Between 1.300 and 1.400 Montenegrin students live abroad, and most of them are in the faculties of economics, management and business, architecture and political sciences.
Most young people from Montenegro are studying in Italy, then Turkey which is increasingly popular, followed by Austria, Slovenia and Russia.
"We can find our students around the world, on all continents, except Africa and Antarctica. Because of the proximity between the states, the number of scholarships and finances Europe is the foremost destination. Most of them are in Italy, and in recent years Turkey has been the main candidate to take over the first position as a destination for studying," said Vildan Ramusovic, President of the Organization of Montenegrin Foreign Students' Organization (OCSI).
This organization founded eight years ago has over 350 registered members and most of its representatives are in Italy in seven cities - Rome, Milan, Trieste, Bologna, Bari, Turin and Padua.
Connecting students around the world for eight years
Ramusovic explains that OSCI, as a non-political, non-profit and non-governmental organization, brings together students at regular studies abroad, exchange programs for a year, as well as students in the following year after graduation (Alumni). Apart from students, target groups are high school students, as well as representatives of Montenegrin academic, artistic, diplomatic and entrepreneurial Diasporas.
"OCSI was founded on the initiative of five perspective young people who have been conducting regular studies abroad - Aleksandar Jacimovic, Bojana Minic, Fedja Pavlović, Milena Stankovic and Tonja Ratic. The main goal of the organization is to establish a platform for efficient and effective cooperation among Montenegrin students in the aim of stimulating professional, scientific and other types of cooperation," explains Ramusovic.
Among the activities of the OSCI, he says, are the formation of Montenegrin students in foreign universities and the establishment of cooperation among them, cooperation with young professionals from Montenegro, promotion of the state and its natural and cultural heritage, and support to Montenegrin high school students in the choice of future education.
"I must point out that all the members of the OSCI Managing Board accepted their obligations without financial compensation, all because of the desire to create a strong network of people abroad who will be of help to future generations. However, money is needed for these projects. In one-part, certain alumni members who are already working abroad help financially, but this is not enough".
Ramusovic was elected President of the OSCI Assembly at the end of last year, and his main task is to lead the global Alumni network and to coordinate the network of local branches and organize the summer and winter assembly:
"Of course, besides this, I want to contribute with my work in all areas of the organization. Together with my colleagues, I try to create a strong network of people abroad who would further help our citizens on their way to achieving their goals.
Ramusovic was elected president of the OCSI Assembly as a student in Slovenia and a representative in Maribor, who was elected at the end of last year. "Since I knew a lot of our students here, and at the suggestion of an old representative of Montenegrin students Ivana Picuric in Maribor, I was chosen for the new one. Already then, I joined the Organization of Montenegrin students abroad. The first task, together with colleagues from Ljubljana and Kopar, was the organization of the event "Montenegrin Embassies Open House" at the Montenegrin Embassy in Slovenia," said Ramusovic. He says he subsequently applied for the OCSI Presidential Competition, and after two weeks of elections and digital voting he was elected for that year. It is perfect to be a student in Slovenia
Ramusović, although at the master studies in Podgorica where he still has to pass his master thesis, enrolled another master last year at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation and Architecture in Maribor.
He decided to study in Slovenia primarily for the bilateral agreement between them and our country.
"If you enroll, your education is free. Otherwise, one year costs 3.500 euros. In addition, it is possible to study and work here.
The program is designed in a way that you are greatly prepared for future work after college. Recently, on one subject we had contact directly with the investor. All of us, who received tens of dollars (among the top nine groups, two were Montenegrin) were rewarded by the investor.
In addition, he has funded the best publications. During that process, I saw a document regarding the preservation of intellectual property for the first time. The Faculty thus protected its students from misusing the idea and the project itself. In Montenegro, I did not have the opportunity to see such things," says Ramusovic.
"Architects in Montenegro have come to a very bad position, at least those who keep up to their profession and the basic postulates of architecture," Ramusovic says. He argues that it "is perfect to be a student in Slovenia because of all the comforts offered by that republic".
"Every working day, one meal is subsidized, so for two to three euros, you can get soup, a main course, salad and fruit. There are no canteens in Maribor, and everything is at restaurants. For each type of food, we have a discount — both in the city and the whole country. Visits to cinemas, theaters, museums are also subsidized. On specific dates, some are even completely free of charge.
Ramusovic says he has mastered the Slovenian language a lot in one pub where he works in the afternoon. Even though he passes the mornings at the faculty and afternoons at work, he still has time to socialize. "The students from Montenegro meet regularly. At least once a week," he says. Ramusovic will be in the Gran Canary Islands in Spain for several months because he has been awarded with the Erasmus scholarship to spend one part of the education there.
Although he misses Montenegro a lot, he does not exclude the possibility that after his master's thesis he can work in Slovenia.
"Maybe I'm going to start my work here and perhaps pursue doctoral studies in another country. What I am confident of is that with the help of my profession I want to help my homeland. Often those of us in foreign countries say that knowledge and money acquired abroad we want to return to Montenegro. Perhaps a bit selfish from the countries we study in, but we do it for the benefit of future generations in Montenegro. We want to contribute to the system being such that a student wants to stay in his state where he will be given everything – a comprehensive education and a perfect job to be paid according to his merits," Ramusovic says.
Student life in various countries in seven days
OSCI is currently working on two projects, "Me Studying Abroad" and "Outside the Amphitheater", led by students Kristina Djendjinovic and Nikolina Cabarkapa. "The aim of the project 'Me Studying Abroad' is that the Montenegrin students who are abroad tell us their story, show the city they live in, faculties, presentations, festivals, concerts, performances, nightlife, as well as the library, cafeteria, road from homes to faculties, well-known and less well-known places, how they learn, how to spend time, all through photos, Instagram stories and announcements. All this with the help of our official Instagram page. The student who gets the opportunity to participate in the project has seven days to present the above mentioned. With the project "Outside the Amphitheater" we present our members (CSI athletes and artists) whose amphitheaters are podiums, terrains, ateliers and winning podiums. We write about their dreams, notes, balls, cups and medals, black belts, tears and smiles," says Ramusovic.
He explains that he is officially working on two other projects, among others, the "Summer Assembly 2019", which is written and for which they are currently seeking funding.
Many doors are open to award-winning students
Ramusovic, together with two fellow students, won the competition for the interior design of a famous hairdresser brand in Ljubljana, and this project has already opened many doors and introduced them to the world of the profession in Slovenia.
"Immediately afterwards, for the same investor, we got to do two more projects. The final project whose performance is underway is the "Cut & Art & Wine" project. Throughout the day, the building serves as a barber shop, and in the afternoon it becomes an art shop and a place where the best Slovenian wines are tasted. The task was extremely unusual, but also very difficult because we had to merge activities that otherwise are not functioning together. The competition was preceded by many types of research and detailed analyzes. All furniture is unique, that is the product of our design," says Ramusovic.
Text by Ana Komatina, on April 14th 2019, read more at Vijesti