Receiving support from the University of Minnesota Duluth is the reason Tamara Miskovic is attending the university at this time. “I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina actually from the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina name Sarajevo and I came to the United States two months ago starting my social work master’s program here. Then I had an interview with the Dean of UMD,” she says.
“Actually, I came here because people from the University of Minnesota Duluth were willing to support me because for young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina it is very difficult to afford money and to come abroad to study. So I got support and that was the main reason for my decision to come and study at the University of Minnesota.”
As the twenty-seven year old works towards a master's degree in social work, Tamara says her interest in the field started back home after realizing that her peers as well as herself needed basic services after the war there. "Actually, I finish social work at the university in Sarajevo and that was after the war. I was a kid during the war so social work is a human science and it attracted me to start changing not only something for myself, but also for the community and my peers in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she says.
“So after the war there was a huge rate of unemployment. No one guaranteed that they would find employment when they finish studying. Also, if I go back to my country with my master’s degree no one will guarantee that I will be able to find work. We can always work but voluntary. Also, these days there is post-traumatic syndrome with kids who are growing up divided between religions Catholic Bosnia’s is what we call them or orthodox so the country is divided. "I work there on integrating and reconciliation through different projects and activities to save those kids there,” she says.
“Also, people are in state of basic social needs or basic human needs. They need food. They need clothes and they need it now immediately and society has bigger problems and can't give support to kids so we have to do something for ourselves and care for ourselves so that is one of the reasons and how I decided and started with social work.”
Tamara says the university is a great place and she likes the diversity among students as well as the flexibility of the professors. “The first thing that I realize immediately when I came to the university was the differences and diversity among students and for me to be among those things was a huge and very big deal,” she says.
“I liked it so much and the other thing is the program and how it is created. How theory and practice are very integrated, but sometimes we lack in other countries so I got the opportunity immediately to implement everything that I studied. Also, flexibility and openness of professors is another thing that I like so much so I have to study hard, but that is something that I like and that gives me an opportunity to learn as much as possible.”
As an international student, Tamara says one thing she would like to achieve is meeting and becoming friends with American students. “This year I was thinking I was not culture shock, but again I had to go through the process and also I am alone here I don’t have any family," she says.
"Actually I have a host mother who helped me and with whom I live now, but international students are alone here when they don’t have their community then it is more difficult for them to deal with the culture shock,” she says.
“The question I am asking people around is how to make friends with American peers, with people from America who study with us. Sometimes what I see at the university is that there are multi-cultural clubs, but I am just afraid that it is only multi-cultural people that I see there. I would like more Americans to be involved with us and to be with us and I would like us to become friends.”
As for graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth, Tamara says...”If everything is okay I should graduate in May 2009."