Political Science

Summer Study Abroad

BelgradeIn Belgrade, Serbia, Podgorica, Montenegro and Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

with Excursions to Monasteries in Serbia and Montenero, to Srebrenica in Bosnia and Dubrovnik, Croatia

Program Overview
Senior Lecturer and former diplomat and Ambassador Vladimir Matic has been organizing programs in his old country since 2006. This is what students say: "amazing", "best experience of my life", "gave me a better understanding of international relations than all my previous studies combined", "had so much fun", "wish I could have stayed longer".

This program provides a unique opportunity to learn about the world and Europe - a troubled history and current developments, culture and most importantly about people - by living there submerged in a foreign yet safe and friendly environment. You will meet people from all strata of life and absorb new knowledge by socializing with your peers and making friends and experiencing all aspects of life in one of the most vibrant and hospitable European capitals which never sleeps and where people live a rich social life. You will enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Mediterranean coast, see three of the best preserved medieval cities in the world and experience the magnificent Adriatic Sea beaches. 

A challenging and rewarding program (6 credit hours) includes:

  • Briefings by government and other officials, diplomats and journalists, sessions with representatives of nongovernmental organizations and students.
  • Meetings and discussions with faculty, students and young professionals arranged in collaboration with the School of Political Sciences in Belgrade and in Podgorica, Diplomatic Academy and European Movement.
  • Visits to museums, historic monuments and churches, exhibitions, concerts and sightseeing as well as excursions to other cities.

The entire program will be conducted in English.

For the summer 2014 student blog, click on this link.


"Picturing Peace: A Modern Day Look at the Balkans Through American Eyes"
by Sarah Meadows

"Serbia Through the Eyes of American Students" by Allison Argoe, Jessica Cygan, and Kelly Hutchinson


Costs (mostly covered by tuition): 
Program fee of approximately $980 includes accommodation in a three star hotel in the heart of the city, transportation in Serbia and Montenegro and excursions, museum and event tickets (concerts or opera and ballet), course materials and health insurance. Airfare and tuition are not included. Out of state and non-Clemson students pay the same amount ($ 550 per credit).

NOTE: Only 12 students participate in this opportunity each year. If you want educational enrichment, 6 credit hours, to visit four countries in one month, and to have the time of your young life, apply now to secure your placement in the program. For more information about the trip or to apply, contact Professor Matic by email (vmatic@clemson.edu) or in person (230 Brackett Hall)

Academic Program
The courses offered are PO SC 459: Ethnic Violence and PO SC 489/689: The Balkans and the International Community (one of these courses may be substituted with PO SC 410: Directed Study in International Affairs or PO SC 878: Selected Topics).

Monday through Friday program will be based on the following schedule:

  • 9:00-10:30AM  Review and critical analysis of the program/meetings of the previous day followed by a lecture/presentation and discussion.
  • 11:00AM-12:00PM Visits to museums, monuments, churches etc.
  • 2:30-4:00PM Meetings with local representatives and conferences. 

Also every week there will be a meeting with the students and faculty of the School of Political Sciences with presentations and discussion (topics will be proposed by both sides in advance).

You will learn and develop skills through interaction with Serbian students and faculty, young professionals and high ranking officials. After having spent a month there you'll be enriched by an experience which will make you cosmopolitan in more ways than one. Your horizons will be broadened and you will be able to better understand developments in Europe and have your own opinion about major issues. Most importantly you will better understand your own country, its policy and culture and appreciate more its diversity and the core values it has been built around so you can carry on the torch successfully in the XXI century.

BelgradeAbout Belgrade
Belgrade, a jewel of European tourism, is a city with almost two million people but its center - the old city - is small enough to get acquainted with in a few days only and start feeling at home.

It is situated between northern and southern Europe, between East and West and Europe and Asia at crossroads where civilizations met and armies and empires clashed, where religions engaged in struggle for souls and cultures and ideas fused to create a new rich and unique environment which combines today European finesse and oriental refinement.

