How I Fell In Love With Sarajevo

Alzebeth Roman
June 30, 2014

I’m sure some of you are wondering why am I in Sarajevo and I didn’t make it clear before, but it’s a field study trip which is a part of my study abroad program. The program I am in is focused on the relationship between the European Union, the Western Balkans, and Turkey. So far the 1st half of the program was spent on history and looking at the socioeconomic issues that have defined Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) for the past 100 years, with an emphasis on post-WWII political structures and institutions. In Sarajevo, our academic instruction was integrated with real-world experiences as we have met with a representative from the EU who has gave us a diplomatic view on the current situation in BiH,several NGO representatives focused on areas like education, and artists who have produced documentaries and other forms of visual media which tell the history of this region. The trip has been great so far, in terms of the academic experiences, but nothing compares to the growing love I have for this city and its people.

Every day I’m looking forward to walking around the streets, with nothing really planned to do. Honestly, a lot of my time has been spent exploring random alleys and side streets which led me to some of the most interesting, but kind-hearted, people. I have to admit that most of my interactions with locals has been through either food or shopping, but even on the street it’s not hard to find someone to smile at you. I’ve made myself a regular at the ćevapčići place around the corner from the hotel and one of the owners smiles and talks to me every time I’ve gone in. I’ve also bought a great purse (Babi would be proud) at the Bazaar and chatted with the saleswoman who was telling me her experience of attending University here (she apparently went as far as getting a Masters’ in Genetics, but there are no jobs since the current rate of unemployment in Bosnia is about 20-25%, depending on who you ask…) We shared laughs about having to study when all we want to do is be out with friends and she told me what most every adult tells me about enjoying college and living each day to the fullest because you can’t go back once it’s over. It’s these little moments that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… for lack of a better word.

However, no matter how beautiful and kind the people, there is the constant presence of poverty and struggle. Also, with all the knowledge I have about the institutional structures here, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for this country and its incredibly divided people. The ethnic struggles are real, and as one person put it the conflict of the 90′s has not ended, it just seems frozen. With a gridlocked government, widespread corruption, and a divided education system, the country has not made progress in the way the Western World would like them to.

I want to stay, learn, and do things here… In a matter of days Sarajevo has stolen my heart and I don’t think it plans on giving it back. 20140627_132423 20140627_132215 2014-06-27 21.37.42 20140627_102527 20140627_191710 20140627_191701 20140627_133215 9

Alzebeth Roman

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Alzebeth Roman and I am currently a Senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh studying Accounting with minors in International Studies and Political Science. This summer, I will be studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany learning about the politics of the EU and its&#39; neighbors. This is only my second time traveling out of the United States and my first time in Europe. In my spare time, I love service, reading, swimming, dancing, napping, and writing which I plan to do in my free time while abroad!</span></div>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
North Carolina State University
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