When I started going on this sudden journey, I had no idea how much my perception of the world would change. I traveled 28 hours by bus to Kuşadasi with many unknown faces who will play a significant role by the end of this story. I can write you a book about my experiences in Turkey, which is not difficult - every visitor needs only a little peek into its soul to remain enchanted forever. Therefore, I will do my best to convey at least one part of it in a couple of pages. Kuşadasi is a cute little town by the sea. It has its soul, as one coastal town with promenade by the sea should have. Its narrow streets paved with white marble are full of music coming from street musicians, carpet shops, quirky souvenir shops, teahouses full of various herbs, intrigued tourists, and interesting vendors. The smell of tempting Turkish sweets such as baklava and halva can be felt, spreading and creeping into every corner of the city. Of course, I tried my best to experience everything that one tourist can. I entered many souvenir shops attracted by the glittering lamps and candlesticks, which is not uncommon here. Yes, I tried all possible sweets in one of the stores, but I just had to. Okay, I brought some and nobody knows how it survived until home. I also drank tea and ate baklava, don't worry. Well, I also tried the ice cream that they take out of your hand called dondrum made from salep powder and mastic which has a very interestingly strange structure. I also went to the small pirate peninsula of pigeons known as Güvercinada and its ancient fortress. Kuşadasi was named after it (Kuş - bird, ada - island). But what left the biggest impression on me, the place where I left a part of myself, is Pamukkale. I fought a battle within myself about whether to visit them or not because there are rumors that they have dried up and are not what they used to be. I decided to go even if rumors were true - not knowing what to expect, I went on a 4-hour trip alone to see this natural wonder. The cotton castle knocked me off my feet. On the way to Pamukkale, you have to pass the beautiful cotton fields of the town Denizli, and then the remains of the ancient city Hierapolis, which are very rich with history. The Temple of Apollo and Pluto, the Gate of Domitius, and the massive and well-preserved Roman amphitheater are just a small part of those remains. In addition, there is a whole museum full of objects that carry great value from those times. It is even said that Cleopatra enjoyed the riches of this city. After visiting the museum, amphitheater, and Cleopatra's bath, suddenly white calcium travertines appear in front of me. My breath has stopped. There it was. A look that cannot be conveyed with words or a brush stroke. It must be experienced. To feel that white stone under your feet, that healing water the color of the sky, all that scene created by the artist better than all - nature. She never ceases to amaze me with her gift. She makes this world such a beautiful place to be present in. All in all, Pamukkale is a place that you should experience if you have the chance. This time I didn't get to visit the famous ancient city of Ephesus, Istanbul, and Cappadocia, which only means that I will be back soon to write more postcards from this wonderful country.
Until the next postcard,
Mia Brzaković, the Studenica Foundation scholar, was recently chosen as the International Student of the Year by the Union of Students of Ireland. Mia has been studying biomedical engineering in Ireland for four years, and during her studies, she was a member and held positions on the executive boards of several dozen student organizations, both Serbian and Irish, as well as international. She also worked at Student2Student, an organization that is supporting students who come to attend Trinity as freshmen or as international exchange students, and organized welcoming and socializing events for students. After arriving in Ireland in her first year, in cooperation with the Organization of Serbian Students Abroad, she managed to establish a branch in this country within the first few months and gather distinguished students from all universities throughout the country.
International students often face difficult challenges while attempting to integrate into Ireland, not only because they are far from family and the comforts of home, but also because they encounter significant differences in the new education system. Experience has shown that when they are supported on arrival, they very quickly acquire an important and valued role in activities on and off campus, and it is essential that their activism be supported. Therefore, Mia strove to achieve just that in her environment.
"It is a great honour for me to be recognized as the International student of the year. I am glad that through my previous work and activism, I managed to create a change in my environment that will make it easier for future generations to integrate and successfully fit into the new student life abroad. I still sincerely believe that each of us can make an extra effort and make that small change in our environment and that working together will make a positive difference for our future!” Ms Brzaković said.
At the ceremony, along with her colleagues Rachel Murphy and Courtney McGrath, who received the awards for Equality Campaign of the Year and Student Media of the Year, she was delighted to represent Trinity Students' Union as well as her University. Mia was also the student convenor at her faculty and in the past year, regardless of the challenges we faced, she managed to raise the importance of the student's voice in making important decisions at the faculty and university level. This year, as one of the outstanding students of her generation, she got a place at a prestigious university in America in order to expand her knowledge in biomedical sciences and use the exchange so that she could apply those experiences in Europe upon her return.
In addition to the aforementioned activities, Mia is also active in organisations in Serbia, where she attempts to bring our students closer to opportunities related to personal and professional development, both domestic and abroad. She is also one of the few students from the region who was chosen by the European Student Union as a student expert for the Accreditation of multi-level programs at universities and works together with accreditation bodies and organizations to improve the quality of education around Europe. In the future, he hopes to be able to combine his expertise in all the mentioned areas and continue her progress, as well as help other students fit in more easily and find their new home in the country where they come to study.