Graduation Gala: Speech from CERGE-EI PhD Student Dragana Stanišić

Good evening. My name is Dragana and I am from Serbia. I am a PhD candidate at CERGE-EI, and hopefully in June next year I will be celebrating my graduation.

I would like to briefly describe to you how studying at CERGE can change your life.

The opportunities that education at CERGE-EI offers to students are not so obvious during sleepless nights before general exams, in dorm room with cans of food and tons of coffee.

Rather, the realizations of how CERGE-EI changes your life strike unexpectedly.  In my case that was a moment when I was updating my CV.

The “Work Experience” section of my CV has two consecutive lines that some might find very confusing. The first line describes my job just after undergraduate school, before I was a student at CERGE-EI. I was working in a Serbian bank, and its offices were in the outskirts of the town Novi Sad in Serbia.  The street was so out of town that even the buildings in that street were not numbered.

Just underneath that CV entry, in the next line, I listed my following work experience. This was from the offices that were located at 1st Avenue and 42nd Street in NYC, at the United Nations Headquarters, where I went for internship after second year general exams.

The factor that made this possible was my decision to enroll in the PhD program at CERGE-EI.  In addition, just a few years back if someone had told me I would spend a semester at Columbia University or do research projects at Princeton, I would never have believed them.  And this is not only my case; my colleagues consistently have a chance to meet their equals at world leading universities.

At events like this Graduation Gala, students have a chance to meet with friends and supporters of CERGE-EI. You all believe that offering us a free access to world class education will make a difference. Well from where I am standing, it certainly does.

This idea stays with CERGE-EI graduates and I am convinced that in future we will do the same for new generations, here and in other parts of the world.

Thank you very much, and I hope you will have a great time tonight!


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