Red Carpet at the Sarajevo Film Festival
Scholarship and Personal Development Program
July – September 2014
This quarter is always the most challenging for the students and staff of Bosana Foundation because it is the time of final exams, selection of new students and time when it is decided who will transition to the next academic year. It is very stressful time of the year for our students but they also get to relax at home for month or so if they finish their studies on time. The highlight of this quarter is certainly our bi-annual Bosana Team building gathering. Our students have learned so much more about their peers, the Foundation and about themselves in these couple of days spent in nature.
Students and Program Update:
At the end of academic 2013/2014 year we had 38 students that also included our six students in the Professional Development Program. They have all taken their exams and gave their best efforts to pass them. We are proud to say that majority managed to pass required exams and transition to next year. Unfortunately we have one student that was on probation for the past year and he did not meet his requirements to transition into the second year therefore he permanently lost his scholarship. Another student has failed most of his critical exams and has decided to pause the coming year to determine if he wants to continue studying medicine. This student also had serious personal and family problems that affected his ability to focus on school. Its unfortunate, but after much consideration, both of these students have lost their scholarships.
Two students that were on probation last year were reinstated as regular students for the upcoming school year since they met their requirements and were eligible to transition to next year. However, on the other hand, we have also put two students that were selected as our freshmen scholarship recipients last year, on probation due to unfulfilled academic requirements. We are hoping that they will pass remaining exams in order to be in their second year in October 2015. It is important to mention here that all of our students get one year of “Grace period” where they can retake the year and have the scholarship suspended. However, this is only allowed for one year and they have to pass all exams on time for the remaining academic years.
We are also happy to report that we had 9 graduates this year but three of them did not manage to completely finish with all of their requirements as they have passed exams but still have to prepare and defend their final diploma paper.
During the month of July, we accepted new scholarship applications until August 15th when the application process was closed and we had until the beginning of September to determine our new scholarship recipients. We are proud to say that this year we have received 186 applications, which is more than ever before. This show that the popularity of our scholarship is increasing and that students know more about our Foundation. Scholarship Selection Committee, comprised of five members nominated from five different organizations with whom we have worked closest this past year had a very difficult task to select only top 20 students that they would recommend for the scholarship. Once we received this list, those students that received three votes or more were considered for the final list. Considering this list and our current financial status, we decided to accept 14 new students into our program. We have to point out that this year we have transferred 4 students from our Professional Development program into our Scholarship program since their financial situation changed and they required financial assistance in order to continue. Our little family has grown significantly since our first group of eight was accepted in 2010 and we are excited to enter into a new year with almost 50 students in our Scholarship and Professional Development Program.
Our new students have expanded our coverage of new cities and new majors. In addition to others, we now have students also from Breza, Kladanj, Tesanj, Kljuc, Bijeljina, Srebrenica, Zepce, while their majors are varying from theology to international relations, agronomy, medicine, communications, mechanical engineering, etc.
In order to welcome new students and introduce them to the rest of our current students we have organized two-day Bosana Team Building activities. During these two days students got a chance to meet each other; new students were introduced to the current students and Bosana staff. We all hiked to Prokosko Lake, it was a long hike to the top but it was even more exciting to go back down mountain Vranica during unexpected rain. That is when every one of them has shown how much they are willing to help each other and collaborate to reach the finish line. During the hike up the mountain we have heard students complain, they wanted to give up and go back, but they all made it to the top and were happy that they were a part of this adventure.
The rest of the time was spent indoors due to the rain. Students have played different team building games, they were divided in groups and each group had a task to create few games. This part of the gathering was very dynamic and attention-grabbing. Bosana staff prepared rewards for students that were more engaged than others, that were more helpful and memorable in that way or were the life of the party. They chose a student that was most helpful and motivating during the challenging hikes, one student that was the most entertaining, best new students, and student that made the gathering more eventful.
The highlights of the students’ gathering were stories and introductions of both current and new students. They have shared their life stories, they have shared their hopes and dreams and their vision of Bosana foundation. It was rewarding to hear our students talk about what Bosana’s support means to them and it was an enormous incentive for the staff to continue their involvement, help this organization grow so we can accept more amazing students next year.
Group photo was taken at the end of the gathering and students who attended held names of the students that could not make it to the gathering to show that they are missed and that they are part of our big family.
Highlights of the quarter:
*Two of our students went to Dubrovnik with their Mentors for a long weekend. This was great opportunity for two of our students living in different cities to bond and also to spend quality time with their mentors from the United States.
*One of our graduating students completed here diploma from the Art Academy in Banjaluka with honors and got a full scholarship to go to Budapest and continue her studies. She also won an award where she will get to spend 6 weeks in New York. She will most likely also receive her own exhibition in London.
*One of our graduating students got an internship and went to Italy for a month after successfully defending her diploma paper and finishing college. Bosana paid for her trip that she was otherwise not able to attend.
*Two students were awarded with tickets to the opening of Sarajevo Film Festival that they attended with Bosana President.
*We found summer paid work for two of our students that helped them and their families.
*One of our graduating students was invited to go to a Youth Conference in Denmark in October, 2015.
*We have received the highest number of applications so far-186 scholarship applications.
*One of our students was sent to Spain for a month by the organization where she volunteers to cover the FIBA World Championship in Basketball organized in Spain.
*One of our graduating students was selected as this year’s Bosana student of the year and received $500 award. He has many plans for the future and is grateful to Bosana foundation for this award which will help him start his new life and job hunting.
Challenges we face in this quarter are usually related to final exams. We had few surprises because couple of students that did not meet their requirements were very good students this entire year. They have fulfilled their obligations towards Bosana and university but in the end they failed exams they were sure that they will pass. This is unfortunately something that’s very common in BIH university system that is out of the control of the students. A lot of politics and corruption play part in education and this affects even our students. Its is also unfortunate that we lost permanently two of our scholarship recipients because they did not fulfill their requirements with the second chance given. For all of our students and those that we come in contact, we remain committed to helping them other ways besides financial and so we will continue to provide moral support as long as they need us. Four of our graduating students will need help in the next semester, three are not completely finished with their final papers so we will help them during the time they need to finish them; one of them will have to repeat the final year due to one exam he was not able to complete on time.