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Student Spotlight

Read about this month’s International Studies Student Spotlight. Students were asked to share an influential experience they had that connected to their International Studies major or minor.

October 2021

Alec Anderson

BA International Studies (Political Economy & Development); minor, Applied Statistics ‘21

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Affiliations: Department of Social Innovation - optiMize 

“This summer, I interned for The Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC), a grassroots non-profit organization based in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina. The goal of the organization is to promote peace in the Western Balkans and prevent genocide. After completing the first two months of the internship remotely, U-M changed travel restrictions, and I was able to spend the last 5 weeks of the internship living in Sarajevo and working in person. The experience was extremely formational. PCRC provided me with practical experience that taught me so much. I learned how to conduct research of complex court cases, I was given the opportunity to write and publish multiple articles in both English and Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian, I sat in on meetings with UN offices, and interviewed numerous locals. Most impactful of all, I visited the Srebrenica Memorial Center for the 26th-anniversary genocide commemoration with youth from all over BiH and the Balkans.

My experiences in Sarajevo taught me the importance of cultural exchange. Despite all that I learned through PCRC, I learned just as much having conversations with my host family and other locals and observing the customs of citizens. I'm so grateful to PICS and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia for providing me with this opportunity, and I want to give a special thanks to Birgitta Kohler who encouraged me to apply and made the entire process stress-free.”

Future plans: “Right now, I am in the process of applying for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant scholarship in Colombia. I am hoping to become fluently bilingual and use the time in Colombia to figure out what I want to study when I return to the states if I am granted the scholarship. In the long-term, I hope to work in the non-profit sector, perhaps working on international aid, development, and peacebuilding. I would also love to work with youth in some capacity to share my experiences and encourage them to broaden their understanding of the world.”