Addison worked with the EkoMoziak Foundation in their efforts to combat socioeconomic inequalities in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. EkoMoziak is a non-profit organization working to empower women throughout the region and ensure their future financial stability.
Ever since the time I was in middle school, other countries and cultures have intrigued me. I have always known that I wanted to study abroad but had never thought about an internship abroad. At CSB/SJU I am majoring in Global Business Leadership and minoring in Hispanic Studies. I have taken numerous classes that have broadened my perspective and heightened my desire to experience a new culture. After hearing about the Bosnia and Herzegovina summer internship, I immediately had an interest because the internships work with non-profit organizations and social businesses which I have always wanted to learn more about. I saw the internship as a perfect opportunity to bridge my global interests and explore a future career path. I couldn't be happier with my decision to step outside of my comfort zone because not only was I able to do them both, but also meet some incredible people, discover new traditions, explore the Balkans, and so much more.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My internship required a decent amount of traveling. We would travel to and from the project site about once a week, which was about a 2 hour drive. This not only allowed me the opportunity to see a great amount of BiH (seeing that Bosnia and Herzegovina is slightly smaller than West Virginia), but it also allowed me valuable time to converse with coworkers and especially my boss, Tina. I learned all kinds of things from marriage traditions to local slang to the recent history of the war and the divisions that still remain. I especially appreciated this because Tina was very open. She stayed in the country during the war and experienced some harsh realities. She was always honest, willing, and wanting to answer all my curiosities. I could not be more honored to know her. Tina will never waste a day in her life and if ever an opportunity arises to help someone she will be there-even if it is a hitchhiker on the side of the road!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Overall, my experience was truly one I will never forget. I was able to explore a new history and culture, learn about my future career path while applying concepts that I learned in the classroom, and make incredibly warm friends. Every day was a new opportunity and a new experience. I was constantly learning and growing in new ways. I didn't quite know what to expect or what I would learn when I went on this adventure, but I can say with all sincerity that it was all worth it. Without a doubt in my mind, I would do it again in an instant.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Studying abroad has opened my eyes and broadened my perspective. I feel I can more easily adapt and embrace the ambiguity of a situation. Problems that may used to seem difficult and complex appear much simpler now. Interning abroad also gave me insights into where I would like my future career path to go after graduation. It helped me sort out my likes and dislikes before I enter the field. I feel much more prepared to take on any adventures that come my way.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
First off, definitely take the leap to travel abroad! Come, be open, and take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you. You never know who you're going to meet or what experiences you are going to love! Also, experience everything with all five of your senses. From the scents of perfume you smell when walking down the Sarajevo streets, to the tastes of cevapi or traditional Bosnian coffee at the local cafe; experience it in every way!