A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Balkans Semester Program


The Balkans Semester is taught in four different locations (Krk, Croatia; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Skopje, Macedonia; Zagreb, Croatia), with short periods of travel in between. Instructors include both Houghton and local professors. The program features living, studying, and traveling together in constant interaction with people from the Catholic, Muslim, and Orthodox worlds.

The Balkans has been called the powder keg of history — and it continues to have a rich, and sometimes volatile mix of cultures, faiths, and languages. The in-depth study of this interaction of cultures leaves the student with a richer understanding of each of these societies, and of the issues surrounding politics, art, literature, and faith that are raised by cross-cultural pressures. This program will stretch students academically, and demand active curiosity, and wide and constant reading — tied with solid interactions with local people (including instructors) — to come to a solid understanding of what makes this region (and, by extension, other ‘problem’ areas of the world) tick. Amidst spectacular scenery and dazzling art and architecture, students will come to navigate with knowledge and confidence the cross-currents of these three exciting major cultures.

Courses and Credits

The courses (each worth 4 credits) will be:

  1. History (Balkans and Eastern Europe: Early Middle Ages to Present);
  2. Theology (Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim);
  3. Literature (Literature of the Cultures of Central and Southeastern Europe)
  4. Fine Arts (Catholic and Orthodox Art of Southern Europe, incl. comparisons with Ottoman Art)

Students who wish to undertake an independent study in approved subjects (e.g. Political Science; Missiology; others that could be fit into the framework of the program including, conceivably, Music) could substitute this for one of the Theology, Literature, or Fine Arts modules, by arrangement between the Program Director and the relevant Department Chair.

This comes to a total of 16 credits.


Various: apartments in Krk, Croatia; a Baptist center in Sarajevo, Bosnia; youth hostels (entirely occupied by the group) in Skopje, Macedonia; and Zagreb, Croatia. Class sessions will take place in a Franciscan monastery in Krk, and in teaching areas attached to the living accommodation in the other locations. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from Vienna, and report directly there, not to the Houghton campus.


Students arrive in Vienna early September; fly home from Vienna, early December.  Watch for next date to be offered.


  • Typically juniors and seniors
  • Minimum 3.3 GPA
  • Passport valid for 6 months past the program end, and visas where this is necessary (generally not for U.S. citizens, but Canadians and some others will need visas for Macedonia)
  • By application only


Houghton tuition, Balkans Semester fee, plus travel. Houghton financial aid applies for Houghton students.

Non-Houghton student are responsible to check with their school about financial aid and billing.

Sample costs:

  • Tuition $13,387 (Fall 2012)
  • Balkans Semester fee: $5,500 (Fall 2012)
  • TOTAL $18,887 (plus roundtrip airfare)


This program is not offered for the 2014 cycle.  Stay tuned for updates.

Apply online here.


Dr. Meic Pearse (585) 567-9680 Program Director
Dr. Marcus Dean (585) 567-9479 Director of Off Campus Programs

For more information

Contact advisors above or the Off-Campus Programs Office: OCP@houghton.edu or (585) 567-9634