What does the Italian Language and Literature Study Programme offer?

The Italian Language and Literature Study Programme is one of the six bachelor programmes offered by the Faculty of Philology, University of Banja Luka. It was launched in 2003 as a dual major, combining an Italian language and literature curriculum with a Serbian language and literature curriculum, and in 2013 it became a single major. The curriculum of the programme currently offered at the bachelor level includes 39 obligatory courses, taught over eight terms, i.e. four academic years, 10 electives, and a bachelor thesis. The linguistic courses taught in the programme focus on the acquisition of Italian, through the development of communicative skills and the study of grammatical structures. The literature courses are chronologically based: they begin in the second year, with students learning about the early days of Italian literature, and end in the fourth year, with a focus on contemporary writers. Students get into contact with Italian culture early on in their studies, in the first year, and in the subsequent years they can choose between a great number of electives, which allow them to learn about various aspects of this culture. A number of courses deal with didactics, in a way that allows students to put into practice the knowledge previously acquired and to prepare for becoming in-service teachers. Special attention is paid to courses dealing with literary translation and translation for specific purposes.

Enrolment in the Italian Language and Literature Study Programme

Before candidates can enrol in this study programme, they are required to take an entrance examination. Candidate ranking also takes into account secondary school academic achievement. The entrance examination for the Italian Language and Literature Study Programme consists of two parts, a test in Serbian and a test in Italian culture. The Serbian language test is weighted 30 points, and the Italian culture test 20 points. Preceding the entrance examination, the Faculty of Philology organises preparatory classes over a period of two days, in which the teaching assistants working at the Italian Department do exercises with candidates and cover the topics to be tested in the exam.

What are the employment opportunities for Italian Language and Literature graduates?

After completing this bachelor programme, students are awarded the academic title of Italian Language and Literature Teacher. In accordance with the title, they are qualified to teach Italian in primary, secondary and private language schools, work as Italian interpreters/translators or administrative workers in Italian companies, take the certified court interpreter exam, and work in culture institutions and organisations (embassies and consulates, publishing houses, libraries, government agencies and non-governmental organisations), as well as working as tour guides.

After obtaining their bachelor degree, graduates can continue their education at the Faculty of Philology by entering a second-cycle study programme (master programme), which lasts one year (two terms) and completes with students writing and defending a master thesis. Upon completing the master programme, students are awarded the academic title of Master of Italian Language and Literature. After master studies, students can opt to enrol in the third-cycle programme (doctoral programme), which lasts three years. The final stage of the doctoral programme is the writing and defence of a doctoral dissertation. After getting a bachelor and/or master degree from the Italian Department, some graduates choose to continue their education and professional development by pursuing master and doctoral studies at universities in the region, Italy, and beyond.

What are the pros of studying Italian language and literature at the Faculty of Philology in Banja Luka?

This study programme is the first ever academic bachelor degree programme in Italian language and literature in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the first study programme in the region in which, starting in the second year, Italian is the sole medium of instruction. Students who enrol in this study programme acquire a theoretical and practical knowledge of Italian language, literature, culture and translation. Instruction is interactive, multimedia and interdisciplinary. A range of modern language acquisition approaches and methods are combined, with the communicative approach as the main one, to ensure a simultaneous development of all language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. This is done with the aim of helping students fuse their formal, grammatical knowledge of Italian and use it for everyday communication and in different socio-cultural settings. The faculty of the Italian Department keep pace with the latest trends in science, employ different interdisciplinary approaches and work hard to ensure students are fully qualified and ready for what the labour market requires. Instruction is provided to small groups of students, which allows teachers to actively and attentively monitor and individually direct the language acquisition process of each student. Both the professors and teaching assistants are motivated and strongly committed to their students and their educational needs.

The Italian Department is equally enthusiastic about extracurricular activities. It organises a number of cultural events, such as the Italian Language Week, screenings of Italian films, exhibitions, concerts, Italian literature readings, etc. The Italian Department does not only serve an educational purpose, but it also promotes Italian language and culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Collaboration agreements with foreign universities

As one of its key missions, the Italian Department is committed to the internationalisation of education and science. With this goal in mind, it has continuously invited foreign lecturers to teach classes and courses to its students, its locally based faculty participates in research networks, projects and conferences of international relevance, and its students spend a period of time at Italian universities. Additionally, between 2009 and 2014, the Department organised an annual international Italian scholarship conference.

The Department of Italian Language and Literature has signed collaboration agreements in the fields of education and research with several Italian universities (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Palermo University, Roma Tree University, University of Turin, Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples). Beside Italian universities, the Department has continuously collaborated with universities in the region (University of Belgrade, University of Kragujevac, University of Zagreb, University of Ljubljana, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula). The faculties of the Italian Department have participated in international and regional research networks, and favour an interdisciplinary approach to education and research. Two such networks are the French Cercle de Belém, a research institute dealing with political and economic issues of relevance for Europe, and the Regional Linguistic Data Initiative (ReLDI), which brings together linguists from the region with the aim of modernising research methods and education in the field of linguistics. Also, the Italian Department runs the Pan-European Research Center of Society Studies and Policies project (PERSEO) on behalf of the University of Banja Luka, which is an inter-university research centre founded by the D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy, which brings together 18 universities and research institutes.

Are study grants available and what is the procedure for getting one?

Owing to the collaboration of the Department of Italian Language and Literature with Italian universities and other organisations, students of Italian language and literature are eligible for grants which allow them to spend a period of time in Italy and improve their Italian proficiency, and also experience Italian culture first hand.

In the framework of the Erasmus+ mobility project, in 2017 the Italian Department signed a student and faculty exchange agreement with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Contemporary Culture of the University of Turin. Given the success of the project and the professional satisfaction of the professors and teaching assistants who have taken part in the exchange, it is expected that similar agreements will be signed with other universities in Italy and the region under the same scheme.

Beside the Erasmus+ mobility programme, students enrolled in this study programme have the opportunity, presented to them every year, to spend three months at universities for foreigners in Italy (University of Perugia, University of Siena, University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria), which is possible thanks to grants of the Italian Government. Students are also eligible for scholarships that permit them to take shorter trips for immersion courses at Italy’s most prestigious schools and institutes.

Students of the Faculty of Philology are eligible for several types of grants awarded by the Government of the Republic of Srpska. Every year, at the end of October, the Ministry of Education and Culture runs five different scholarship programmes, namely:

  1. A scholarship programme for successful bachelor, master and doctoral students enrolled in the Republic of Srpska;
  2. A scholarship programme for bachelor students in the category of other students;
  3. A scholarship programme for bachelor, master and doctoral students studying abroad;
  4. A scholarship programme for bachelor, master and doctoral students with disabilities, who are also beneficiaries of the Disability Allowance;
  5. A scholarship programme for bachelor students domiciled in one of the Republic of Srpska’s underdeveloped municipalities.

The scholarship competitions are advertised in the Independent Newspaper daily and on the web portal of the Government of the Republic of Srpska, more specifically, on the website of the Ministry of Education and Culture, www.vladars.net.

Exceptionally successful students are eligible for the Dr Milan Jelić Foundation grants, which are offered annually. The Foundation awards grants to especially gifted undergraduate and postgraduate students, enrolled in a first, second or third-cycle study programme at a local or foreign university. The competition opens at the end of October. For more information, please visit the official web page of the Foundation, www.fondmilanjelic.org.

In addition to these scholarships, students are eligible for so-called city or municipal grants, awarded by their local city or municipal administrations.