Numerous museums provide vivid displays of Serbian rich cultural heritage both past masterpieces including frescos and contemporary art. Belgrade boasts some of the greatest night life to be found anywhere in Europe including world-class opera, ballet, concerts (classic & rock) and other performances. It is also famous for its restaurants and clubs, many with live music and all with cuisine combining best of the European and oriental.

Most importantly visitors are spellbound by the atmosphere of this city and hospitality. Their enjoyment of its still inexpensive cultural events and delicious food is surpassed only by the joy of discovery of a new world and making new friends.

MontenegroAbout Montenegro
The same can be said about the atmosphere in Montenegro, the pearl of the Mediterranean which has attracted for centuries adventure seekers as well as poets. Madonna was just the last in a long series of famous visitors of this fascinating country where majestic mountains reach all the way to the lovely beaches washed by clear blue sea. The coast is dotted with historical towns which offer beauty, serenity and hospitality off the beaten tourist paths. This proud small nation, independent again since 2006, has a reach history and many Roman and Byzantine monuments are preserved along with later cultural influence of Venice and Austria.

An excursion to Dubrovnik, Croatia will take you to a medieval city which holds a prominent place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage because of its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces, streets with fountains and buildings mostly from XIII and XVI century. You will walk the stone paved streets and the walls of the fortress which once protected this city republic.

Recent History and Serbia TodayRecent History and Serbia Today
Former Yugoslavia was one of the pillars of European security structure throughout the Cold War and played an important role in international politics based on its strategic position and fiercely independent policy and exceeding by far its power and size. In early nineties this federation began unraveling and today there are seven sovereign states in its place, Serbia being one of them. Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, however Serbia has not recognized this act and still considers Kosovo a part of its territory. The process of disintegration was violent and heinous crimes were committed very often by nationalist paramilitary groups against civilian population in what was named ethnic cleansing – attempts to create ethnically pure national states.

There have been no military conflicts or violence since 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, but the international community remains heavily involved in the area with NATO forces providing security in Kosovo and UN (along with the EU) administering it.

In the past several years despite all odds Serbia has, assisted generously by the international community after the removal of Milosevic from power, achieved progress and its capital Belgrade (formerly capital of Yugoslavia) has become one of the most vibrant cities on the continent. 

Student Impressions About the Program

National Scholars Trip - May 2006
A group of 11 Clemson National Scholars traveled to Belgrade in May, 2006 to study the past, present and future of that part of Europe. These are some of the impressions of Professor William Lasser, Director of the Program and students Damon Andrews, Lauren Smith, Stephen Lareau, Kate Hicks and Laura Hart.

Professor Lasser says "Traveling to Belgrade with Professor Vladimir Matic was an extraordinary experience. Belgrade is a marvelous city – full of restaurants, cafes, shops of all kinds – with thousands of years of history. My students had a wonderful time, but – more importantly – they had a first-hand look at a complex nation, poised between East and West, trying to emerge from a tragic and difficult experience in the 1990ies. They came home with a better appreciation of Europe, of international relations, and of their own country."

Trip and program
The trip to Serbia exceeded Damon's expectations. He says "The people we were in contact with and the knowledge and insight that were shared are invaluable. In addition, the Yugoslav crisis has taken a backseat to Iraq, and being face-to-face with such an important issue in that nation brought about its importance despite the media loosing coverage on it."

Lauren thinks that the group of students was generally prepared so there were no startling revelations. Professor Matic "prepared us very well for the different viewpoints we would experience. I felt like the meetings with public officials and NGOs offered an interesting perspective on past events and future outlook".

She says "Student groups like the National Scholars are an amazing way to foster communication between two societies, especially because engaging young people, the next generation of leaders, will ensure that future progress will be made in understanding and appreciating differences."

The United States Ambassador to Serbia Michael Polt, who received the group, emphasized the importance of such programs and direct communication of the young and praised the national Scholars initiative and students who came well prepared and with great questions for him. 

Stephen was very pleased with the program and observed "I did not expect to have the nearly unlimited access to high ranking officials as a foreigner and especially as an American. The meetings in the Foreign Ministry were particularly interesting as we were meeting with some of the highest ranking officials in the entire department." He also notes that the difference in political opinions was evident in nearly every meeting the group attended.

