Wandering around Sarajevo
Wow! I’m finally in Sarajevo, Bosnia. For the first time during this trip I feel like I’m in a foreign country. Sarajevo is different from any other city I’ve been in. It’s a very diverse city. Downtown within a few blocks of each other there is a Mosque, a Catholic Church, and an Eastern Orthodox Church. There is a mixture of modern, Austro-Hungarian, Communist, and Ottoman architecture. The scenery is very beautiful. Sarajevo is located in a valley, and there are lots of beautiful tree covered hills with cute red-roofed houses on them surrounding the city. I’ve been having a lot of fun wandering the streets of Sarajevo and trying to survive the extreme heat. So far my friends and I go to cafes and movie theaters if the weather gets too hot. Also, the food here is very cheap and delicious!
On our first day, we went for a lecture at the University of Sarajevo. The journalism professor gave us a great overview of the media situation in Bosnia. Over the last few years the media situation has gotten significantly worse due to the influences of powerful elites. However the comments that really stuck with me from the lecture dealt with activism in Bosnia. In Bosnia, activism does not seem to be very popular, and if there is some activism it tends to be humanitarian. The lecturer said that social activism is not particularly successful because people are afraid that there will be consequences for standing up against political elites. The lecture’s comments about this issue really made me value activism in the US a lot more. There is a lot of humanitarian activism in the US, but there is also a lot of social activism. People use their right to freedom of speech and to protest without worrying that there will be consequences for getting involved.
The more I learn about the region, the more I want to delve deeper into the history, the culture, and language. The history is fascinating, and I always look forward to going to class. The culture is unique, and Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are very fun to listen to (especially if you already speak Polish). I can’t believe that four and a half weeks have flown by so fast. I’ve been having so much fun!