AN INTERVIEW WITH
AN INTERVIEW WITH
I love learning about different cultures and trying to understand the social, political and historical aspects of any situation around me. So early on, I started following international events and obviously fell in love with it. So it was no surprise that I later enrolled in the department of international affairs at the faculty of political science here in Belgrade, which is something I knew I wanted to do starting my freshman year in high school .
This high school period was a great preparation for what was to come because I had the opportunity to be involved in different community engagements. So, I started volunteering for a nonprofit which focused on providing support to exploited children and youth, raising awareness about violence among high school students and I was also part of the first generation of a panel called the Panel of Young Advisors of the Ombudsman in Serbia, which was such a valuable experience because it gave me the opportunity to work directly with a governmental institution.
The next step for me was to explore my interest in global affairs. I attended a model United Nations conference in Belgrade which was an international event with participants from all over the world including USA and I performed so well that I was asked to join the organizing team, during my freshman year in faculty.
Around the same time, I got the opportunity to intern at the US Embassy Belgrade, which turned into a four-year experience. Through these experiences, I developed an interest in US politics so I decided to pursue this passion by getting a master’s degree in US studies and in the meantime, I also started working for Clemson University as one of their study abroad program coordinators, but I always knew that the US business sector was my next step in what I wanted to pursue.
Fast forward, here I am working as a government relations manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa at a US company, which is basically a perfect combination of my love for the United States and international affairs. I also get to manage NCR’s external representation in Serbia, as I am responsible for planning, executing and monitoring Serbia’s external engagements and relationships with key stakeholders.
We always step in when something is needed for our teammates. I would say however, the hardest part has been related to the coronavirus because it has limited in-person interaction, but technology has made it easier to connect with people, which is so important for my role.
And the variety of projects we are working on. The atmosphere on the external affairs team is so beyond fantastic and full of understanding which makes work so much fun even though there’s an entire ocean separating me from my teammates. Since external affairs encompasses so many different projects, engagements and events, I always get to be involved in something creative while working with and meeting people from all walks of life, which is beyond amazing.
There’s a long road ahead for me, regarding that and work from home showed me that I need to learn not to stress about things I don’t have any control over. And of course, it showed me that I should always be prepared for possible changes and unexpected situations.
The past year has been a tremendous reminder that we do not know our limits until we start testing them. Despite all of the challenges of curfews, lockdowns and new limitations in place, my key takeaway from this time was that everything is possible when you’re surrounded by the right people. It’s so important to have the right support at home and people you can rely on and trust at work, which I am so lucky to have.
Perfectionism can be both a good and bad thing because it motivates you to be the best that you can be, but on the other side, it can waste your time and cause undue stress regarding things that are beyond your control.
So, admitting to yourself that you cannot control everything and that not everything can be perfect because this world is not perfect, is the first step. Then, I really recommend finding someone close to you who you can talk to about these things and who will support you. So, sharing those fears and challenges you are facing is very beneficial because it creates a support system and also shows you that other people deal with the same challenge of perfectionism.
Art is also a very important part of my life so I can often be found in theaters, art galleries and concerts—and I really love photography. I constantly take photos of my surroundings and I love it because it requires you to stop, admire the scenery around you and be more present in the moment.
Photography has also made me fall in love with Belgrade over and over again. Additionally, Belgrade is known for its great nightlife and amazing cuisine so I can definitely be spotted in one of the bars enjoying a cocktail or two, or appreciating a good meal in one of the many great restaurants. When I’m home, I usually spend most of my time reading because I’m a big book lover.
In my case, that wasn’t very hard because my team is so amazing but if your team isn’t what you may have expected at first, mingle and there will definitely be someone in your community that you can relate to and trust.
This makes me mention my previous point—sharing is so important because it can be therapeutic and very helpful. It can give you a different perspective because we are all different with different opinions and life experiences that help us learn from each other. Lastly, I think role models are very important to have. Finding someone you can relate to and look up to can be so helpful because it keeps you inspired and constantly moving forward.