People
National Scholars found many similarities but also some differences when they compared Serbian students to their American counterparts.

Kate says "The young people I met while in Serbia immediately impressed me as intelligent and politically active men and women. Many American students take our economic, social, and political stability for granted and have never felt the need to fight for a particular cause. This is strikingly different from the young Serbian population with whom we interacted; these students formed common interest groups and highly active on social and political issues. They served as an inspiration to our group by acting as truly passionate, unified, and dedicated group of student activists.

Stephen agrees that the Serbian students "are definitely more passionate than the average American students in regards to politics. They have the opportunity to change and shape the entire future of a nation." He also notes that the country is overrun by poverty, but was amazed "at the generally positive and upbeat nature of the people… Our hosts were overly optimistic and positive people despite the difficult times they faced throughout their lives."

Damon says "The young people we met were outgoing. They were very nice and informative, and it was encouraging to see such intellect in a culture that has been ravaged by war recently. It is obvious that a nation like Serbia with sharp, young minds will recover quickly. They were similar to average Americans, I thought. Maybe the only difference is that they took less for granted than we do, but their social skills and conversation topics were similar."

Lauren was also impressed and notes "Learning what life is like both for the political leaders and students in Belgrade made me realize how, at the same time, they are so different and yet so similar to their American counterparts. Seeing people spending time in cafes and shops in the center of Belgrade was identical to life in America, yet people have experienced so much in the last few years. The normalcy that we observed is a fairly recent phenomenon, and while we take for granted the ability to enjoy evenings with friends and family, hat is certainly not a given in many parts of the world. The students that we met were all so concerned about the future of their country, and so much more willing to e involved in public life than American college students.

Belgrade
For Laura the first impression was striking. She says "We arrived in Belgrade in the afternoon, so we didn't really get to see the city until the sun was setting on our first day there. We walked the city, and the sunset by the fort where Sava meets Danube was absolutely breathtaking. The area sets such a beautiful contrast of urban and rural, with the trees laid out in one direction and the city in the other. The colors were beautiful, and the weather was comfortably warm. It was an absolutely perfect evening, and I'm so glad that my first impressions of Belgrade were so wonderful."

Laura didn't expect Belgrade to be "as western as it was". She says "We spent so much time talking about how the Balkans were a blend of East and West. They certainly are, but the Western part is much more obvious in Belgrade. There were times when I felt like I was in many of the other European capitals that I have traveled in. There were shops and restaurants all set up for summer days of late night dinners and conversation in the streets. You can certainly see the Eastern influence, especially near the fort and the park (Kalemegdan), but Belgrade holds its own with the other important European cities.

Study Abroad Program - June 2007
The first Study Abroad Program in Belgrade was organized in June of 2007 and eleven students participated. Most were seniors and juniors from Clemson, but we had also graduates and students from Berkeley in California and Boise State in Idaho. The program was designed to engage them as a group but also provided individual attention to satisfy their different academic needs.

All participants were delighted and the evaluation illustrates that quite vividly. Following are the quotes from the Student Assessment of Instructors:

  • "There is no other way to explain the Belgrade program than phenomenal."
  • "This was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was able to learn while having great time."
  • "Without a doubt the best experience of my academic career."
  • "Couldn't have picked a better program, not only did I learn more in one month than I usually learn in a year, but had so much fun".
  • "It gave me a really unique opportunity for hands on learning."
  •  "This program was well-organized and full of incredible conversations and interactions with major players in Serbia's future. My eyes were opened up to an interesting and impressive culture with a lot to share with the rest of the world … a more meaningful experience than of fellow students participating the typical programs offered through Clemson."
  •  "The structure of the program was perfect… so many individuals of such a varied range of political occupations really gave me a priceless view of the political and social situation not only in Serbia but of countries in general … a better understanding of international politics than all my previous studies combined." 
  • "The program also gave me a really clear picture of the variety of opportunities within international relations and has absolutely confirmed my desires to pursue a career in this field."

