Mr. Ismet – Fatih Cancar is a successful young man who lived abroad before he returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and finished elementary and high school in the capital Sarajevo, and then started his Bachelors in Economics at Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (SSST). This 23 years-old men is successful, very active in extracurricular activities, plays a lot of sports, and went to music school. For himself, he humbly says he is just a regular guy from Sarajevo.
Sarajevo Times: You are a winner of Chevening scholarship, the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Please elaborate more on how you applied, why, what you expect of it and what are your plans?
“Last year I was one of the ten people from BiH that has been awarded the Chevening scholarship for 2017/2018. It is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office sponsored scholarship for students/professionals to come and pursue a one-year Master’s degree here in the United Kingdom at the university of a choice. “
The process in itself lasts very long, almost a whole year and starts with an online application. A 2-year work experience is mandatory in order to apply. Among other things (academic excellence and personal qualities), candidates need to prove leadership and networking potential as well as have a clear goal on what are they going to do after their studies in UK, and how will those studies help them fulfill set goals. Once the first phase is successfully passed, the candidates are invited to sit a face-to-face interview with the commission. It’s an opportunity for both sides to get to know each other better.
“Personally, my reasoning for applying was simple. I was in need for new challenge, one that will absolutely shape what I know and how I perceive things in life, not just in the academic world but also outside of it. “
Furthermore, he continues by saying that as a student from BiH, he realized that he needs to learn a lot more and he wanted to continue my education outside the country. Mr. Cancar portrays United Kingdom, i.e., London as one of those places where there are great schools, and there are so many different people, cultures and customs that one gets to know over the year.
“And it turned better than I could ever expect. I learned and studied more than ever. I’m more appreciative of the small things in life and I became a better person. All in all, it’s quite amazing!”
Sarajevo Times: Currently, you are working on your master degree in International Political Economy at prestigious King’s College London. Can you tell us more about this?
“King’s College London is one of the best universities in Europe, and really, it is a magnificent institution.”
The focus is put on students and their needs, and there’s a different approach to learning where critical thinking and analysis is emphasized and encouraged rather than plain memorizing what is being lectured.
Mr. Cancar explains why he chose this university by adding that they have a great program in International and European Studies department – International Political Economy and it was his interest to embark on something that had both economics and politics in it and learn how these fields shape events that are happening around us on daily basis.
“Also, there’s a fine blend of theory and practice they use in teaching which is so valuable when you are studying social sciences like IPE. Lastly, the program offers variety of modules that cover regions from East Asia to the Middle East to Europe and United States which you can chose from depending on your interest.”
In addition, this successful man is a year and half away from having a Master’s degree in Pharmacy.
“I always liked Chemistry and Pharmacy, so I enrolled Economy and Pharmacy at the same time. Managing all obligations simultaneously and delivering goods results is always very demanding. It took me years of dedicated and hard work to be where I am now, and it was not always rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed. But giving up was out of question regardless the cost, because I believed that what I wanted for myself was more important than how hard it was.”
“It may sound as a cliché, however, my message for all young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina is to not allow anyone, friends, family, colleagues, to tell you that what you want for yourself, and your closest ones, that it is not possible. It is. If you dream big, put in the work and work hard, leave your ego at the front door, surround yourself with good people, and have a little luck along the way, you can do anything. Whatever that is. I choose to believe that success, no matter in what form you measure it, is a self-aware process. And I know that the situation in BiH is dire and people sometimes feel hopeless, but it is up to every individual youth to push forward for change every day we wake up. Bosnia and Herzegovina has so many young, talented and perspective people that can be this catalyst. It is indeed a slow process, but one that will surely lead to better days.
Sarajevo Times: Where do you see yourself in five years? Are you planning to come back to BiH?
This is always a very hard question to answer. I really try to plan out my upcoming years but this Chevening journey has opened so many possibilities for me that it is going to be hard to know exactly what is going to happen in five years. I would possibly like to do a PhD as my craving for knowledge never disappeared and there is a lot more to learn. What is certain is that I am coming back to BiH to contribute with my knowledge, education and networking experience from UK as a next step of the Chevening journey in order to create a positive change. And that is what I really aspire to do. Whether that is going to be in an international institution, governmental body or the private sector, I am guided by the premise of making BiH a better country for me, my fellow Bosnians and future generations.
Interview by Zejna SY