I find it hard to describe myself and present my life story. Why? Because it’s so dynamic that even I struggle to keep up with it at times. But before joining UWC Mostar, that really wasn’t the case. My name is Aljoša and I led your average teenager life in my home city of Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was a very good student at my gymnasium high school, exploring my future options. My parent’s wish was for me to go to Vienna and study medicine, but I always had my mind set on social sciences. My plans were to go to Split, a city in Croatia I love dearly, study law and follow a similar career path as my mother, who also studied law. But alas, that was not what life had in store for me.
All my life, I was constantly interacting with different cultures and with people from different backgrounds than mine. In Zenica, I was a third culture individual, raised by a Croat father and a Serbian mother in a Bosniak city in a country where the tensions between the two shape the political scene and how the country itself is ran. So, when I heard about UWC and its idea of bridging different cultures through the force of education, I loved the idea of it. And so, in August 2020, I saw myself entering Mostar, a place I will always call home, regardless of where life takes me. The most exciting prospect of UWC Mostar was the idea of living and interacting with people from all over the world. I saw it as a unique opportunity to broaden my horizons and meet interesting people, all of which excelled at something. And I must say that I was not disappointed. The most amazing part of the UWC experience are the people you meet and I’ve met many amazing people and formed friendships that I will carry with me wherever I go.
When it was time to start the university/college application process, I’ve wanted to find a place with a similar atmosphere to UWC. I searched for a place where the differences between people are celebrated, and a strong focus is put on broadening our horizons through interaction with others. My search led me to Lewis & Clark College. While it may be far from home, over 9000 km to be exact, I’m sure that I will fit right in because of the atmosphere Lewis & Clark strives to create on campus and because of the strong academic programme it offers.
Speaking of academics, my career goals have changed since the days of thinking about Law school in Split, although not by that much. I plan on majoring in International Affairs, on course to gaining a masters degree in International Law. Where I will do my masters, I do not know, but for now I’m set and excited to spend the next 4 years of my life in Portland.
As already mentioned, I lived a fairly basic life before UWC, but with an addition that made my life different to everybody else’s, which is basketball. Basketball is a sport I’ve invested 6 years of my life in and something that I think of as a part of my identity. Throughout those 6 years, I’ve travelled across Bosnia and Herzegovina, playing the sport wherever and whenever possible. After many tournaments, wins, losses, friendships formed and rivalries forged, it was time to put it on the side and look at it as a hobby, and not as a very important part of my life, as it used to be. But my love for it hasn’t grown any smaller. In Mostar, I was fortunate to have a group of friends who’ve also invested a lot of time into the sport and together, we’ve spent countless hours playing it when we could find the time for it. At Lewis & Clark, I plan on always having a basketball close to me just like I did in Zenica and Mostar. Besides basketball, I’m also a big football fan and I enjoy reading and watching videos about history. I truly am a social sciences kid.
I’ve explored Bosnia and Herzegovina far and wide, seeing pretty much everything it has to offer. Granted, it is a small country so it wasn’t that hard but it is still an accomplishment I’m proud off. In addition to exploring B&H, I’ve also travelled up and down the Croatian coastline and even the inland, and I was lucky enough to visit many of Croatia’s most important and most beautiful landmarks. I’ve also been in Serbia and Italy, with Italy in particular being an amazing trip with friends that I will never forget. Still, I feel like I haven’t travelled much, especially for a person who enjoys seeing new things and meeting new people so I hope that I will get the chance to explore Portland, Oregon and maybe even other parts of the US.
When it comes to my other aspirations during my time at Lewis & Clark, I’ve learned that the best thing you can do is not to have expectations and to be spontaneous. I believe this mentality enables you to live life to the fullest and it is, to put it simply, the most interesting way of living life. What I do want to do in L&C is to meet good, interesting people and make the best out of the next 4 years of my life.