 In their journals the students elaborated impressions and their views of Belgrade and Serbia, and most importantly the people they were meeting:

Elizabeth Armstrong had chosen this particular program because she was looking for an experience unlike the usual program in super touristy areas of the world. After walking trough the fortress and streets of Belgrade the first day she realized this was exactly the trip she was looking for: "Great people, beautiful places, transitioning country… The excitement never died down. During the last week, I felt just as excited if not more about my trip as when I arrived." She noticed that the young people have a strong sense of fashion with western influence and posh styles and felt like she was more at home than the urban Serbian city. "It blows my mind to walk through the streets and witness how relaxed the society can be-all day! … We sat down for iced coffee at what has become a favorite "tradition" of Serbia – the outside café … It was great!" She is hoping that her travels later in life will bring her back there, maybe for a longer time.

Kelly McDonough says that her experience in Belgrade changed her life and her perception on the world and sincerely hopes that the others may get the opportunity to study such a captivating place. Her "first impression was awe…outdoor cafés, beautiful lights, people walking all in the streets licking ice cream or eating pizza, and local music bands playing in the background. It was completely stunning… Belgrade appeared to be a thriving metropolis. Traffic was always busy… At first sight I truly was mesmerized by such a beautiful and unique place."

Tate Fennell found Serbia "full of so much history" and Belgrade "amazing and unforgettable." He concludes "once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Nathaniel Strickland was impressed by the caliber and high level of people he was able to meet – "everyone was a mover and shaker of the Serbian political scene". It was fascinating for him to examine a society in transition and he "can also now better appreciate the political stability and economic prosperity of the US."

Philip Cagle, graduate student from Tennessee says "The quantity of experiences that have impacted my view of the world were so numerous and significant that they can not all be touched on … interaction with Serbian college students provided an extremely valuable opportunity to discuss global issues with someone from our generation with a vastly different background". The prevalence of western culture within Serbia and the hospitable approach of the locals made him feel as though he was often still at home. "Practically everyone I met throughout the trip was very nice".

Mike Olsen, an Alaskan from Boise State University in Idaho, felt comfortable finding out that most of the people the group talked with spoke perfect English and it was easy to get along with everybody in the cafés, the streets and anywhere else.

Eleana Lindsey from Chicago, who graduated last August, loved sightseeing and familiarizing with the Serbian culture and her favorites were three excursions which allowed her to better understand the heart of Serbia. She will remember for the rest of her life encounters with politicians and fellow students. Eleana enjoyed talking about "world politics, vegetarianism, peanut butter and everything in between".

Callie Roth enjoyed her time in Belgrade and fell in love with the city. She was very sad to leave since she "found a bunch of amazing attributes of Belgrade which I want to return to." She was "incredibly impressed with how willing the Serbs are to open up and have in depth discussions on a range of subjects." Also she loved the opera An Italian in Algiers because "the singing was amazing" and the ballet Swan Lake which she found to be "an absolutely amazing performance. The dancers and orchestra were spectacular; it was probably one of my favorite things". The trip provided her with "a priceless understanding of not only Serbia but also foreign relations and politics in general… As a political science student, I could not have asked for a better view on so many aspects of politics and society of a country, especially in a nation as politically interesting as Serbia."

Lily Lynch, a senior from Berkeley in California found the trip to Belgrade "so immensely life-altering that it has helped to clarify my future goals". She has a new consciousness about what it means to be an American abroad. "I never met more open, friendly and giving people in my life." She greatly enjoyed meeting students from the Faculty of Political Science. "Despite our separate languages, cultures, experiences related to war and the like, the common ground we had overwhelmed the differences."

Matthew Crennan's experiences not only changed the way he views Serbia but the world at large. "Immersing yourself in a completely different culture is a far better and more fun than learning from books or classes." He realized that "Belgrade was just as urban as any American city. Walking around the city I almost forgot I was not in an American city." He observes "The number of Serbs who spoke English was also impressing."

