"I want to continue my education”
By Milena Adzic
"I want to continue my education, I will enrol at the Faculty of Political science in Banja Luka!", I told my parents one evening. I said it in one breath as if I was not aware of the fact that they can’t provide me with further education.
I was thinking a lot about my life and what I want to do. As someone who was used to go to competitions, someone who volunteered and constantly questioned all the social phenomena, I knew that the Social sciences were a path for me. I researched it for a long time, searched for literature, inquired about college until I finally said it out loud to my parents.
My parents gave me a lot of love and attention in life, they each worked three jobs to be able to nurse and educate me. They forgot about their health and consciously sacrificed it for my sister and me. My father is a 70% disabled war veteran and insulin addict, and my mother is a nurse who was unable to get a job in her profession for almost 20 years, even though she tried her best. My family suffered a lot during the war when they lost their daughter, grandparent and uncle. I don’t think they ever recovered from that. We moved 13 times during the war, and our last move was almost 300km away from our hometown with a van in which we packed everything we had. Almost 300km away from everything we loved, everything we are used to and where we grew up, we dropped the anchor and started from scratch.
"I don't expect anything from you, don't worry. I'll manage somehow. I want to enrol at the Faculty of Political science! ". When I said it, I felt bad because I could see the worried look on their faces. It was difficult for me too. Imagine a situation where you need to justify yourself to your parents because you want to continue education. On the other hand, imagine a situation where you need to explain to your child that you are proud that he or she wants to continue education but that you cannot afford it. That was us - my parents on the one side and me on the other. I convinced them that I would manage, that something would happen, but even if everything went wrong, I would at least know that I tried.
I remember that I didn't have the money to buy the books I needed for the entrance exam and that I was going to the library every day after my classes to copy those books as I couldn't get them out of the library. It was very tiring and difficult. In addition to standard obligations I had in High school, I had to go to the library every day. I studied there until I felt hungry, then I would go home since I could buy food only once per day.
I applied for the entrance exam, handed in the documents, and completed the entrance exam. And then I waited for the results. The waiting time felt like a year. Then the results arrived - I've got in! Even today I can't describe what happened in my mind at that moment - happiness, sadness, worry and elation at the same time. Today I can admit that I was secretly hoping that I would not be admitted because that would mean that I was not for college after all and that this was not because of crucial financial situation but because of lack of my competencies.
I started looking for active scholarship competitions online and I saw that for the most of them the deadline to apply was in October or even January and it was too late for me. So I applied to only one - Bosana Foundation Scholarship application. I didn't tell anyone that I applied for the scholarship because I didn't believe I would get it. I had never heard of Bosana before and everything seemed strange and unknown to me, it almost scared of me. After a few days, I've got an email saying that I have received a full scholarship and that all my study expenses will be covered.
I cannot say that I was completely happy back then because I did not know what Bosana is, what exactly they want from me, and what purpose they are fulfilling. You know, when you live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, over the time you learn to question everything. I went to Sarajevo to sign the contract and I can say that from that moment on I became the happiest person in the world. I was expecting Senita or Ajlana to give me a handshake and formally congratulate me on the contract, but they welcomed me with wide-open arms and hugged me like they had known me all my life. From that moment on I became aware that I did not get someone to solve only my financial problems, but that I became a member of a large and complex family that will always be there for me.
After that, life started to be nice for me again. I didn't have to think about how would I pay the rent, or how would I buy the books. I knew that I could rely on Bosana to pay for my study expenses and also for any additional activities such as seminars and training. I could always write to them about my problems, ask for the advice, get a compliment when I accomplish something great. I would immediately tell them that I had passed the exam, I was so happy to prove to them that they haven't made a mistake by choosing me.
I am writing this as a Political scientist graduate and a Project coordinator of the Helsinki Committee for the Human Rights, which I could not have achieved without Bosana Foundation. Besides financing my education, Bosana has taught me to respect anyone who is different in any shape or form from me and has always encouraged me to travel, study, expand my perspectives and break prejudices.
In Bosana, I met many good friends who I still talk to. Every time I would go to a town where Bosana student lives, I could call them for help if I needed it. Everyone is always there for each other, and I don't think any other foundation can say the same. The energy that flows among us cannot be explained. I was expecting things to change after I finished faculty, but I still feel that I belong to Bosana family. We might communicate less now, but every time we do see and hear each other, I feel like nothing has changed. Everyone is still there for me, and I am for them too.
I will never find the right words to thank Bosana and all the donors for all the things they have done for me in previous years. I am currently educating young people on projects related to reconciliation, cooperation, establishing dialogue, and embracing diversity, and I always mention Bosana and all that it has given to me because maybe among these children is a future Bosana student.