Samra Cordic is a senior at Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri, earning a legal studies degree. She is an FGS scholar, receiving a scholarship for her current semester of study in Leiden, The Netherlands. Inspired by her personal experiences, Samra intends to pursue a career in international law. FGS asked her to reflect on her study abroad experience and how it is shaping her and her aspirations. She shared the following with us:
How does this scholarship make a difference?
Receiving a scholarship from the Foundation for Global Scholars has given me an opportunity to pursue my passion for international relations and more specifically, international law. As a student paying my own way through college, it has in the past seemed impossible to travel abroad. The stress of school work combined with employment often makes it impossible for everyday students to pursue an international education. This scholarship made a difference not only because it helped me fund a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experience, but also because it inspired me to continue working towards my life goals and aspirations.
As you consider this place in your life, what impact would you like to have on your community?
When I made my decision to study abroad, my entire family was against it. Instead of words of encouragement, I was given criticisms. I was told that the world was too dangerous for a single woman, that I did not know what I was doing, and that no respectable unmarried woman would ever think about leaving her family to study abroad. My experience is not unique and I believe it is these values that prevent other Bosnian girls in my community from pursuing their dreams. When I return home, I would like to become a role model for other young women like myself. I would like to prove that women are just as capable as men and that nothing, especially gender roles, should ever hold you back from pursuing your dreams and bettering yourself.
What is your life purpose?
While I am sure that my life purpose will change with age and experience, at this point in my life I believe my purpose is to learn everything that I can in order to become a wiser person so that later on I can better the world. My passions are, and will remain, women’s rights, minority rights and equality in human rights throughout the world, and hopefully someday I can act in a way which furthers these passions worldwide, but right now I still have a great deal to learn.
You’ve been provided an amazing opportunity to study abroad; what amazing opportunity do you want to give or create for others?
I was born in a village, on land which my ancestors had cultivated for generations. My paternal grandmother is illiterate and my mother never went to high school. Until I moved to the United States, it seemed that I was destined to follow in their footsteps. Growing up in the United States I have been afforded so many wonderful opportunities to further my education that I have lost count. Yet it is no secret that a disproportionate number of individuals worldwide are disadvantaged when it comes to basic education. Children in developing nations are much more likely to be illiterate than those in developed nations such as the United States. Knowing this, I would love to create an opportunity where these children can become better educated. Not only would this provide children with a chance to make something of themselves, but I believe it would aid in the development of their respective nations. Every child deserves an opportunity. I have been blessed with many, and I would love to be able to pay it forward.