Study Abroad Program - June 2008
This program included the first visit of a few days to Montenegro and an excursion to Dubrovnik. There were eight participants.
Katya Yazykova, a PhD candidate at Clemson, took part in the Belgrade program.  Here are her impressions:

"I had the most memorable and intellectually and emotionally challenging time in Belgrade. Architecturally, it reminded me of my native Russia and specifically the town of Kirov, where I spent all of my childhood's summers, and culturally, it left a lasting impression of kindness and hospitality of the Serbian people. Needless to say, I felt very much at home and fell in love with the place.

The intellectual challenge came from my realization of how deficient was my knowledge of the region, its recent history, and present-day developments, and how subjective and one-sided was most of the information about Serbia that I had been exposed to prior to the trip.  Emotionally, it was heart-breaking to begin to understand the political manipulations on the part of governments and international institutions who pursue their own agendas in the region.

The trip to Belgrade was a proverbial eye-opening experience for me that underscored the responsibility of every human being to pursue uncontaminated truth, whether about the events in other parts of the world or in her or his own neighborhood."

Evan Cohen said:

"All of the meetings make us feel really important, we are treated like career diplomats from the US. We bypass security, metal detectors, and just get waved through into government buildings. Professor Matic knows everyone in this government and they all love him. He works really hard to set up meetings for us. Then later on in the evening we are treated just as well in Belgrade's explosive nightlife, clubs floating on barges, live music coming from every corner, and people out until the early morning. Kiss your days laying around on a couch goodbye!!!"

Alex Miles writes:

"The trip provided insight not just about Serbia but the Balkans in general.  I definitely left Serbia with a wealth of knowledge about the region and its peoples. One of the top things that struck me was Serbian hospitality.  Being invited out for coffee or even dinner by a Serb is delightfully commonplace. I had many opportunities to play soccer, go clubbing or just hanging out with my Serbian friends. I assumed before arriving in Serbia that language might be a problem but much to my surprise it was not. Many Serbians especially the younger generation speak fluent English, of course they where always encouraging my poor attempts to speak Serbian. The food in Belgrade was out of this world whether it was the many soups, salads or meat dishes the Serbians are famous for I always looked forward to my next meal. The thing that struck me most about Belgrade was it's unadulterated culture. Unlike many other major European capitals that are rife with tourist traps and loads of foreigners, Belgrade remains uniquely Serbian you'll never be deprived of its authentic culture

Study Abroad Program - June 2009

Stephen Mistoler:
Belgrade is amazing with the bustling personality of Europe with a touch of Eastern Europe ideology and architecture.  The city is split up into two parts, new and old Belgrade.  We are staying in old Belgrade which contains older and more historical buildings.

This trip has been a life changing experience and I mean that seriously.  It has opened up my eyes to a much larger world, one greater than just Florida, South Carolina, or even the entire U.S., while at the same time enlightening me to the fact that the world is much smaller than I ever actually realize.  When I say this I don't mean physically smaller, but smaller in the sense that human life, no matter where you go, is all interconnected.  Decisions made in all countries affect everyone in the world in some way, shape, or form.  It can be something as big as an election in the U.S. as we have seen with Obama or it can be something on a much smaller scale such as how much time and effort people in a country like Serbia have to spend in order to travel outside of the immediate region.  These actions affect people all over the world and I never fully appreciated this until arriving here.

Also, as much as I have enjoyed visiting this country, learning about the inner workings of the government and its policy, as well as meeting new and exciting people; I have also grown to appreciate the United States and its government more.  In the past month, we've talked so much about Serbo-centric, but before coming here, I was caught up in Amero-centristic behavior.  As much as we in America would like to think so, the world does not revolve around us.  This thought goes back to the interconnectivity that exists within the citizens of the world.  We are all on the same planet, deserve the same rights, and should be offered the same opportunities whether this is actually how the real world is or not.  Also, I appreciate Obama and his administration more.  A lot of people were given hope that if change could come to America, then it would also come to their countries.  This spark of hope should be harnessed and transformed into a flame in which the entire world can seek to better itself.

I have learned a lot while being here.  This learning process occurred without me ever even feeling it though, something that never happens in a classroom back home.  I know I will carry the lessons I learned here in Serbia and Montenegro with me for the rest of my life.  This trip has no doubt made me a better person, one aware of how fortunate I am with so many opportunities presented to me, but also someone who knows that there will always be goal in which we should strive to achieve for the betterment of humanity. 

