Lessons Learned While in Bosnia
- Enjoy the nightlife!
The nightlife in Bosnia is amazing! On our first night in the country, there was a party at the bar across the street from the hotel which lasted well into the morning. I woke up at 4am to find the party still in full swing. The joviality and youthfulness of this country continue to amaze me. Never would it have crossed my mind that people who had endured so much, could continue to find so much joy in their country and their lives! Learning to find the joy in the little things in life is the key to happiness, and I believe, a huge key to finding serenity and forgiveness.
- Learn about the customs!
The religion, culture, and experiences within this country completely defy everything that I could possibly have imagined. Talking about everything could never do justice to the experience of being within Bosnia. My expectations have been completely blown, my mind opened to new possibilities and beliefs, and my heart has been opened to people who I may never have come into contact with previously!
- Fall in love!
There are many ways to fall in love in this country! However, my best experience was with the amazingly adorable street dogs! While staying in Srebrenica we stayed in a home where there for four puppy dogs that lived outside. After some of the most heavy and painful stories, being able to spend time with these puppies truly allowed me an opportunity to find the joy in life again and fall in love!
- Make new and amazing friends!
These girls have particularly had a huge impact, not only this trip, but also my life. They have challenged me to try new things, broaden my horizon, and try new things. They have been extremely encouraging and such gracious roommates! We have shared multiple experiences together, and they have continuously encouraged me to be adventurous on this trip! I imagine that my first international trip would have been drastically different had it not been for these wonderful women!
- Meet an inspirational woman!
Saliha has truly been one of the most inspirational and amazing women I have ever met in my life! She is a true hero, and it was the biggest possible honor to have had the opportunity to meet her! The most powerful moment of this trip occurred while we visited Saliha at her home, where she shared her amazing and heartbreaking story with us! I asked Hasan to interpret and tell Saliha what an honor it was to meet her, and her response was that it was an honor to meet us students. I broke down in tears when I heard her response, because it was so shocking to me that this woman could be so humble and not recognize how truly amazing she is! I will never forget meeting Saliha or the invaluable lessons I have learned from her!
- And finally, the most important lesson for me! TRY NEW THINGS!
In my “normal” life, I am not an adventurous person. Something about being in a different country has allowed me to have feelings of liberation and excitation, which I would never have experienced back home! I’ve tried new things that I never imagined I would try such as veal, a Turkish toilet, international public transportation, and various other foods. A friend referred to me as a “transformer” because I have become a person she has never seen before. I was also given an extremely touching compliment that I am one of the coolest people because I have been so willing to jump into new situations and try new things! I hope that this is a lesson I will be able to carry with me back across the ocean when I return home!