Bosnian refugee Monika Radulovic crowned Miss Universe Australia

After fleeing the war-torn Baltic region with her family when she was four, Ms Radulovic passed through Denmark before ultimately settling in Australia. Source: Provided

A Bosnian refugee whose parents arrived in Australia with just 'one little suitcase between them' has been crowned Miss Universe Australia.

Miss Universe Australia winner Monika Radulovic has drawn on her own personal experiences to spread a positive message about asylum seekers in Australia.

Ms Radulovic, a Bosnian refugee, said her experiences when arriving in Australia were extremely positive, and she wants others seeking refuge in Australia to enjoy the same reception.

"The Australian community was so helpful, so supportive. It really opened its arms up to us and welcomed us in. It was amazing," she told SBS News.

After fleeing the Baltic region with her family when she was four, Ms Radulovic passed through Denmark before ultimately settling in Australia.

"Because I was four years old, I don’t remember too much about it. I don’t have any negative memories of the war-torn country before hand or us living elsewhere," she said.

"We lived in Denmark before … in a refugee camp/hotel. So we lived in a small four by three bedroom, my brother, my dad, my mum and myself."

Ms Radulovic said that she was too young to recall the time for herself but her parents have told her how hard relocating to a new country initially was.

"It was quite difficult. We came here with nothing except for one little suitcase between us. We all had to learn the language and they had to get jobs to support the family and things like that."

While winning the coveted title of Miss Universe Australia has been well received within the Australian-Bosnian community, Ms Radulovic said that her story is something that everyone within the broader Australian community can relate to.

"It’s been so well received ... (from) the whole of Australia I have received so many beautiful, positive messages from everyone congratulating me," she said.

"More than just being part of the Bosnian community, I’m part of the multi-cultural community that is Australia. I think a lot of people can relate to my story or there is someone in their family that can relate.

"I am so happy it has been that well received by everybody."

Ms Radulovic wants to use her position to encourage a more compassionate and open-minded approach to those who seek refuge in Australia.

"My number one thing that I want to spread is and something we should all remember is that, the refugees that try to smuggle into other countries, they don’t do that of their own free will," she said.

"We have to remember to look at them through empathetic eyes and remember they are going through something so horrendous in their home country that is forcing them to the brink of them actually trying to get smuggled into another country.

"I don’t think the majority of us can comprehend that. So that’s what we need to remember, we need to look at them through empathetic eyes."

Source SBS

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