Amalija Laslo attends George Fox University in Oregon. Her major International Relations with a minor in Peace Studies, Sociology has a lot to do with where she is from. “I’m from Serbia from Eastern Europe and I come from a conflict region. My country was affected in the past with a lot of conflict and a lot of civil wars and once what was former Yugoslavia because of civil war it separated into so many different regions,” she says.
“After doing research, I realized that this major International Relations with Peace Studies and Sociology helps me a lot to learn about this communication and relation between different cultures, or different religion and how there are ways that even though different still it is possible to communicate and not only communicate, but to communicate effectively.”
This is Amalija second year at the university. The 27-year-old says some of her personal experiences as well as academic experiences at the university have developed her overall as a student. “Being a student at George Fox helps me a lot in growing as a person, learning of how I relate to different things and different ways and at times it can be very challenging because I feel very, very lonely and it is because I am the only student from Europe. All of the rest of the international students are from Asia, so I’m really the minority at George Fox University, but now as I look back on last year I can see a huge improvement on how I relate to others and how others relate to me,” she says.
“Education here is not something abstract. It is very personal, very practical. Education at least here at George Fox it is connected to textbooks and grades, but it is something we can apply not only in our work afterwards, but also in our lives and what I find very different from my country is the way professors invest in the students,” she says.
“I’m highly surprised and I admire their readiness to help out students and invest their time and invest their resources and help students to bring there best and this is something very different. Relationship professors have with their students, it is so much more higher level than in my country.”
Amalija says she isn't too involved with campus activities because her work and her studies take up most of her time. “I do have work on campus. I work for Center for Peace and Justice and for Global Studies Center and this is something that I do,” she says. “It’s again
Connected to school, but its in a way also separate because my work in a way is different than my studies, but I would say that my work and my studies at the moment are taking most of my time.”
While going to school at George Fox, Amalija is living with a host family which she says has been very supportive and has made her feel like she is part of the family. “This is the first time I had the experience to live with a host family and they are a wonderful family and
they consider me honestly and really as being apart of their family and I do consider them as being my new family and their help and their support, when I say this I am not exaggerating help me to come so far. Without their help I don’t think I could have help made it thru my first year,” she says.
“They were my support in anything that I can remember and think of and I am very, very thankful for them. They are a wonderful family.”
Graduation for Amalija is in 2011, however when she finishes she is focused on the next phase of her life. “I want to do one year internship in Ireland and hopefully if I can get an internship over there, then after that I would like to go and work in the region that I come from. Not necessary Serbia, but maybe Croatia or Bosnia, but it has to be Balkan region.”