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Identity and Conflict in Austria, Croatia and Bosnia


Vienna, Graz, Split, Sarajevo, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Program Description

Identity and Conflict in Austria, Croatia and Bosnia explores the ways in which a person’s sense of belonging to a group or connection to a place impacts the ways that they act politically. To do this, we will examine the roots of ethnicity, nationality and citizenship as well as the variety in the way that people experience belonging to a group and act upon that feeling of belonging. These goals are pursued in two courses across four cities: Vienna, Graz, Split and Sarajevo. The first course examines in a broad way a variety of issues related to cultural, political and geographic groupings. The second course focuses on the contemporary politics of Southeastern Europe with a focus on the politics of EU expansion and the impact of the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia. The program is in two phases. The first phase will combine classroom instruction with guided and unguided exploration of Vienna and Graz. There will be the opportunity on one weekend to travel independently. The second phase will be a week long study trip to Croatia and Bosnia. In addition to enjoying their beautiful coasts and mountains, students will have a chance to see firsthand the challenges of rebuilding torn countries.

Location Description

The course begins in Vienna, a multicultural city at the center of a broad empire. Vienna’s place in the empire made it one of the most important cities in Europe, and it continues to be a connecting point among East, West and South. The majority of the course takes place in Graz, the “Green Heart of Austria”, which lies on the border between the German and Slavic portions of the old empire and continues to be a cultural, economic and political link between Central Europe and Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia to the south. Graz is the second-largest city in Austria and is home to six universities totaling more than 40 thousand students. It is situated between the Alps and the rolling hills of the wine country that borders Slovenia. Finally, we will take ten day bus excursion into the former-Yugoslavia, first to the coastal city of Split, with its Roman, Italian and Croatian roots as well as gorgeous coastline, and then to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two cities draw their beauty from centuries of cultural exchange, although their presence on the boundary between empires and states has also brought great tragedy and suffering.


John Hulsey | | Political Science


Accommodation will be in hotels and one very nice hostel in Vienna. All have ready internet access and have breakfast included. The hotels and hostels in Vienna, Graz and Sarajevo are centrally located. The hotel in Split is on the beach.

Breakfast is provided by the hotels and paid for by the program. In addition, each student will receive a meal stipend of 15 Euros per day to cover the costs of lunch and dinner. Most students spend more than the 15 Euro allotment, particularly in Austria.

Additional Items to Consider

U.S. citizens do not need an additional visa in order to participate on the trip.

The tentative itinerary for the trip is:

Vienna: 5/12-5/16
Graz: 5/16-5/29
Split: 5/29-6/1
Sarajevo: 6/1-6/7
Vienna: 6/7-6/9

Note that flights to Europe typically arrive on the following day, so students should leave on 5/11 in order to arrive on 5/12.

Open to all majors.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Sophomore, Junior, Senior

Application Process

(Program Open)

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


POSC 361: Topics in International Relations: Politics of Identity, Place and Conflict (3 credits)

POSC 371: Topics in Comparative Politics: Politics of Southeastern Europe (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.