Helping Serbian Youth Travel to the USA (OPTIONS)

19 Oct


Serbia is filled with many highly intelligent young people. They are introduced to English at a very young age and have two alphabets of their own. Many are also learning German, French, or Spanish. I wish the education administrators in the USA would require American students to learn a  2nd or 3rd language. The key is starting early!  My school in the USA did not offer a foreign language until you were in high school. Many of Serbian friends started studying English in primary school! WOW!

The majority of my Serbian friends are in their 20’s. My American buddies always joke with me about that. I am a BIG kid inside, but the main reason is the lack of English from the 30 and up crowd. Prior to the breakup of Communism in 1990, English was not commonly taught in Serbian schools. Many of the adults were taught German or Russian.

I am writing this post to offer some assistance for Serbian youth and young adults. I am asked over and over for advice on different programs. This post was going to be posted a few months ago, but I wanted to get some feedback on the programs before posting them for you! The last thing I wanted to do was promote some SCAM or rip off program.  I will be adding to this post as I get more feedback from other programs! If  you have any FIRST HAND experience on any of these programs….. PLEASE CONTACT ME!!! I would love to hear about it and pass it on to everyone. I am always here to help my Serbian friends. You guys have been WONDERFUL to me. If you need any further info, have comments, or just want to say “ZDRAVO” … shoot me a message at



A-SMYLE (American Serbia Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange)

Their website:

A-SMYLE is one of the best programs available. It is a FREE opportunity for high school students in Serbia and Montenegro to spend one school year in the U.S. The program is fully funded by the U.S. State Department. Students live with American host families and attend American high schools for one school year (10 months). Students with disabilities are encouraged to participate in the competition.

– Be registered in the first or second year of secondary school in fall 2012
– Be citizens of Serbia or Montenegro (students who also have US citizenship are ineligible)
– Attend school in Serbia or Montenegro
– Speak English well
– Have been born between 1 January 1996 and 15 July 1998
– Be eligible to receive a J-1 visa (for example, not have been in the US for more than 3 months in the past 5 years)
– Have good grades in school
– Demonstrate leadership qualities
– Students with disabilities who were born between March 15, 1995 and July 15, 1998 and who are not in the last year of secondary school are eligible for the competition


I have one wonderful young Serbian gal that was selected to participate in this program. She is from Cacak, Serbia. She is currently residing in Washington, Iowa with her host family. Here is a short message from her. She is a doll. She said she is willing to answer any and all questions any of you Serbian students might have about the program. Just send me an email and I will send it on to her. Here is her story:

The first time I heard about the A-SMYLE (American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange) program was from my High School teacher who mentioned it one day.  It is an exchange program for High School students from Serbia and Montenegro that are interested in spending one school year in the U.S., it is financed by the United States State Department. You will have different rounds of testing, and if you become a finalist you will be assigned to one of the placement organizations, mine is World Link. Placement organizations are the ones that look for host families, so if there is a host family reading this, I strongly encourage you to contact someone at World Link.

When I was selected as a finalist I was so happy and excited!
When I first arrived here it all felt so unreal, I couldn’t really wrap my mind around the fact that I was actually in the U.S.! I think it’s still unreal for me. We flew from Belgrade to Frankfurt and then to Washington DC. That was my first time flying, so if any of you are as scared as I was, let me reassure you, flying is the best thing ever! I’m extremely afraid of heights, but you won’t even feel like you’re in the air.
My host family is wonderful. They have been so helpful and nice about everything! Everyone here loves foreigners and they are very understanding and will always offer to help you. You probably think that school is very different, and …… yes it is. It’s not better or worse, just very different! I was very scared on my first day of school, but there was no need for that because everyone wanted to meet me and to help me find my classes and everything! Every school is different, and you’d probably have 5-7 classes each term, I per example have 4 classes. I got to pick most of them and it was very interesting to pick a class like Journalism, since you probably know that we don’t have that. I joined school clubs like Drama and Art club, and this, along with sports is the best way to meet people, and it’s soo fun! My favorite part of the day is when we rehears lines for the play. You might be worried about missing your family and friends, and I’m not going to lie to you, it is hard. But, luckily we live in the era of technology and you’ll be able to Skype them and talk on Facebook or email! The important thing is to keep yourself busy.
Volunteering is also another great thing, there is something wonderful about helping others and not expecting anything in return, it is one of the best feelings ever, believe me. You will also go to your first football game (not to be mistaken with soccer) and it will be fun even if you don’t know the first thing about it (like me!).

