Barbara Fajdetić

Barbara Fajdetić

Some brief information about you?

I am 23 years old and a recent graduate from the Faculty of Economics in Rijeka, program Finances and Banking. During my studies I was a teaching assistant on several courses. In my last semester I got a job in a company for distribution of assistant technologies, and just recently I got back from an internship in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Considering that you have finished your higher education, can you tell us why it has been nice to study at the Faculty of Economics in Rijeka?

I graduated just before going to Brussels, but I can say that the student days are the best time in a persons life. When I was starting my education, the choice was between the Faculty of Economics in Rijeka or Zagreb, and i decided to study in Rijeka. There is a connection between Rijeka and me since I was little, so I can say that I have never regretted my decision. Besides, Rijeka is a city where you can truly be whomever you wish and still be accepted. I am starting to feel a bit sad that I won't be going back to the Faculty in the fall and see my friends because all of us are going in different directions. One of the reasons that I chose Rijeka was that the number of people per program at the Faculty was decreased. I think this has contributed to the quality of the courses because the professors can focus on each of the students and a better student-professor relationship is created. After a year we all know each other and we become like a big family.

Why do you think it’s good to be a teaching assistant?

During my studies I was a teaching assistant on several courses. In 2014 I was in Accounting and Macroeconomics and in 2016 in Public Finances and Quantitative methods for public decision making. To be a teaching assistant means helping younger students with the things that bothered me and my colleagues when we were studying that course. It means helping with task solving or just giving advice on how to prepare for an exam. I know how much it meant to me when some older students helped us with what to focus on or how to solve something. I understand that, to a large number of students, it’s easier when another student explains them something because they understand what they are going through.

I believe that the decreased number of people on our Faculty has contributed to a higher quality of studying. A better relationship between students and professors has developed.

Besides being a teaching assistant, did you do any extracurricular activities during your studies?

I attended an Italian language course, during my final year I participated in the Student program of the Academy for Political Growth and went to the YMCA seminar in Bratislava on the topic of employment of young people.

How did extracurricular activities help you to develop, in the business sense?

Most importantly, every extracurricular activity helped me to develop organizational skills
When you have to study for exams, write seminars, do teaching assistant duties or help the professors all in one week, it’s important to plan everything properly so that you don’t leave anything out. Also, all of these activities encourage you to do additional research and studying, and through this you develop as a person and discover what you are really interested in and what you want to do in life.

You did your internship in the European Parliament. Why did you decide to apply for it?

It happened by accident. Assistant professor Josip Čičak sent to us, the teaching assistants, a link for the application to the Academy for Political Growth. It was a student program about the European Union and its functions. I decided to apply and see what happens. I wanted to learn how to write projects for withdrawal of monetary funds from the EU, which is a current affair. Honestly, I had no expectations of getting into the APG program because a large number of people applied. However, two weeks after the aplication, they notified me that I was accepted. I was one of the forty lucky people.

My tasks in the EU Parliament were going to the Board meetings and Working Groups where I took notes if the assistants were not there.

What was the recruitment process like?

After applying for the student program of APG, there was some training in Zagreb, where we covered a different topic each time. Sometimes it was from the economy field, sometimes law or politics. The last, two day, lecture was about how to write a project for withdrawal of monetary funds from the EU fonds. Experts from that field did their best to explain the topic and show us how it works. After the training, APG brought out applications for a one month internship and I decided to apply. Again, I had no expectations, however, a couple of days after the application I got an confirmation e-mail confirming that I got accepted for the internship and that I have 15 days to organize myself and get there. It was good that I already contacted people in Brussels that helped me a lot to adapt and manage.

What are your impressions from Brussels?

Great! There is a lot of Croatian people there so you feel right at home. I had great roommates and colleagues that I can now call friends. They were all in the same situation once so they were quick to help me to adapt to the fast paced life there. Brussels is like a large anthill where people are always in a rush, they travel and work a lot. The tempo is not even close to Croatia, where you go for coffee and relax after work. Days are a bit longer there so you don’t even notice coming home later. Brussels is a great place to meet different cultures, expand your horizons and have a good time. The knowledge and competencies you gain are forever yours and no one can take them away from you. 

What did you do during the internship?

My tasks were usually going to Board meetings and Work groups to take notes, in case the assistants were not there, and write reports afterwards. We also did some research to help the assistants. There were groups of visitors too that we showed around the Parliament. In itself, the internship was very good and dynamic. You learn about the EU functions, meet a lot of people, make friends, grow as a person and learn a lot about yourself.

Do you have any advice for the students of our Faculty?

To try hard and be persistent and hardworking. The knowledge and competencies they gain are theirs forever and no one can take them away. They may encounter injustice, but they mustn’t let it  discourage them. They should believe in themselves and never give up their dreams. If you are able, I recommend going for a student exchange program or doing an internship abroad. These things are great for character development and preparation for the rest of your life. Also, do not be conservative and closed minded. Spend time with people, expand your horizons and meet new cultures.


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