5:Get out of the city and take in the views of mountains, waterfalls, and forest by trekking the Balken Trail out of Peja. The group will also participate in a service learning project by helping with trash clean up of the trails. Optional activities: zipline and via ferrata, for those with an adventuresome spirit!
Day 6: Travel to Gjakova. Once a trade hub for the Balkans, the city of Gjakova suffered extensive damage and atrocities during the Kosovo War. During your visit, learn about modern-day Gjakovo by touring cottages built especially for agri-tourism. Visit the Stonecastle Winery for a tour and dinner.
Day 7: Explore Gjakova. Visit local mosques including the Tekke Mosque. Free time for shopping, then visit to local school, where the group will donate supplies collected prior to the trip and learn about education in Kosovo
Day 8: Travel to Prizren, a city whose long history dates back to the Roman era. Visit the Prizren Fortress, which was once the capital of the Serbian Empire. Visit a filigree shop and learn about this 800 year-old craft of making jewelry, then view the city’s Turkish bath. Time to explore the city and shop. Return to Prishtina, where the program began.
Day 9: Day trip to Prakaz and visit the Adem Jashari War Memorial, which honors Adem Jashari, a symbol of Kosovon independence.
Day 10: Day trip to Štrpce and the Brezovica ski resort. Although skiing will not be possible, we will learn about this former Olympic back-up venue. Brezovica is truly a beautiful and magnificent area. This is a former backup to the Olympic games and is a relic of the time. Due to the war, money was not put into infrastructure, but the beauty of the place has helped it to continue to be the go-to place for all levels of society to have a home and enjoy weekends away. As Kosovo continues to explore ways to attract tourists this location will be pivotal in that progression.
Day 11: Return to U.S.
Housing & Meals
Students will stay in hotel accommodations. While overnighting on the Balkan Trail, camping gear will be provided. Several group meals are included in the cost of the program, but students will pay for the majority of their meals out-of-pocket while abroad.
Dates & Deadlines
The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:
- Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this cumulative GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
- If your cumulative GPA is lower than 2.5, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (103 East Bartlett):
- Letters of reference from two academic contacts (e.g. academic advisor and former or current professor) supporting your pursuit of study abroad. If you are attending a faculty-led study abroad program, one of the letters must be from a course leader. However, if the program has two course leaders, only one of the letters can be from one of the course leaders.
- Must be over the age of 18 years old
- Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
- Must be in good standing with the University
- UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
- Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
- All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
- Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.