Alumni Spotlight: Filip Popov-Plavšić, Class of 2014

Finding John Cabot

Applying to John Cabot University was definitely a turning point in my life. My time at JCU represents a true coming-of-age story for me. I like to say I was born and raised in Serbia…but I truly grew up in Italy.

Filip Popov-Plavsic, John Cabot University, study abroad in Rome, international schools in Italy, living in Rome, JCU student stories

I found John Cabot through word of mouth. At the time, I was finishing up high school in my hometown of Novi Sad. My family’s business partners had just enrolled both their sons, George and Tamaz Gomiashvili, at JCU. They gave us great feedback. And it just so happened that my aunt and cousins were also living in northern Rome, so it all seemed like a convenient setup for me. It was cool to get to know George and Tamaz, both in and outside of the classroom. They became two of my closest friends and we have stayed in touch since graduating. I have spent time with Tamaz in Serbia, and even attended his wedding in Tbilisi, Georgia. That is just one example of my many international friendships at JCU.


During my time at JCU, I majored in Business Administration and minored in International Affairs. The professors and curriculum were excellent, but for me, the greatest take-away was the soft skills I developed while living abroad. The international immersion, combined with John Cabot’s well-taught and highly valued critical thinking skills, is the greatest gift my alma mater could have given me.

I have these contrasting feelings that the whole thing flew by in the blink of an eye, and yet that I somehow have a whole life’s worth of memories. It was fun from day one: meeting new people, bonding with my roommates, and trying to find my niche in a fluid college ecosystem. Ironically, the memory I reminisce about the most is JCU during finals week. In 2013, the library implemented longer hours during finals week, and students took full advantage. The student government and the librarians provided coffee, fruit, and snacks. I remember, particularly in the fall semester, the homey feeling when the whole student body came together in the library to power through last-minute studying for finals (and today also in the Tiber campus!). I can still picture everyone typing away all through the night, with occasional coffee breaks.

Roman Life

One of the greatest benefits to attending John Cabot is having access to a city like Rome. When someone asks me about the best parts of living in the Eternal City, my answer is never brief. The list is endless. But here are a few reasons to move there:

  • The obvious: Rome is a beautiful city… and JCU is nestled in one of its prettiest neighborhoods, Trastevere.
  • The weather: which you really appreciate only when you leave. Seriously. I remember driving in a car one day above Piazza del Popolo while it was raining and hailing, and yet somehow the sun was still shining!
  • But most of all: the atmosphere in Rome. The dolce vita, which is closely connected with the Roman concept of the dolce far niente (the sweet idleness). Granted, it can be frustrating at times to live in a slow-paced and often inefficient society. But once you realize Romans don’t function according to any social norms you’re used to, but rather through the building of relationships and rapport, you’re going to have a much better time. Take the time to get to know your local barista, pizzaiolo (pizza maker), and giornalaio (newspaper seller).

Filip Popov-Plavsic, John Cabot University Student Government President, Filip Popov-Plavsic, John Cabot University, study abroad in Rome, international schools in Italy, living in Rome, JCU student storiesHowever, while it’s important to enjoy the leisurely life in Rome, it’s also important to be productive, and take advantage of your time and the resources that John Cabot provides to students. My advice to anyone entering a new semester is to get involved. Joining a club or organization will be an extremely rewarding aspect of your college experience. I was a member of JCU’s Student Government, starting out as a senator. The following year I became Vice President, and finally President during my senior year. At the same time I was a Resident Assistant during my junior and senior years, which paved the way for my first job following graduation.

Preparing for the Future

Knowing the ins and outs of the Housing Office landed me an internship that was supposed to be a temporary, transitional period for me while I sorted out my post-graduate life. However, I ended up really enjoying it, and truly saw an opportunity for further growth and self-development. Four years later I became the Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life. I only just left JCU this past July in order to diversify my skill set, and see what else the world has to offer. It was a bittersweet moment. John Cabot University was not just my alma mater, but it was my home, and its community was my family for almost a decade.

I’m now living in Belgrade, Serbia. After a brief hiatus in my hometown of Novi Sad, I accepted an offer to work at a brokerage firm. My first day of work was right after the new year. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life, and to see where I can grow from here. I can only thank John Cabot University for preparing me so well both as a student and staff member that I was able to land this new job, and for so many other rewarding aspects of my life.


Filip Popov-Plavšić
Class of 2014
Business Administration Major,
International Affairs Minor
Hometown: Novi Sad, Serbia

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