Goodbye, Sarajevo

imageSomehow our program and our time in Bosnia has come to an end already. Everyone left yesterday for the airport to catch their planes to various destinations. Claire and I had an extra day in Sarajevo; we left today for Ljubljana, Slovenia. It always happens this way but I really can’t believe our program is over already. The time here really flew by. I keep thinking I can understand why Ann is so excited to come back here every year and why this feels like a second home to her. I have grown very fond of Sarajevo in our short time here. Two weeks sounded like a good length of time before I left but actually being here it seemed so short.

I’ve been trying to process and reflect on what I would like to convey in this final blog post. I feel deeply that I have learned so much but it is hard to adequately translate the lessons and the knowledge I’ve gained into words. The only way I can think to describe it is that this experience just feels transformative. I didn’t learn just about Bosnia or about war or genocide or social work, I learned about humanity and truth and resilience and kindness in a way that is so universal across the globe. I know that sounds vague but it’s the best way I know how to explain it. I am deeply grateful to DU and GSSW and  to Ann for making this program an accessible opportunity. I’ve been thinking about people who talked about doing the course but decided not to because of the cost and figured they could travel to Bosnia on their own and get the same experience. I completely understand the cost being prohibitive, but there is no way I would’ve come close to experiencing what I did without doing it through this course. The connections Ann has made, the people she knows, the learning opportunities she has cultivated through all her time here are invaluable and irreplaceable. I wouldn’t have gained a sliver of what I got out of this trip without the connections made possible by Ann. The people we spent time with who kindly took so much time and energy out of their busy lives to be with us, to tell us their stories, to educate us, to show us around, made the experience what it was. And what it was was truly life changing. I am so thankful. I hope this isn’t a permanent goodbye and I will return to Sarajevo someday!

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