Monday, June 29, 2015


(By Vera Houwaart)

We've been home for almost two weeks now, and as all the former blog posts have already shown, we are all still very much processing everything that we've seen and heard in Kosovo.
I can of course not speak for others, but for me this was the first time I every went to a post-conflict area that is so close to home. 
It remains ever so difficult to describe the experience we had in Kosovo, especially because it cannot be described in only 5 or 10 minutes (if it is even possible to describe it to someone else). I try to capture everything, but then realize that I have to sit down for at least an hour or two if I really want someone to understand what Kosovo all is. 
The last two classes that we had for the course were for me personally very helpful as it was really good to come together with the group once the dust had settled a little bit and we could talk about how we now felt about the trip and all that it brought with it.
What Anne pointed out to us, is how remarkable it is that we all started to care about Kosovo and its future at one point. We were no longer objective researchers who remained at a distance; we want to make a change for all the people that we got to know during those 10 days. 
We tried to identify that moment when we started to care, but it seems to be really difficult to find the exact moment or even day when the line between 'researching' and 'being emotionally engaged' was crossed. 
As Olafs also mentioned in an earlier blog post, we now are all working on different projects and as he also rightfully stated, these projects are different from anything I've worked on during my three years at AUC. We all want to achieve some form of change in the sense that we want to tell people about what we witnessed in Kosovo, but more importantly, how we want to help the Kosovars in every (tiny) way possible. I just love how everyone has gone along with her/his creativity in order to voice the different opinions/dreams/hopes/ideas that are still all very much present in Kosovo.

This was my last course at AUC: tomorrow I will be graduating after three years of studying in Amsterdam. It's funny how this last month has been one of the most intense and educating ones that I've had here. I will always look back on this month as a time in which I finally got to experience the theory that I've read about for three years, but also as a month in which I realized that not everything can be captured by those theories. There is so much more to a country such as Kosovo than 'just' peacebuilding models, EU/UN regulations, and post-conflict theories. There are emotions, pride, and dreams that all intertwine with those theoretical components. 
And truth be told, there is no book or paper that can explain all this as beautifully as those 10 days in Kosovo did. 

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