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Aleksandar Bozic - PhD Research Fellow, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Aleksandar Bozic (photo)

What I love about working with Norwegians is their open-mindedness, flexibility and freedom they provide to work on own research ideas and projects.

The University of Agder is a fantastic place to study, work and live. Southern Norway is a very student-friendly region, and my positivity extends beyond the University – the city of Kristiansand offers a wonderful all-round quality of life.

In February 2018 I entered the three-year PhD Research Fellowship Programme in Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Social Work, at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Agder.

Before starting a PhD research fellowship, I obtained extensive experience of managing various social programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina by working for/collaborating with local government, recognized non-profit organizations and international development agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF, Save the Children, Foundation Kinderpostzegels in the Netherlands. Additionally, being part as a researcher of two international research programmes (ERSTE Austria and currently European COST Action), it led me to the process of publishing several articles, participating at a few international conferences and considering of pursuing PhD studies.

As a researcher, I want to understand how non-profit organizations contribute to social innovation in the welfare sector and saw the PhD programme at UiA as the perfect opportunity to increase my research competence and understanding about this particular field study. Although the focus of my project is on the post-conflict context and more particularly on the Western Balkan region, the research topic is internationally relevant, as it will build on previous research, but certainly, it will try to give a new insight into the context that has not been given enough attention in the literature so far.

Great resources for carrying out research and a supportive learning environment

I have received my Master’s degree from the UK in “Communities, Organizations and Social Changes” from the City University of London as I was awarded the UK government's Chevening scholarship. After the completion of the Master’s degree, I returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina and worked a few years directly in the practice. I decided to apply for a PhD the at University of Agder since I found that the Faculty of Social Science has a department that successfully combines Sociology and Social Work-two scientific fields that I have always been interested in as a practitioner and young researcher. Also, I heard much positive things about the institution through a friend that lives in Norway.

The PhD programme offers the necessary research courses by highly qualified instructors, providing us with broad-based knowledge and with the necessary skills of conducting social research. The University provides great resources for carrying out research, regarding available learning resources, equipment and funding. We are privileged to do a PhD in Norway compared to other countries as we are offered here good working conditions, supervision and follow-up in active research environments and a varied training programme. Most importantly as a PhD research fellow, you feel included and that you are part and parcel of the faculty staff and the department.

The instructors and supervisors provide the needed guidance, encouragement and practical support to immerse ourselves in academia at all stages of the fellowship programmeAs a doctoral research fellow, peer support is vital, and the well-thought structure of the programme provides this critical supportive learning environment.  

A vibrant academic environment

What I love about working with Norwegians is their open-mindedness, flexibility and freedom they provide to work on own research ideas and projects. The academic environment is very vibrant and dynamic. 

In addition, colleagues are very kind, friendly and helpful, but at the same time challenging and set high standards to the quality of work we deliver.

At UiA, I am developing broader scientific knowledge and skills required to become a strong researcher in the field of sociology.

Learning from excellent mentors within a supportive climate, the PhD programme at the University of Agder at the Faculty of Social Sciences, provides essential knowledge, skills and practical experience to position me in securing a highly competitive academic setting. As importantly, faculty supports my desire for lifelong learning and an ability to pursue research of personal interest.

Flat structure and well-functioning administration

At the University of Agder, the administration is not as complicated as in other countries: administration is easily navigable here. The UiA’s administration sets example to other countries.

Students services are excellent. The Student Welfare Organization (SIA) was very supportive in helping me finding an appropriate apartment in Lund neighborhood before arrival to Kristiansand.

Kristiansand: a lovely town well-connected to the world

Kristiansand is a fairly small and lovely city and can be easily navigated by foot. The bus system is also very efficient and has numerous stops within the city as well as connecting Kristiansand with nearby villages and towns.

I have been to Kilden Centre for Performing Arts and Culture many times and attended several concerts. The local orchestra is just amazing. I am very impressed by the cultural life of a town of the size of Kristiansand. Each Wednesday, I love attending jazz concerts in the city centre. It is easy for me to walk from Lund to downtown without needing any public transport for that.

Kristiansand city is well connected to the world through Kjevik international airport that offers several daily direct flights to many destinations.

There are really great advantages taking my PhD at UiA, and it has been a wonderful experience so far.

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