Kosovo is the youngest European country, in the heart of the Balkans. With 70 percent of the population under 35, it is young and vibrant. Pristina, the capital city, officially has around 200,000 inhabitants, but that number swells during the business day to nearly 500,000. It is very easy to navigate, with a strong cafe culture, many great restaurants and a large international community. Every other major town is within 90 minutes of Pristina, including Prizren (the cultural capital of Kosovo), Peja and Gjakova (hubs for outdoor enthusiasts). A culturally Muslim country, but very liberal in practice, Kosovo is widely considered to be one of the most pro-American countries in the world, with a U.S. favorability rating of more than 95 percent of the population. The ongoing dispute over Kosovo's independence from Serbia creates a unique dynamic, especially with the Kosovo-Serb minority population.
Since Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008, its higher education system has slowly been making progress toward a more Western-oriented approach, based on the Bologna System. Fulbright U.S. Scholars have significantly helped to expand the knowledge of students and professors who might otherwise not have much opportunity to study or travel abroad.
Higher education in Kosovo consists of seven state universities: the University of Pristina is Kosovo's largest university (50,000 students in 13 academic units); the University of Prizren "Ukshin Hoti”; the University of Gjakova “Fehmi Agani”; the University of Gjilan "Kadri Zeka"; the University of Mitrovica "Isa Boletini"; the University of Peja "Haxhi Zeka"; and the University of Applied Sciences (UASF) in Ferizaj. There are approximately 23 private institutions of higher education. The academic calendar consists of two semesters (October-January and February-May). Exams are generally offered at the end of each semester.
The Fulbright Program in Kosovo is ten years old, but is undergoing a significant expansion thanks to investment of funds by the Government of Kosovo. There remain significant opportunities to make a difference in the state of education in the country. Knowledge of the Albanian language is beneficial but is not a requirement. Families are welcome, though opportunities for an international-caliber K-12 education are limited.
Prospective applicants may contact the U.S. Embassy directly with questions or for clarification. The primary point of contact for the Fulbright Program is Remzije Potoku, Education Assistant at PotokuRK@state.gov.