Tijana is 27 years old. She graduated from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade, department for Arab language and literature.
In the future, Tijana would love to see Serbia as an economically powerful country. As such it could offer more possibilities for cultural, scientific and educational development. “I would like to see it as an economically stable country. It would be a country that promotes culture, history, the differences we have, literature, young talent, and science.”
Working as a stewardess for the Etihad Airways, she has an opportunity to travel all around the world and to meet different people, cultures and religions. This has helped her to get to know other countries and their peoples, but also to better understand her own country and the people who live in it. She has realized that people around the world don’t look at Serbia as problematic anymore, they don’t look at it as a country that initiated wars during 90s, but as one that went through a difficult period but is trying to recover from all that. “People who live in Serbia, not only Serbs, are actually open-hearted, they accept differences, they are very hospitable, they are ready to help, have wonderful food, natural beauty, and a rich history.” So, although the people of Serbia might be, as Tijana puts it, “impetuous, bad-tempered and temperamental, and that is simply the way they are”, many prejudices about them are unfounded.
In Tijana’s opinion, the young people of Serbia are in a difficult position. They are not able to travel around enough to gain different points of view. “The problem facing the young people in Serbia is that they have no opportunity to travel, to broaden their minds, to become familiar with different cultures and different lifestyles, and to get to know other religions. Traveling is eye-opening. I think that Serbs have more prejudices about others than that others have about us.” Media content is of poor quality, people are trapped in a way, and this has negative effect on their well-being. Apart from this, there is a constant everyday struggle to survive. “Travel, the media, and the question of subsistence, are issues that everyone who lives in Serbia has to think about, including myself. I completely understand that someone who lives here cannot think about traveling and cannot afford some luxurious things, luxurious to us, but to someone who lives in Europe for example, completely normal.”
Tijana might be just one of many who left Serbia while looking for a job abroad, but she did it in a unique way through her studies of the Arabic language, and through her work in a foreign international airline company. This allowed her to visit different places all over the world. She created an opportunity for herself, she dared, and she had enough courage to leave her own country in order to become an independent woman living her life to the fullest.