Student Profile: Biljana Jovanova
Why did you go abroad?
The decision to go study abroad originated from a presentation that I attended about the program. At that time, starting my junior year, I was looking to explore the professional development opportunities that UTSA was extending. My strong belief was that by strengthening my international awareness, I would be able to acquire a valuable skillset that will promote my academic and professional career.
What did you expect to learn out of your experience?
My expectations were twofold. On a personal level, I expected to be challenged to change my thoughts, strengthen my cultural knowledge, to grow and be comfortable in a foreign environment, be tête-à-tête, or face to face, with a different language, food, custom, music and tradition. On a broader level, I expected to be a valuable and contributing part of my group, because the experience is magnified by the group interaction.
How have you changed?
For me, the change happened after we came back to San Antonio. The change happened in a very subtle, indirect way.
When we were in the immersion, we all felt excited and overwhelmed (in a good way) literally 24/7. We were constantly going places, visiting companies such as BMW and Swarovski, interacting with high-ranking professionals, hiking the Alps, enjoying great food and fantastic music.
There were a lot of cultural differences that were very palpable, but yet very welcoming. I have learnt to accept differences with an open mind and be courageous to step into the unknown. In my opinion, change is great! Especially now, while we, as college students, are in a very pivotal time in our lives.
Why should students consider studying abroad?
It is a known fact that the world is a global village. Having international experience will be a huge asset and advantage to your professional career. This shows to future employers that you are adaptable, resilient, flexible, global-minded, and a team player. And plus, it is so much fun!
You get to meet new people and make friendships with your lead professors and peers. If you pursue a study abroad program, you will have nothing but a huge beneficial step forward in your academic and professional role in society.
What advice would you offer to a student who would like to go abroad, but is nervous about the expense and the time away from family?
My advice to the students is to GO FOR IT! Step away from your comfort zone and experience something new, out of the ordinary, and exciting. Grab this opportunity that UTSA offers and use it to promote yourself.
If you are worried that you will be away from your family, think about it in this way: It is not forever! Programs range from two weeks to a semester, but then you will be back you will be happy you went. Trust me, your family will be proud of you and support you every step of the way. If you are worried about expenses, than plan ahead- talk with your advisors, apply for scholarships, and put money aside. UTSA has programs that will help you financially and make your international dream a reality. Use your resources and don’t forget─APPLY! You will be happy you did!