Alum relishes journey from United World Colleges to Earlham and back again

When Anja Kresojevic Kordic graduated from Earlham College in 2014, she didn’t hesitate to accept an offer to return to campus to work with the events office under one of her closest mentors.

Now seven years into her young career, she has circled back to another waypoint in her life’s journey, returning in a professional capacity to United World College Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the institution where she finished high school and discovered Earlham.

“I guess you could say history sort of repeats itself,” Kordic says with a chuckle. “I feel that UWC and Earlham played a huge role in deciding exactly what I wanted to do and set me on the course I am now. I have truly returned to where it all started.”

“I guess you could say history sort of repeats itself. I feel that UWC and Earlham played a huge role in deciding exactly what I wanted to do and set me on the course I am now. I have truly returned to where it all started.” — Anja Kresojevic Kordic, Class of 2014

As UWC Mostar’s university counselor, Kordic is taking the best from what she learned at Earlham, and helping students find their path to their own bright futures. Since starting in October, she has assumed a portfolio of 100 advisees from diverse backgrounds.

A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina herself, Kresojevic’s occupation also brings new training and resources to her native country.

“I was very lucky to study outside of my home country,” Kordic said. “Many public schools here do not have university counselors. There is no one to explain what options are available to students. I’m very lucky to get into this kind of work.”

After leaving Earlham, Kordic was hired by American Spaces, an organization that oversees a network of more than 600 open-access cultural centers supported by the U.S. government. After a year, she was recommended for a position with Education USA as an international adviser, an organization she continues to work for in addition to her day job in Mostar. Education USA partners with the U.S. Department of state to support 430 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries and territories.

Anja Kresojevic Kordic on her graduation day from Earlham College in 2014.

“I tell my students to look for a diverse community as much as you could possibly find,” Kordic said thinking back on her own education. “It truly helped me having a diverse community at Earlham. That immersion into learning about different cultures helped me be more adaptable and understand the different cultural contexts that will arise in their future careers and jobs.”

Of course, she also listens for clues that might reveal if one of her students should become a future Earlhamite.

“I never push a student in that direction. I give them a dozen or more recommendations about places that seem right for them,” Kordic said. “But if I see Earlham is a place where they could see themselves, if they want a smaller institution with a large focus on community that is diverse with strong academic programs, I suggest Earlham as a place they should consider.

“I urge them to look beyond my experience. It should be their experience,” she said. “It means a lot because I get to help them on the road to their future, helping them find a place where they can they can truly see themselves being successful.”

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