Jenna Dunay:

We are staying in Hotel Royal. The street our hotel is on is very quaint, I absolutely love it. I never realized how much I truly enjoy cobble stone streets along with beautiful old buildings. Also, Belgrade is a very outdoors type city in which individuals walk everywhere. It is fascinating to me how skinny everyone here is due to all the walking and also the amount of time individuals spend outdoors.

I truly do not even know how to began and also express in words how amazing, insightful, educational, and eye opening this trip has been for me. As I said earlier, before coming to Serbia I had no idea what I was in store for or what to expect. I truly believe this to be a blessing because I had the chance to form my own impressions and opinions without any outside help. Even from our first day in Belgrade, I have been constantly surprised and amazed in the best ways possible. The amount of history and culture that remains in one city/country is indescribable and makes me eager to learn more and more.  From every briefing, opera, ballet, restaurant to museum we have been to, I have learned about so much about Serbia and even more about myself, and I have realized how much the United States impacts the rest of the world and how important strong United States relations are worldwide. 

Many individuals in the United States take for granted and do not understand how lucky they are to live in the U.S. Little things such as voting, contacting your government representative, traveling and even being about to buy tickets for an opera are things many individuals abroad do not have the luxury to experience and could only dream of having. When speaking to Milena, a student at the University in Montenegro, we got on the topic of the difference between the standard of living in a country and a high quality of life. I realized for the first time that there is a very strong difference between these two things. While many individuals in the United States have a much greater standard of living, they often lack a high quality of life. I explained to Milena, that while there are many more opportunities and chances for individuals within the United States , many of these people do not have a high quality of life because they do not appreciate how good they have it. I explained to her that I believe that people in Montenegro/Serbia and the United States have about the same quality of life even though many individuals abroad would believe the United States should have a much greater one.  Because of this, I strongly believe individuals in the United States, if they have the opportunity to do so, should travel abroad in order to break out of this comforting shell many Americans live in order to better understand themselves and appreciate all that they have.

Ashley Mills:

This trip has greatly affected my personal outlook on the world.  I feel that too often Americans get wrapped up in our own issues without realizing there are countries struggling in the beginning stages of what we have already accomplished. It is not often one is provided with an opportunity like this and I'm grateful I was able to come here.  The people here are nicer than many Americans (contrary to American stereotypes), the architecture is grand, the history is extensive, and the city stays on your heart.  I have realized how much there is to the world even after only living in Belgrade for three weeks, and I can't wait to improve my understanding of other nations even if it is only a quarter as extensive as what I learned of Serbia.
 
Tiffany Deleon:

This trip and the overall experience were more amazing than I could have imagined.  I did not think that I would have learned as much as I have in only a month.  The Balkan region has so much history and many political issues its mind blowing. 

I learned a lot about Serbian and Montenegrin culture as well.  People here are so free and they live their lives to the fullest.  Their lifestyles here are so different; they do not have as much wealth and opportunities as Americans, but yet they make more out of what they have than Americans.  Americans take life and what they have been handed for granted.

From this trip, the meetings with government officials and Serbs and Montenegrins in their day to day lives, I have learned that you have to look at the bigger picture.  You cannot be so close-minded; instead, you have to look at life and situations from other people's perspectives.  It is important to understand events occurring around the world and to be informed and knowledgeable on issues.  I could not have asked for a better experience from this trip and I hope I will never forget what I have the learned and my fun times while being here.

Emnet Sebhatu:

I would say this was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone. What made this Study Abroad special was a number of things. The geopolitics of the region, the breakup of former Yugoslavia, and the fact that Serbia and the other countries were all in this transition mode towards EU integration. We were able to meet with experts in the fields of analysis, human rights, diplomacy, and various government offices/NGOs.  Being able to take in all this information from different sources helped give me a deeper knowledge of the Balkans and the Serbian mind set.  The cultural excursions to the Opera and the monasteries were just as worth it as well. If we didn't understand the history and mindset of the region it would have been nearly impossible to explain what happened in the region. 

