Giving back: Balkan region close to Northwestern alumnus’s heart hosts undergraduate study abroad program

This past summer, alumnus Brad Radulovacki ’83 brought together his love for Northwestern, commitment to philanthropy and strong personal connection to Serbia to create a unique opportunity for Northwestern’s global health students.

In June, Radulovacki’s ancestral hometown of Sremski Karlovci in Serbia hosted sixteen Northwestern students on the Comparative Public Health: Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina program, which is administered by the Office for Undergraduate Learning Abroad.

The program, comprised of four weeks of study at the University of Belgrade, followed by four weeks at the University of Sarajevo, presented itself to Radulovacki as a unique opportunity to tie in his late father's philanthropic legacy with his own charitable support of Northwestern's global health offerings.

So, he organized and led a full day of activities in the region for the students. Grant Radulovacki ’17, his oldest son and a recent Northwestern graduate, also joined his father on the trip. 

Students visited Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, and the nearby Petrovaradin Fortress. They also toured the Eco Center Radulovacki, a non-profit organization endowed by Radulovacki's late father that runs environmental protection and youth education programs; explored the historic baroque town of Sremski Karlovci and enjoyed a boat ride on the Danube River to an island nature reserve, where the Eco Center conducts research.

"Having the students experience the ecological center and learn about the history of Sremski Karlovci — and connect global health studies and my Serbian heritage, turned out to be a great way for me to engage with students and give back to Northwestern," Radulovacki said. 

For Zachary Li, a junior on the program studying neuroscience and global health, the excursion helped him understand the broader historical and geographical context of the region.

"It was beautiful to first see the quaint town of Sremski Karlovci and later the larger city of Novi Sad," Li said. "We learned a lot by visiting the Eco Center, and it showed us that there's so much more to Serbia than Belgrade."

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