I was born in a small but beautiful city of Mostar, located in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The region where I grew up was fairly homogenous and as a child I was not exposed to a lot of cultural and language diversity. Even though, Bosnia is a multiethnic and multi-religious country, composed of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, I never believed that the difference between these ethnic groups was significantly big, and that is primarily because of their shared culture. I acquired my interest and love for the Spanish language during the time I studied at United World College (UWC). In this unique and internationally recognized high school, I lived in a dorm with young people from all over the world, including some from a few Spanish-speaking countries. In my first year at UWC I enrolled in an introductory Spanish course, which was at the time taught by a literature professor from Valencia, Spain. From this moment on, I knew that one of my goals for the future was to continue studying the language as well as Spanish literature. When I came to St. Lawrence this goal became even more real, due to a variety of different Spanish courses the school offers, all taught by an amazing group of professors from Spain, Canada, the U.S., and Latin America. I am very thankful for all the guidance and advice they gave me over the last three years. My thesis advisor, current Co-Chair of the Language Department and Associate Professor of Spanish, Dr. Marina Llorente, and Assistant Professor Dr. Marc Reid have inspired me more than any other professors. They have repeatedly pushed me to question my own thoughts and showed me the importance of being an active civic member. I do not believe I would have made it this far in my Spanish major had it not been for their help and hard work, but most importantly their support and faith in me.
In the spring of my sophomore year I decided to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, because I wanted to fully immerse myself in the Spanish culture and become fluent in the Spanish language. I was ready academically to put myself in a learning environment that would challenge me to think in different ways. But even though I had previously completed Spanish 202 and Spanish 217, my communication skills started to improve only after I moved in with my host family and started to take classes in Madrid. I learned that speaking another language does not only allow one to communicate with greater portion of the world, but it is also essential in one’s ability to approach life with a different perspective, which is crucial in promoting cross-cultural tolerance and understanding. The semester in Spain was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will always be glad to remember.
Currently, I am spending my senior Fall semester participating in an off-campus Foreign Policy program at the American University in Washington DC. I am taking classes with people from seventeen different schools from all over the world, and learning about the U.S. foreign affairs in times of global crisis. I have also had a chance to meet some interesting public figures like Mr. Henry Kissinger, who served as a National Secretary Advisor for the Nixon administration, and Mr. Peter Bergen, who is a print and television journalist and author of four books on the enduring conflict between the U.S. and Al-Qaeda. In addition, I am interning at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs where I hold a research associate position.
I am looking forward to my last semester at St. Lawrence when I will be finishing my Spanish thesis. As for my future plans, I am hoping to learn at least one more language and to find a way to combine Spanish with politics in whatever I choose to do professionally.