If you don’t like the news, create your own! - Mirza Cutuk

I had no idea how many things happened in the past period and that seven years had passed since I first set my foot on the grounds of the International University of Sarajevo campus, until I sat to write it down. Coming to IUS came as a natural decision. I graduated from the First Bosniak high school, under the Cambridge International Examinations program and I had already been in an international environment. Having completed my high school education mostly in English, I was ready to tackle the challenges proposed by our professors at IUS. I knew that IUS had a good Computer Science program and well-equipped laboratories, so that’s the path I chose. I did the scholarship exam, won a scholarship and enrolled (simple, right?). I always cherish years spent at IUS as years of my intensive personal and professional growth. I had some great mentors throughout my studies, and I did my best to soak in the knowledge offered at IUS. I always liked extracurriculars, so apart from working hard on learning programming, I was also a member of student clubs, like the debate and entrepreneurship clubs, and I was the president of the basketball club. I made some life-long friends along the way, so when I sum everything that I received from IUS I can say, without any reservations, that IUS was the right choice I made back in2013.

After graduating from IUS, I had several options. I was accepted to the University of Messina for a master’s in Computer Science, and had two internship offers, one in Bergen, Norway and the other one in Zurich, Switzerland. I was eager to continue my education and obtain a master’s degree, but I also wanted to start working and showcase all the skills I obtained during my studies, so I ended up going to Zurich, for a one-year internship at ATUS AG. What I experienced during this year of living and working abroad probably couldn’t fit in just one book, but what I am going to say is that it was a life-shaping experience, and that everyone should do, if not a year, than at least a semester abroad, either studying or working.

My professional journey has taken me through companies such as Obala Art Centar (Sarajevo Film Festival), British Council Bosnia and Herzegovina, EBRD and KPMG, and in each one of those I had an opportunity to grow and develop myself professionally. After spending some time as an IT Advisory Associate at KPMG, and in the midst of the Corona crisis, I received master’s offers from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva. I am writing this from my room in Carouge, Geneva, so that’s where I ultimately ended up. As I had a lot of positives from working while studying and working abroad as well, I decided to launch a web platform encompassing everything from jobs, over internships and scholarships, to educations and competitions called Prilika.ba. I am currently working simultaneously on my master’s and on the web platform – it is already online, go check it out!

Times are not easy for young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they probably won’t get any easier with the Corona crisis and its economic implications. It’s hard to give any advice in a situation like this, but I can give you some words of wisdom that have helped me get through some rough times. My source of endless support are my parents and from them I have learned the following:

-      Always be yourself, and keep your headhigh

-      Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’tknow

-      Don’t be afraid totry

-      Always give110%

I live my life through these rules, and they will help you too, because they are universal and applicable to anything in your life. It is up to you to interpret these, but if you follow them, you will have a strong foundation to power through challenges that await. It is important to remain focused, patient and self-reflective. Always try to improve yourself. I will end with one of the simplest, yet most powerful advice that I encountered, and that is: “If you don’t like the news, create yourown!”.