I’ve always wanted to be part of the world where tolerance, peace, and freedom are more represented and appreciated. We all should try to work towards that and make it more accessible for people to have wider opportunities to experience incredible diversity and the phenomenal nature of our planet. The Global UGRAD program was that great opportunity for me, which made it possible to experience life on another continent among people from all around the world. It showed me how people think, what they value, and what they can create and imagine. It is an experience that still motivates me because the majority of people I’ve met on my journey think that the whole world should be equally available to everyone, if possible with less violence.
My host institution was Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). I’ve spent one semester there and met so many unique friends (animals and insects of all kinds, as well), some of whom I am still consulting about my everyday doubts. During our spring break in March, we all have decided to visit New York City. We had been thinking for a while which place to visit, as we only had one break, and after a few discussions and weighing, we all chose NYC due to its diversity and recognition. From the first steps at the New York City Subway to the streets in Manhattan to the Empire State Building to museums, monuments, parks, food, … I was feeling so fulfilled. The energy of this amazing city was present everywhere. On my list of places to visit was the National September 11 Memorial, commemorating the September 11, 2001 attack, where around 3000 people were killed.
I was a kid when the attack happened, but over time I began to understand how many innocent people lost their lives and it was always frightening to think about losing dear people in such a way. Furthermore, we have talked a little bit about this event with our professor of American National Government at FGCU, and I was more familiar with it. It was clear to me that 9/11 is a hard day for all Americans. Having that opportunity to stand at the Memorial, to see roses next to some names of people who have lost their lives, to see two empty spaces and to feel its atmosphere – was something I’ll remember.
This year, for its 8th annual community service, the American Embassy in Belgrade teamed with the Serbian Red Cross and organized a blood drive to commemorate the September 11th attacks. I decided to participate by donating my blood for people in need in Serbia because I saw this action as a meaningful way to support my community while also honoring those who died during the September 11th attacks. I am always glad I can help other people and I am looking forward to donating my blood again in a few months. Moreover, I am grateful to the American Embassy for marking 9/11 day in this way – helping our community and making the world a better place. , 17-18 Global UGRAD student from Serbia
Written by Andelka Milovanovic, 2017-18 Global UGRAD student from Serbia at Florida Gulf Coast University,