Keeping Up with the Alumni from Serbia

Natasa Kurucki (2009-2010)

Host university: North Dakota State University, Electrical engineering

Home university: University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences

Operation Hunger Project, South Africa 2011

Since I returned from UGRAD, I got involved in the Skin Cancer Awareness project with another UGRAD alumna Gordana Ilic. I also taught English as part of the free tutoring sessions for college entrance exams. I gave several presentations about the Global UGRAD program at the Education Fair in Belgrade at the University of Novi Sad, and the American Corner in Novi Sad. As for the most notable activities, I studied in Finland, did Semester at Sea, and worked for the Ministry of Science and Technological Development in Serbia. When I was traveling with Semester at Sea, I was part of the nutrition project, where we were comparing the weight of kids living in a township near Cape Town with the normal weight of kids at that age. We found that although most kids had enough kilos, their nutrition was poor because they eat only rice and milk. I am currently studying at the University of Leuven, Belgium, on the Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Sustainable Territorial Development .


Aleksandra Ninkovic (2010-2011)

Host university: University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Graphic Design

Home university: University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Philology and Applied Arts

After one academic year at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire (UWEC) as a UGRAD student, it was very clear to me that activism and advocating for social change would be my next long-term dedication. I decided to use available resources and apply for the Democracy Outreach Alumni Program, which helped me gain a better understanding of women’s rights advocacy. During my studies at UWEC, I got a chance to participate in activities with the UWEC College Feminists, which opened my eyes on various problems we are facing. Issues of domestic violence, healthcare, and equal opportunities for everybody are something that every country is dealing with to some extent. So I wrote a project proposal “Women Art and Activism Month” that was more of a reflection of the past experiences collected along my academic way. Shorty after, my peers and I started another project named “Ogledanje” and we did our best to visit small places in Serbia in order to observe, present, inform and educate people about the problems stated above.

WOOMAN magazine
WOOMAN Magazine

As a result of all of these experiences, my friend and colleague Sanja Solunac and I decided to start an online magazine and a website called WOOMAN in order to promote feminist artwork and writings. My team and I were invited to several events and festivals in order to present our activist work. One of the events we visited was Femikseta Belgrade. I am very proud to say that I was invited to work as a designer for Femikseta 2014. After more than a decade of violent public reactions to Belgrade Pride, this event was peacefully held and I was proud to be part of it together with other UGRAD alumni. In some ways Pride showed me that social change is possible. I believe that our mindsets are changing, and it is only a matter of time and beside all hard work.


Dusan Dimic (2010-2011)

Host university: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Chemistry

Home university: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Physical Chemistry

Sample collection from the excavation for chemical analysis in Israel

Since I returned from the US, I have been working mostly on my personal improvement in the field of natural sciences, which will be my future career. A year after UGRAD, I was one of 20 students selected to participate in the prestigious Summer School at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where I worked in a laboratory for archaeological chemistry. During my fourth year of undergraduate studies and master’s studies, I participated in four conferences and presented results of the research done at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry. In 2014, I was an exchange student at the Research Institute for Theoretical and Applied Physical Chemistry in La Plata, Argentina, where I worked in the theoretical chemistry group for three months. Last November, I started with my PhD studies at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry. In addition, my experience in the US inspired me to become a student representative at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry and a member of the University Parliament.


Kristina Koprivica (2010-2011)

Host university: University of Maine, Journalism

Home university: University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy

Since 2011, I have participated in almost every UGRAD pre-departure orientation and re-entry seminar in Serbia. I believe that it is important for alumni to share their experience with the next generation of UGRAD students, as the knowledge alumni shared with us at our PDO was invaluable. I also held presentations about the UGRAD program for two years in a row at my university in Novi Sad, and a couple of my classmates (Jovana Kovacevic and Tijana Mesterovic) went on program the next year.

Bridge for the better beginings Mostar
Kristina (right) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Last August I participated in a youth exchange program in Bosnia and Herzegovina called Bridge for the Better Beginning, which focused on building understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the young people from the Western Balkan countries. I also recently volunteered with the Serbian Pride Parade and the Mardi Gras Pride Parade in Sydney, Australia.

As for alumni events, I took part in the Skin Cancer Awareness project together with Gordana Ilic who was the alumni coordinator at the time, and we made this skin cancer awareness video. I have also been helping at events organized by the US Embassy in Serbia, one of which involved going to Obrenovac to do clean-up after the floods that hit Serbia in May 2014. During the three-month internship with the Group of the European Youth For Change GEYC, my teammate from Tunisia and I produced a “No Hate Speech” video to support the “No Hate Speech” online campaign.



Stefan Bognar (2013-2014)

Host university: University of Missouri, English

Home university: University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy

Teaching English at American Corner

Since I got back from the US last year, I have been finishing up my studies. I got a job teaching English at the American Corner in Novi Sad. My job involves teaching an English language class for the elderly and a class for the unemployed. Aside from those two courses, I teach a TOEFL prep course. So far, it’s been a great experience!

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