Interview with the former Intern Jovana Zorić

By Imane Mdarhri and Yelda Simsek

My journey at LSBC as an HR intern inspired me and empowered me to become a co-founder of a non-governmental organization, ‘MentalHub’ that empowers others.

1- What did you study at university? What is your current job and main tasks?

I graduated in psychology with a major in Industrial-organisational psychology. Currently I am pursuing my master’s degree from the University of Novi Sad in Serbia. From my perspective, studying psychology is not only preparation of exams, this is also a self-discovering process. While pursuing my degree, I had the opportunity to gain practical insights into different fields. That helped me to realise who I am and what I want to do in future.

Recently, I founded a non-governmental organisation named MentalHub with my colleagues that stands as The Psychological Center for Community Mental Health. The main goal is to provide psychological and social support to young people with a history of psychiatric hospitalisation or any kind of psychological difficulties. In order to reach this, we will organise various activities for them. This will help to encourage their capacities and independence and also contribute to their inclusion, destigmatisation, and deinstitutionalisation.

2- How did you hear about the LSBC internship offer?

During my studies, I was very familiar with Erasmus programs and I heard about the LSBC internship program on Erasmus Intern network. I was interested in joining in because I was curious about the work of Human Resources. I wanted to see how I feel about this field since I had to decide which path of study interests me .

3- How long was your internship? What was your role at LSBC?

My internship at LSBC was for almost two months within the HR role, focusing on talent acquisition. I was mainly responsible for finding suitable interns for different positions.

4- What were your tasks at LSBC? Does your actual job have some similarities to these tasks?

My tasks were diverse: managing Trello boards, writing job announcements, website editing, and screening CVs. Besides, I used to conduct interviews with potential candidates. During this period I realised the need of using my psychological knowledge. In order to communicate efficiently during their selection process, I had to adjust myself with different cultures, personalities, and occupations. My current position at MentalHub includes HR related tasks such as external communication and as well as recruitment of project associates. This is quite similar to my tasks at LSBC which makes me more confident as well as efficient in all my decision-making process.

5- How was your general impression of your experience at LSBC?

First of all, I was very grateful for the remote opportunity since my country was not eligible for grant so I couldn’t able to go to Slovenia.  During the internship, I was impressed by the friendly atmosphere and the multicultural aspect at LSBC. The communication with my superiors was friendly and relaxed. I think this was very important and motivating for me since my internship in LSBC was my first professional experience. I got the feeling that they trust me even though we have never met in person. Another important thing was that I was able to work independently. This helped me to get rid of prejudices about the HR sector and I got a remarkable experience in my career.

6- How was working remotely? Was it different than working on-site, especially from a psychological perspective, when body language and eye contact are essential?

I was fine with the remote work except for the time differences. It was hard to get used to different time zones and manage my tasks.

7- Which personal-skills did you gain or improve at LSBC?

I learned how to be patient with others since we all had different English accents. It wasn’t so easy to understand everyone immediately. I also slowly developed adaptability and learned how to manage cultural differences.

8- What did you learn during your internship at LSBC ? Did it help you to grow?

During my internship at LSBC, I had the opportunity to learn how to communicate professionally but also to stay authentic at the same time. I manage to organise my time and stress which is something you can’t learn by reading you need to actually try doing it. Also, I met so many wonderful people that inspired me and it was an honour for me to see what students from all around the world are doing simultaneously with the ongoing studies.

9- This year was a turning-point on all sides, habits, lifestyle, mood, also professionally. How can we transform such changes or impacts into motivation or a new fresh beginning?

Speaking as a psychologist, I would say there is no general recipe or few steps you need to follow. It is rather an individual thing which is why everyone has to find their own, authentic way of how to make something out of the challenges.

“What can be helpful to some people is identifying the good sides of difficult situations and realizing the benefits”

Jovana Zorić
10- What are your future plans for the next few years?

Right now I would like to start preparing my master thesis and there’s a lot of work to do since I’m going to conduct a cross-cultural study. Also, the plan is to start writing project proposals so that we could fund our activities within the MentalHub and enable our clients an adequate support.

The plan for a further future is to turn our organization into a stable Mental Health Center where psychologists will receive a regular paycheck while at the same time users of psychiatric services could receive psychological support on a regular basis that doesn’t depend on the volunteers’ enthusiasm.

I would also like to recommend you to follow our work on the Facebook page so you could see if we reached our goals.

“Our work as psychologists is to empower people because our field is humanistic”

Jovana Zorić

11- What do you want to say or advice to the future Interns at LSBC?

I would recommend not to wait for the perfect time to do something. There is no perfect time, there’s always going to be something else going around. If you really want to improve yourself, personally and professionally, you need to challenge yourself. I think you should take the challenges right away because that’s the only way to do things effectively.

“If you want to do things effectively, then you should do it right away”

Jovana Zorić