Prepping myself for Bosnia, my first international trip, allowed me some time to imagine what some of the possibilities would be for how I would handle a multitude of things: how would I react and respond to the educational learning of all the different historical places we would see, what would it be like to eat Bosnian food, how would I communicate when I was so uncomfortable with not being surrounded by English speakers, what would it be like sharing my experiences with group of people of whom I didn’t know, and most of all, would I be able to adapt to the cultural differences and set aside my privileges in order to view with an open mind. The most noticeable part of my cultural immersion in Bosnia has been highlighting how much my life is very different from those that I have had the pleasure to meet. I am conflicted because I believe I stand out like a tourist and even moreso, an American here. I am hypervigilant in my awareness that I am very privileged and able to go anywhere with the comfort and security that I may be one of the safest people in the country right now because of my citizenship. It makes me humbled and also reflect in how it is that I may be coming across in my naivete as an American/westerner. I have been soaking in my surroundings while I have been in Sarajevo. Seeing and hearing about the genocidehas been surreal as it goes to demonstrate what atrocities happened not too long ago as compared to what Sarajevo is today. My mind is trying to piece together the different contradictions of the bosnian history within the beauty of the country and it’s rich culture/genuine people. It makes me reflect on the differences between my life and someone who has lived their lives in Bosnia and how I need to delve deeper into my biases and “tunnel vision” to prevent the oppression of a group of strongwilled people who have survived it at least once before. I am looking forward to taking it all in and integrating purposeful reflection from a different perspective throughout the duration of the trip.


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