Student Stories

Student exchange - Dia‘s experience

June 12th, 2024

One of the most beautiful periods in my life was when I continued my education after finishing high school. Studying brought with it many challenges and sacrifices, and although student life is full of ups and downs, I chose to endure everything I encountered on the way to graduation. I managed to overcome all obstacles and reap wonderful fruits, one of which was participating in student exchange programs. Excellent life experiences - trips and student exchange programs provided me with extraordinary opportunities for acquiring new skills and knowledge, as well as opportunities to meet new people and explore other cultures. I felt how such an experience enriched my personal and academic life and how it contributed to my development and enriched my understanding of society. Below is my wonderful story of one such experience. 

I had the opportunity in the academic year 2022/2023 to be on two student exchanges, namely in Rome and Rijeka. Thanks to the Erasmus student mobility program, I completed my master's degree in psychology at the Italian University "Tor Vergata" in Rome during the autumn semester of the academic year 2022/2023. The lectures were in English, and at the same time, I was given a free online Italian language course. The professors were extremely accommodating and fair. I shared a two-room apartment near the Roman Colosseum with friends, also Erasmus scholars from Sarajevo. We found and booked accommodation before traveling to Rome, so we started functioning as a team straight away. Thanks to them, my first long separation from my family was much more painless.

Precisely because of this, one of my recommendations for future scholars would be to try to connect with students of the same faculty, city, or country, so that they do not step into this adventure completely alone. However, everyone in their way, in a completely new environment, whether they are in a group or not, upgrades themselves and feels what independence and self-confidence mean. 

Traveling by metro or subway to and from college was also a new experience for me. Thanks to Erasmus, I made numerous acquaintances and exchanged knowledge with students from all over the world. I managed to save some money, so I used my free time on tourist trips to Naples, Sicily, and Malta, as well as to Estonia and Latvia. I think that in six months of staying in one of the world's most beautiful cities, I got to know the most important things it had to offer. Walking through its streets, I traveled through time and tried to immortalize at least a part of that beauty with photographs. I saw for myself why all roads lead to Rome. 

While studying in the eternal city, taking advantage of a unique opportunity in my life, I was presented with another opportunity to study abroad in the Republic of Croatia as part of the CEEPUS program for the next summer semester. Without much thought, thanks to my previous experience, and much more confidence in myself, I applied and very quickly received a positive response. I was accepted to the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Rijeka. 

This time, without a team, I arrived alone from Italy in Rijeka, the largest Croatian port. The only advantage was that I had already been in Rijeka several times as a tourist, so I knew the city well. I could once again enjoy the Mediterranean climate and the city of rich history and culture. Everything else was new and different. For the first time, I stayed in a student dormitory, more precisely, in the Trsat student settlement, the most modern and most beautiful in Croatia, built in 2016, while my faculty was in its immediate vicinity. During my studies in Rijeka, in addition to making new friends, I also gained a lot of practical experience. I would especially like to emphasize the experience of practical work in the County Special Hospital "Insula" on Rab, as well as work with children in elementary school, all as part of the Clinical Assessment course. This practice was significant for my further progress in the profession. 

Thanks to the Bosana Foundation, which was the wind behind me during this process, I was able to achieve my goals and be one of those lucky people who had the opportunity to live and study in two beautiful cities in one academic year. Both exchanges enriched me with new experiences and new friends. I would highly recommend everyone to apply for a student exchange and be a part of this unforgettable experience.

Dia Bičakčić, a student at the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo and a scholarship recipient of the Bosana Foundation 2021/2022.

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