Why the Foreign Language?
Author: Filip Obradović
Students from Serbia and other ex-Yugoslavian countries rarely choose to apply to leading programs in economics and related fields. Based on personal experience, a major contributor to this phenomenon is the absence of guidance and a dearth of easily accessible information. Regardless of how strange this may initially sound given the abundance of guides available online, it is not at all surprising.
Imagine for a moment that you never had a chance to speak to a single doctoral student at a research university or a graduate, nor to hear about Urch or Gradcafe. Suppose that nearly all your professors obtained their Ph.D. degrees at their current institutions and that they are unfamiliar with other programs. What if your only sources of information were random undirected Google searches and the odd departmental prospective students page? Would doing a Ph.D. at a program you likely have never even heard of truly top your list of choices, or would you be more inclined to follow the path that the students before you have taken?
Such is the reality for almost all brilliant students from these countries, many of whom decide not to pursue further academic development because they are unaware of the possibilities that await them. Personally, I was unbelievably lucky with the professors I had the chance to learn from and I have been ushered to consider other programs mainly by people whom I met in serendipitous encounters (predominantly in summer schools). I am aware that not everybody will have such good fortune.
I hope to make the access to information more equitable and to help those who do decide to branch out by leveraging the knowledge of local universities. Thus, to make the posts in this blog more attractive to the target audience, they will mostly be written in Serbian. Hopefully, this will make them appealing and useful to Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Macedonian/Slovenian speakers, as well.