These are just some of the great things you would experience if you came here! There are many, many more and I think that everyone who is considering applying for this program should definitely do it because it will be an amazing experience!

I would like to use this opportunity to thank my friends and family back home, for supporting me every step of the way (I love and miss you all), my amazing host family, the Schindlers, and my wonderful World Link coordinator here, Sherrie Nisly.

Danijela Živković, Washington Iowa (Čačak, Serbia  )




Website :

The PAX exchange program is good for many countries. It can be pricey, but you can also qualify for a scholarship. Great opportunity to see the world and experience life in another part of the world.


You are eligible for a PAX Abroad program if:

  • You are between the ages of 15 and 18
  • You are currently enrolled in a U.S. high school
  • You are mature and responsible

PAX School Year and Semester Abroad programs require a GPA of C+ or better and three years study of the language of your chosen country.

Application Deadlines:

  • For full year and fall semester programs: April 1
  • For second semester programs: September 15
  • For summer programs: April 15

My friend, Luka, is from Pancevo, Serbia. He took part in program last year. He had a great experience and has also made a short video for you students that are thinking about studying abroad. Here is his review:

“I went to America as an exchange student via PAX Organization. I contacted a representative from Belgrade, filled out all the applications and a few months later I was accepted. 10 of us from Serbia and Montenegro went to New York. There we’ve spent a week for the orientation and then each and every one of us flew to their host families. I went to Shreveport, Louisiana. It is mid-sized city located between Dallas and New Orleans. That was my first time in America so I had no clue whether or not the people are gonna like me or not especially because I’m coming from Serbia. I was happy when I found out how friendly the Americans are and I couldn’t believe that probably 99% of people never heard of Serbia. Most of them confused it with Siberia. Lol. At first it was hard to ajust to being so dependent on cars since there’s no public transportation in the US nor you can walk anywhere cause everything is so spread out. The schools in America are much easier compared to Serbia because you can pick 4 classes a semester and that’s it while in Serbia you gotta take up to 15 classes. In my American school I was able to teach to teachers and the entire classes about many different topics including the history of the Balkans which they found to be cool. I enjoyed my stay in America and made many new friends who will come for a visit one day. I traveled to Missouri, Arkansas, Houston, New Orleans, New York etc. I love America and I’ll definitely come back soon. I believe that if our two countries would collaborate more no one would be able to stop us grin





Eligibility Requirements:

  • All participants must be at one of the regular year of three-year, four-year, five-year, masters or PhD students
  • Must have conversational knowledge of English (checks will be done by talking or writing) • It is recommended that studies continuously • Be between 18 and 30 years • Resourceful, flexible, ready for teamwork, cooperation and compromise • The candidate must be capable of working • Do possession of a valid passport that lasts at least until 01.06. 2013th The

This is one of the most widely used programs for Serbs in the USA. They are a great way for college and university students to experience life outside of Serbia and make money doing it! There are many programs out there. This is one that my friend from Ecka, Serbia used. I didn’t get a written review of the program from him, but I know he had an absolute BLAST in Minot, North Dakota. He was one of 10-20 other Serbs that were sent to the middle of the USA. He worked at Domino’s Pizza and Wendy’s for $9 an hour. He was able to travel to Las Vegas and New Jersey! Check out the site!!!! GREAT PROGRAM!!!!



ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training)

Website :

This is one of the recommendations I have had for a few of my Serbian adult friends and for friends from every corner of the globe. This is a teaching certificate course that will allow you to find teaching jobs all over the planet. I use mine to teach English in Mexico, and Serbia. I have been offered jobs in Mongolia, Taiwan, China, Myanmar, Turkey, Georgia, etc… Many of my Serbian friends have very nice American accents and a GREAT grasp for English grammar. I have two Serbian friends that are currently using theirs to teach in Thailand. The pay varies in every country… the same with the teaching requirements. Many countries require you to be from an English speaking country, but many Asian countries do not. This course can be taken online and at your convenience. You will pay from $150-$700 depending on which course you desire. It is best to take it at one of the many locations world wide. They range from $1000-$3000 dollars for course that last from 3 weeks to one month. It is a great way to see the world, make a difference, and make some money!

I have a few other options, but I am waiting for additional follow up from participants. Thank you for your time. I hope it helped. Please message if you have any other travel programs that you would recommend or avoid. Pozdrav!!!!!

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Through my eyes


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