What’s your story?
Every time when this question pops out, I have to take some time and think about it. I am Marijana, a 23 year old Bosnian girl. Coming from a smaller but historically significant town, Gradacac, I am currently a student of Graphic Design and Multimedia at International Burch University. During these 23 years I have been interested in a lot of different things. Since I was a child, I was interested in drawing and painting. Besides that, I attended music school while in elementary school, playing piano and singing in a choir. Also, I have learned to play the guitar. And I used to play chess. Oh, big fan of camping as well - add a music festival to it and you have a perfect combination.
Five years ago, I wanted to study graphic design. Different circumstances led me to the Faculty of electrical engineering - just to find a way back again to graphic design. Nevertheless, I am still a big fan of Nikola Tesla! For four years I have been an active member of Electrical Engineering Student’s European Association EESTEC, both on local and international level. As a member of EESTEC, I could say I have learned way more about people and useful things in life, than I learned in high school and faculty all together. That’s where I started to learn about basics of graphic design from other members, also students as I am. But that was not the only thing I learned (and of course, I am still learning). Various set of skills, be it so called soft skills or hard skills, like leadership, communication, project management, public relations, fundraising… You name it, EESTEC can offer it. And it is also about people. It is, actually, about people the most. They say you make lifelong friendships on college - but making friends all over Europe? That’s something special!
After being a part of organizational committee for local soft skills oriented workshop for two times, one time as a design team leader and then as a head organizer, natural flow of things for me was to also become a soft skills trainer myself. In my opinion, gaining and sharing knowledge works both ways - you can always learn something new from others.
Last year, I realized engineering is not something I want to do for a living. Instead, I simply prefer to work with young, open-minded people and offer visually creative solutions. I decided design and marketing are, for now, the path I am taking and it is yet to be seen how far will it take me. Fully aware of how I am not the same person I was four years ago and how it all above said helped me improve, my next goal is to inspire others the same way in order to recognize their own wishes and needs, unleash their full potential and be grateful for opportunities given..
What can you say about Bosnia and Herzegovina? How would you describe your country?
This is a tough one. People can hear a lot of negative things about politics in Bosnia and about everyday conflicts happening even 23 years after the Civil war that occurred from 1992 to 1995. And the truth is, they are true. A lot of people, especially young people, left Bosnia and went looking for a better future in some other countries like Germany, Austria, Slovenia… But there is still a majority who chose to stay. I did. In Bosnia, we survive mainly because of our humor. Name the situation, we will have a joke about it, anecdote or something. And we will laugh about it. We will also learn something from it because in every joke there is some truth, some kind of message. I don’t know if there is another country in the world where people have this spirit like Bosnians do.
Almost 50% of Bosnia is covered in forests. Nature here is truly mesmerizing - mountains with breathtaking views, just 10 minutes ride from the capital’s center, emerald green rivers, rich pannonia fields, mountain lakes and small town on the coast of Adriatic sea… Did you know we have one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe? It’s Perucica, part of Sutjeska National park, along with Maglic, our highest mountain peak. Our rich history throughout ages, our traditions, architecture and culture… it’s something one has to experience for themselves. We call it merak - you have to feel it and then you’ll understand it. That’s what we live by.
What’s your dream?
I would say I yet have to define it. There are blurry pictures in my mind of where I would like to see myself, but my ideas often change and tend to get totally different course from previous ones. Simply said, my dream would be to feel fulfilled no matter where I am or what I do, and to be surrounded with people that share the same idea of living. You know how they say, I may not know where I am going - but I am on my way.
In your opinion, what would make the world better place?
Getting rid of all prejudices and stigmas, expressing ourselves freely, without being judged, and to listen to each other for the sake of strengthening our bonds, rather than just saying something in return. There are so many ways to widen our horizons but we first have to start from ourselves - the problem is that’s the hardest part. Jumping out of our comfort zone and looking deeper inside of ourselves can offer answers to questions we have that no one else can answer better, if at all.
Maybe everyone should just feel at least a bit of merak and things will go better. There’s the reason to come to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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