Reentry in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2014

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by Lamija Jamak, YES Bosnia and Herzegovina ’14

One of the things that I was looking forward to after I came back from America in June, was our re-­entry seminar. I was excited to see my fellow friends and hear about how they re­-adapted in their communities. Re­entry was held on 28th and 29th of August. Good partners of American Councils, American Corner in Sarajevo gladly opened their doors for us. It was great to see the 11 familiar faces of the Bosnia and Herzegovina ’14 alumni again after couple months, and yes, our whole group showed up. Our alumni coordinator was very impressed and said that it was the first time that the whole group attended re-entry seminar, and I was proud to be a part of that group. After chatting for couple minutes we sat down and the seminar officially started.

The first day was very relaxed. We had couple activities as ice breakers that actually lead into some discussions. Each one of us had a different experience while spending 10 months in the US, but we all agreed that we have changed in a better way. In my opinion, re­entry helped me a lot to realize that I wasn’t the only one who was going through some difficulties after coming back home. I feel very blessed to have this group of students who went with me on this adventure but also to have a support from alumni organization and American Councils. After sharing our experiences, we had an alumni activity where YES Abroad students joined and together we cleaned the National Park Vraca. It was a great example how easy it is to improve your community. Step by step, change is possible. It’s more difficult to find a problem then to find a solution for it, especially when we have such a big support. We spent that afternoon with Abroad students, talking and sharing our experiences. It was very interesting to hear their stories and we decided to stay in contact with them for many other activities to come. Their optimism and help is very much appreciated.

Second day was very important. We had a visit from the American Embassy in Sarajevo. The representatives were interested to hear about our year spent in the US and we appreciated their visit. We talked about our projects and applying for small grants. Our alumni coordinator explained us the procedure for applying and after that showed us couple of projects that other alumni students have already done. I was very impressed and inspired to start my own project. After that we started planning our projects and sharing our ideas. We would talk about our ideas and then our alumni coordinator would help us how to work out the kinks. At the end we all left very satisfied and encouraged. We couldn’t thank enough to the YES program for providing us this opportunity, American Councils for their constant support and our Alumni organization to which each one one of us will soon contribute. I can honestly say that this seminar was an eye­opening experience for me.