Scholarship recipient takes take a look at abroad beyond academia

When she’s not in a class, Erna Hrstic spends her days exploring Sarajevo’s middle town and speaking with fellow change college students. It’s commonplace to see Hrstic and her buddies sitting in a cafe, talking and giggling all night; that’s simply what students do in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hrstic became one of two novices provided a Boren Awards scholarship to study for 12 months in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Boren Awards are given to college students via the National Security Education Program to examine how certain international locations are essential to U.S. Countrywide security. Upon commencement, Boren Awards recipients paintings for at least three hundred and sixty-five days of their preferred U.S. Authorities activity.

“I want to be a diplomat,” Hrstic stated. “The reason for my career is to assist the people in Bosnia and Croatia because I suppose the Balkans is an awesome location, and it has so many records and a lot of range that the rest of the arena doesn’t see.” Hrstic and her circle of relatives visited the Balkans, a region in Southeast Europe, each other year, considering that she became five years old. Her dad and mom got here in the U.S. As refugees, leaving a maximum of their own families in the back. Their biennial trips recommended Hrstic inspect international scholarships earlier than the university.


This determination began when she changed to in simple college. Ivana Hrstic, Erna’s mother, took the initiative to go to her essential and start fundraising for UNICEF. As she grew up, she joined Model U.N. Due to the fact, she desired to help people. “Erna has the choice to change the arena,” Ivana stated with tears in her eyes. “With Erna, she overlooked a part of her early life, I trust, because she was so committed, she turned into so determined.”

Her determination to help others isn’t constrained to the ones in different countries. She has performed a major function in assisting her sister to get through school. Her sister, Hanna Hrstic, discussed the regular guide from Erna while they were in the equal college and even after they traveled together. “She jogs my memory of Dora the Explorer while she travels because she usually wears a little backpack,” Hanna said. “But she’s now not afraid to go out and communicate to humans to discover what to do or wherein we need to go.”

Her social skills helped her be successful in the first month of her year-long journey. Her roommate Selinn Oksuz, a Turkish scholar reading English Language Teaching, describes Hrstic’s communication skills, pleasing demeanor, and warm-heartedness as brilliant reasons to be around her. “We went to the mountains to make a few barbeques. There become one tunnel that stayed from the warfare, no lighting or whatever,” Oksuz stated. “Erna scared one of my pals. Two mins later, he scared us in return, and we had a lot of fun.”

While a study overseas program is to look at, Hrstic recognizes the want to study extra than simply the textbooks and class lectures. She has major dreams at the same time as she is long past. The first is to turn out to be fluent in Bosnian. The 2nd is to study human beings. “I want to apprehend the human beings right here, their frustrations, and why the united states of America are not shifting in a positive path at the moment,” Krstic said. “I virtually think that while you move study overseas, it’s not pretty much lecturers; it’s approximately getting to know the way to interact with humans.”

Hrstic acknowledges that she chose to examine overseas in an area she is acquainted with. However, she decided to do it by herself. She is the handiest DePaul student in the program and one of the few Americans on her faculty. Hosts talked about how it could not be very comforting to go completely by myself to the foreign united states of America. However, she recognized this as an opportunity to exit and make new connections. “I like to mention I’m a total social character, so it’s high-quality for me to be out with human beings I don’t realize in any respect,” Krstic said. “I get to satisfy quite a few superhuman beings and cultures I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”

Recently, she could attend a communication from Bakir Izetbegović, the son of the primary Bosnian president. Experiences like those are not like anything she might be able to undertake in Chicago. For anyone considering reading abroad, there are scholarship opportunities to assist in funding a once-in-a-lifetime enjoy, as Hrstic describes. “Everyone has to examine abroad,” Hrstic stated. “Pick a wild u. S. A ., an area you wouldn’t necessarily see yourself residing in, particularly if it’s a short-time period program.”

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