A Trip to Novi Sad

The four of us recently took a trip to Serbia’s second major city, Novi Sad. According to one legend, the city got its name from an ancient tradition: a long time ago when people were still living mostly around the Petrovaradin fortress, newly married couples would cross the Danube and plant a tree to signify … Continue reading A Trip to Novi Sad


The Teacher Becomes the Student

One of the best opportunities afforded me by the Balkan Language Initiative, aside from studying Bulgarian language in-country, has been the chance to return to a place that is very near and dear to my heart. A few years back, I lived in Bulgaria and taught high school English language classes in the south-central region … Continue reading The Teacher Becomes the Student

You’re Going Where To Do What?!

That was the question my each and every member of my family asked when I told them I was participating in this program. They couldn't believe that I, a Belgrade-born native/heritage speaker of Serbian, was going to spend the summer in Belgrade taking language classes. They could not stop laughing. Naturally it sounded like a … Continue reading You’re Going Where To Do What?!

An Everyday Adventure

The kitchen of my host family's apartment is the center of all the best moments in their home - it's where I eat quiet breakfasts while studying before classes, where we gather at night to talk about our days over sweets and fresh fruit, and it's where I have gotten to know my hosts the … Continue reading An Everyday Adventure

A Rock Pilgrim’s Progress

Students doing foreign study generally don’t like to see themselves as tourists, and in my first week in Belgrade, I thought of myself as a pilgrim. Anyone who has ever drawn parallels between religion and rock music ought to appreciate the history of rock in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). During the new … Continue reading A Rock Pilgrim’s Progress

Every Day a New Adventure

I have had a wonderful time in Belgrade these past few weeks. Since the last time I wrote a blogpost for American Councils I took part in an academic conference, interviewed with a local newspaper, and began volunteering with a humanitarian organization for refugees in Belgrade. Though I could probably write a five thousand-word essay … Continue reading Every Day a New Adventure

Cognates in Serbia

Greetings from Belgrade, Serbia! I’m studying here through American Councils this summer as part of the Balkan Language Initiative (BLI). My interest in studying Serbian was sparked during my first year in Yale University’s MA program in European and Russian Studies. The language will be invaluable as I continue to pursue my broader research interests … Continue reading Cognates in Serbia

Lessons Learned about Learning Language

After three months in Sarajevo, my journey is winding down to just the last few weeks. Now that I’ve been here a while, I’m being asked much more frequently if I feel like my language has improved at all. That’s not an easy question to answer. Realistically, I think yes. I’m able to hold longer … Continue reading Lessons Learned about Learning Language

Great Coffee with Better Friends

Sarajevo is definitely a larger city when it comes to geography and population, but socially it feels much smaller. I’ve stopped being surprised when I am out to coffee with a new friend I’ve recently met and she tells me that she knows a student or staff member with American Councils, or if she happens … Continue reading Great Coffee with Better Friends