Daniel Hotchkiss:

I feel that it was a great opportunity to be in a country that is in this kind of a transitional period.  I have now seen the EU and NATO from the perspective of a potential member, rather than just studying them.  I have also seen how hard it is to get a flourishing democracy up and running and how much we take ours for granted.

Michael Ursic:

I have become more interested overall in global politics, but I have always viewed operations from the American perspective.  Being in Serbia has given me a whole new perspective, how there are always two sides to every conflict; and it cannot always be seen as black and white.  The trip gave me not only a better understanding of the Balkans; but an even better understanding of my country as well.

Drew Clayton:

As I reflect on this trip and all that I have learned I cannot get over the simple fact that the world is much bigger than I ever knew. Serbia and Montenegro are but small states but they are vastly important and their landscapes are as vast as they are beautiful. I am forever changed by this experience and it will never leave my mind.

Wilson Sansbury:

I learned more about international politics and foreign relations than I have in a multiple semesters of normal classes. The structure of the meetings, the different motives of each organization and the consistent exposure to the people of Belgrade and Montenegro were probably the most important elements of the trip. I have formed a lot of personal relationships with the people here and I hold these experiences to a high esteem because political science is about the study of the people and if you don't know the people, you don't know the politics.

Alex Barnes:

I felt that the trip allowed me to see a wide spectrum of views that are present in Serbia and not just focused on a US view or the Serbian Government's official position.  Along with the meetings we also met students both in Serbia and Montenegro. I was so surprised how easy it was to befriend people that live so far from where I do, and also how easy it was to have a civil discussion on important issues.  We disagreed on some but it was very good to see the other perspectives and also why they believe the way they do.  I also found it interesting that just like the United States there are a variety of views and a variety of reasons for believing a certain view.  I found that many of the stereotypes of the Balkans and of the people of the Balkans is quickly destroyed when you visit and talk with these people and I feel the same happened with their view of Americans.  This trip opened my eyes to a very different world.

Ben Denison:

Overall, I feel this trip was an amazing experience I would never trade back for anything in the world.  The different political leaders and movers in Serbia and Montenegro we met could never be rivaled by any other program.  While we were students, the frankness and level of knowledge we got from our presentations made at least me feel like they were briefing me as a politician and it was almost like a foreign policy internship which is a great experience.  I feel I have grown as a student and as a global citizen in this trip to give me a greater tool box in operating in further schooling and the world, and feel this trip has even helped me get a head start on my future career options.  Not many people can say they were briefed by the kinds of people that we were able to get to brief us, and hearing information like that is invaluable.  This was a great experience and I only wish I could have experienced more. 

Cody Hysell:

The study abroad trip to Serbia was the most enlightening cultural experience of my life.  I have learned so much throughout my time in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia that I will take with me through the rest of my life.  This was a great opportunity to absorb and dive into a completely different and unique culture.  We had meetings with such influential individuals in Serbia and throughout the entire region.  Speaking with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and the U.S. Ambassador in Montenegro were experiences that I only dreamed about.  This is an amazing program that allows students to have direct experiences and dialogue with important individuals and organizations. Serbia has surprised me in many ways; including the friendliness of the people, the unique cuisine and the overall similarities between the American culture I know and Serbian culture.  This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I am so blessed and fortunate that I could have this great opportunity.

AnneMarie Haynsworth:

I don't think I can say enough to convey what a truly amazing time I've had this past month. I didn't know what to expect coming to Serbia but it has exceeded every expectation I could have had. Everyone I've met has been warm, open and friendly and I can honestly say I haven't had one bad encounter. I think my time there has taught me as much about myself as it has about the way of life and culture in this part of the world. This program was amazing. It provided us the opportunity to meet so many influential and well-respected people in society and government. I would recommend this program to anyone! I think stepping out of the box and doing something different can often end in the most rewarding experiences. All in all, the past month here has been the chance of a lifetime and I would not trade one minute of it!

Study Abroad Program - May/June 2010

For details (including pictures), see: http://serbianadventure.blogspot.com