Emina Učambarlić - One flew over the freedom’s nest

I was in my second year of high school when the DNA molecule was introduced to me. For a sixteen-year-old teenager, the DNA molecule with its iconic shape was a window into an unknown world in which you can find instructions for the development and molecular mechanisms of all living organisms. I was amazed by the fact that there is one tiny molecule in every single cell that orchestrates life. Two years later I started studying Genetics and Bioengineering at the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) and that is where I became completely absorbed in the world of science.

During my studies at IUS, I was encouraged to gain additional experience abroad, so I spent one semester in Turkey as an exchange student at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. ThatwasthetimewhenIbecameawarethatacombinedfeelingoffearandexcitementisagood enough reason to give it a go. That moment when I set foot abroad, my personal development expanded. Besides that, the international academic community is an important aspect of professional evolution, so studying in a different country brought me international connections and fresh information on different topics. 

One of the conditions to get your diploma at IUS is to conduct a minimum of one month of an internship in the field of your interest. My first internship was at The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in SarajevoLater, in 2018, I was awarded a scholarship by the German Government and got an opportunity to do a 6 months long internship at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, where I worked on a project related to antibiotic development. Because of that experience, I had to extend my studies at IUS for one year more, but I got much more than I expected in return. Living and working in Germany gave me insight into what I want and most importantly, what I don’t want. Some things that were once important no longer matter. Things that didn't seem important before now matter more to me.

Right now, I am doing my Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. I am still in the process of deciding on what should be my next move, but most probably I will continue my career in academia and embark on Ph.D. studies.

Studying at the International University of Sarajevo is an important and beautiful period of my life. The most important memories I carry are those from the people I was surrounded by. I will always remember several very supportive professors who influenced many good choices I made and wonderful, lifetime friendships I have built up.

In the end, for all of you reading this, remember that there isn’t one proven and unique way of success and no one can give you clear instructions on that. You can listen to someone's stories to be inspired, but in the end, it is up to you to figure out your way. However, I am confident inIUS as a competent starting point.