When I initially began the pre-departure meetings for the program, I was a little concerned that I did not know where I would be working or what I would be doing. As the time to leave grew closer, my anxiety only increased. And when I arrived and had yet to find out what I would be doing, I was understandably still concerned. However, what I did not realize was the sort of opportunity that I had been given. Instead of being told my exact duties and what precisely I would be doing over the course of the next seven weeks, I was given the opportunity to in effect create my own internship and method of utilizing my time in Bosnia.
And so that’s what I did. I created my own program proposal that would allow me to do my own research and work with some of those there as well as contribute to the practical needs of the museum. It would mean that while I would be doing the kinds of things I was accustomed to in my graduate program, I would get to see how the museum works from behind the scenes and handle historical artifacts. At the same time, I would get to see how a museum with very little resources operates and provides their services to the public.
One of my favorite experiences with the museum was in helping them move rifles, pistols and grenades from the Second World War (all disarmed of course) to a new exhibit. I suppose that playing video games doesn’t quite prepare you for the actual heft the weapons carry. It was quite funny to see myself holding grenades in my hands like I would apples and handing a bazooka from one person to the next. Though at the same time it was also a realization and bringing about of consciousness to their intended purpose. I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t skip a beat when a grenade fell from my hand and onto the floor.
As for my personal project, I’m going to try to do some primary research –though I doubt I’ll be able to get much data since I leave soon – and I’m going to do some conflict analysis on the country. It probably won’t be published or make it to any journals, but for me at least, I will feel that I have a better grasp about what is going on here beyond what you might read in the news.
I’m happy that I finally know what I’m doing in Sarajevo. For the first few of weeks, I was concerned that all I would be doing at the museum would be providing free labor and moving things around the museum. But instead, I found that I had been given an opportunity to really test my skills and do something that truly interests me. It was definitely not what I expected and I’m happy it wasn’t. I’m sure that it will continue to be a truly growing experience for the rest of my brief time here.