A Day in the Life Learning BCS Online

7:00am. My alarm goes off. Blinking sleep out of my eyes, I get out of bed, turn it off, and start getting ready for the day. Coffee is a must, and luckily for me, the Bosnians know coffee better than anyone! My teacher, Asmira, always makes sure I’ve had breakfast and a mug of caffeine goodness before we begin.

Adjusting to Language Immersion Online

Welcome to my room. Notecards littered all over the floor, post-its covering my wall, and books in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS) stacked on my desk. A rakija glass with Tito’s face, and a Novak Djoković poster stretched across my door to top it off. Some might think I’m a little crazy for the Balkans, and I am not ashamed to admit that they would be absolutely correct!

How to Immerse Yourself Digitally When Traveling isn’t an Option

This summer has not gone quite like it was supposed to. As a grad student studying Linguistics and Russian & East European Area Studies at Indiana University, this is the first summer in three years that I have *not* been somewhere in the Balkans studying Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS). This summer, I was supposed to be in Sarajevo, Bosnia, but, unfortunately, a global pandemic had other plans.

Photo Blog: Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade hosts a strange mix of Ottoman monuments, Orthodox churches, and communist architecture, commemorating its thousand-year empire under three different empires, five wars, and all the political turbulence of the twentieth century. The city’s history is ingratiated in daily life, unfolding during walks to work, to class, to coffee dates with friends, or even just …

Continue reading Photo Blog: Belgrade, Serbia

On the Value of Language Cafes

On Saturday, I told my host mom that her cooking “stank” instead of saying it “smelled good.” This morning, when my new professor asked me when I’ll graduate college, I heard, “when did you wake up this morning” and told him “around 8.” In both cases, the sentences were phonetically close in Serbian and I …

Continue reading On the Value of Language Cafes

5 Tips for Language Learning in Bulgaria

This past weekend, I attended a theater festival in a small village in south central Bulgaria. I’ve spent my summer studying Bulgarian language in Sofia, and this festival was sort of like the ultimate test after a summer’s worth of intensive study. I was one of several Americans at the festival and I knew it …

Continue reading 5 Tips for Language Learning in Bulgaria

Expectations and Realities

I was always “too” nervous to live with a host family. I’ve lived abroad many times before, and the opportunity certainly arose on more than one occasion. However, it always felt a bit scary. Stepping into someone else’s home, with their own customs, traditions, and daily life felt so intimidating. As a vegetarian, I also …

Continue reading Expectations and Realities

Sights and Sounds of Sarajevo: A Portrait of New Beginnings

It’s hard to believe that three weeks have already passed by seemingly without me even realizing. It’s strange how time passes unceremoniously when you are faced with a change in nearly all your circumstances. A new country, new living arrangements, new teachers, new classes, new friends, new sights, new sounds—new language…it’s hardly a shock the …

Continue reading Sights and Sounds of Sarajevo: A Portrait of New Beginnings