It’s hard to believe I only have one week left in Belgrade. This semester has flown by, what with the independent study month, multiple excursions and travel weekends. But my adventures are not over yet.
After the program ends I will be traveling around the Balkans, spending time in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria for a few weeks. During the program I have had time to visit countries in the Western Balkans, so I decided to head east.
I will be traveling to some large cities such as Budapest and Sofia, but I will mostly be in smaller villages. I have never traveled to any former Eastern Bloc countries so I’m excited to see what I learn.
After my travels are done I will be doing research on the quota system for women in the government in Kosovo. I really enjoy field research and am excited to be doing research in Kosovo as it is a small country which likely means I will have access to many people for my interviews.
The reason this research is possible is through a grant I received from the Andrew W. Mellon Scholars Program. This is a Hope program aimed at providing guidance and resources to students across disciplines in the Arts and Humanities to complete independent or group projects. I highly recommend freshman students to take a look at this program as it typically begins sophomore year, but occasionally juniors are also admitted to the program.
After my eight weeks in Kosovo I will have some more traveling to do as I will be meeting my German sister in Croatia!
When I was a junior in high school my family hosted an exchange student from Germany. We have remained close throughout the years and try to visit each other when we can. We are really excited to be traveling together since it has been a few years since we’ve seen each other in person.
Though this semester has been a great experience and I’m looking forward to my travels, I am also looking forward to being back on campus in the fall. The things I have learned studying abroad are not something that can be learned in a classroom as there is no substitute for living in a country you are studying. However, spending time in a classroom and learning how to synthesize the information you learned is equally as important.