How Being an Athlete Can Get You a Scholarship in Dubai

Your performance and experience in a team sport can really improve your life, as was the case for Bojana Mitrovic and Uroš Lalic. Both from Serbia, they are currently studying at the American University in Dubai on full sport-scholarships and are captains of their volleyball teams.

Bojana Mitrovic is 24-years-old currently studying to attain her masters degree in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media here at AUD. Mitrovic is from Novi Sad, which is where she first started competing. 

Bojana Mitrovic mid spike, 20 February 2019. Photo by Mayar Ibrahim

She first started playing volleyball at the age of 12 but by the age of 15 she was playing in the highest league in Serbia within the Vojvodina team. 

“At the age of 17 I have signed my first professional contract for Volleyball team Spartak and was fighting for the country title,” Mitrovic explained her experience.

She got her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in America, where she played for the volleyball for three years. After graduating from UTRGV, she looked for a masters program. However, AUD’s Sports Director Joseph Nohra found videos of her playing volleyball, approached her and offered a full sports-scholarship.

“Coming to Dubai was completely new experience, I had a culture shock just by being at the airport,” Mitrovic said about her first impression of Dubai.

After coming to AUD she was anointed captain of the women’s volleyball team by Coach Dmitriy Vdovin, due to her previous experience. 

“I was a captain for three years in the USA in my team, so I do have experience in this role,”  Mitrovic said. “However, I was sceptic if the girls here will accept it considering the fact I was new in the team.”


Uroš Lalic Photo by Mayar Ibrahim

Uroš Lalic’s case is relatively the same as Mitrovic’s. He is 20-years-old from Belgrade, currently studying to gain his bachelors degree in Business at AUD. He started playing volleyball when he was 12-years-old due to the influence of his older brother. He started playing for a club called Crnjanski where he learned the basic skills of volleyball. He then moved on to a volleyball club called Red Star in Serbia.

“I was captain of Belgrade’s national team and we won a championship in Croatia,” Lalic said. 

Lalic first wanted to study abroad in America but when AUD offered him a full sports-scholarship he accepted the offer.

“Firstly, it was interesting because of the differences in culture, environment, and mentality here,” Lalic said as he explained how it felt moving to Dubai. “It was the first time that I’ve been separated from my family but with time I realized that Dubai offers plenty opportunities.”  

Lalic was also anointed as captain of the men’s volleyball team by Coach Dmitriy Vdovin at the start of the academic year in Fall 2018.

“It really is a pleasure but it is also a big responsibility to lead the team,” Lalic said.

“Both teams have significantly improved under the leadership” of Lalic and Mitrovic, Coach Dmitriy said. “Uroš and Bojana are doing an amazing job, they really are core players of their teams.”

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