Making international connections

Recently some of our volunteers had the opportunity to host a recent University of Melbourne graduate on her travels in Mostar and Sarajevo. We bring you her reflections on our beautiful homeland and the wonderful people she met.

I am..

My name is Gloria Deng and I am a recent University of Melbourne graduate, having completed my Bachelor of Science, majoring in biochemistry. Like many Australians, I then took the opportunity after graduation to go travel for a few months in Europe.

Why Bosnia?

After a few months of travelling through some very touristic countries, I wanted to go somewhere with a different feel. In the back of my mind, I had always thought about going to Bosnia, but I was quite ignorant regarding the history, geography and culture of the place. It was only after arriving I realised how special the place was - not only is there amazing food and an incredibly rich culture, but also there are some amazing, resilient people with generosity beyond description. I only spent one week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I left wishing I had longer.

Gloria Deng.jpg


Reflections?

I was fortunate enough to be put in contact with Zvonimira, a girl from Sarajevo, and she very kindly took me into her home for a few nights. What I did not expect was that this meant I would be welcomed by her whole family, including her mother and her grandmother who gave me so much love that I felt unworthy of. In a similar way to Chinese culture, love is showed in the form of food, and I was non stop eating for 3 days, gaining around 3kg. Zvonimira's friends were also so kind and welcoming, showing me around the city and allowing me to catch a glimpse of what their day to day life entailed. We shared so many laughs over copious cups of coffee (which was the best I had bought in Europe), and it was so interesting to compare the experiences they have had growing up in Bosnia and what I have experienced growing up in Australia. It definitely made me more appreciative of the opportunities I have had access to - especially this opportunity to travel - and also made me reflect on what privileges I receive by virtue of being an Australian citizen. Through these discussions, I also was filled with a desire to see more of country's natural beauty, as it is filled with landscapes that are completely different to what I have at home. All of these experiences combined has made me want to return to Bosnia in the future, and I have no doubt that I will. Not only have I made lifelong friends, but I have also left a deep curiosity to explore this beautiful place even further.

The BH Futures Foundations would like express sincere thanks to Ms. Zvonimira Jakic one of our foundation ambassadors and volunteers and her entire family for hosting Gloria.

We would also like to thank Ms. Alisa Balic for hosting Gloria in the beautiful city of Mostar.

We are connecting Bosnia & Herzegovina with the world.