Young Nis Student Experiences Fast Food Culture Shock!!

20 Jan


Beautiful Nis, Serbia

I really love hearing from Serbian exchange students. I have been contacted by 4 of them that are enjoying their time in the USA. These programs are a great way to break down stereotypes.


This young lady, Natalija Kandic, is from the gorgeous city of Nis, Serbia. She was selected by ASMYLE Exchange Program and was sent to Cary, Illinois. 🙂


Here is her story…… Hvala, Nat

Hi Mr. Cather!

As you probably don’t remember, you’ve asked me long time ago to write you about my experience as a Serbian exchange student in the US.

I am an A-SMYLE student, leadership program in Serbia and Montenegro.

It wasn’t easy at all, from the beginning until the day I left my family. I believe you need a lot of courage to do this, but the experience and growth you get is immesurable. If you ask me about the procedure and the process of testing..honestly, it will take some time to remember. It was last year..

All I know is that 2 years ago I applied for the same program and I didn’t pass. I know why..I was late for the testing! One minute, but enough for them to see how immature I was. So, last year I came an hour before, with my sharp pencils, pens, my knowledge and most important, positive attitude.

The testings were held in ”Gimnazija 9. Maj”, Nis, Serbia. A bunch of competitive, mostly smart kids. It wasn’t easy at all. I had my best friends around me, and a lot of unknown faces. What’s funny is that some of those ”unknown faces” became my best friends! For example, Jelena Jevtic (she is in Pueblo West, CO now). I will tell you more about her. We live on the same street in Nis, Mokranjceva. I live in the beginning, she lives in the end. Before the testings I saw her only once, and she said Hi  I couldn’t remember if I know her, but I replied Hi! From the very beginning of the exams we were encouraging each other. Of course, other best friends Marko and Masa were always there for me, helping, cheering and loving me. But, since only Jelena passed in the 3rd round of testing (as I did), she knew how hard it became. I believe both of us knew that we can easily ROCK this  Not that easily..because we thought it’s only 1 person in 6 that is chosen. Wrong! Our last exam was group debate..6 of us debating about ”Woman vs Man as a President”..Jelena and I..we were unstoppable! Not bragging haha!
So, Jelena is the first one who found out she passed and she is going to the US. I was in my high school ”Prva niska gimnazija Stevan Sremac”, in my literature class. My mom called me and said ”Sweetheart, mom and dad are proud of you!” I knew what’s next..I am going to the US!! My whole class was cheering, my lovely literature teacher Danijela was a blast!

To sum up, when I came here first thing I saw was Mc Donald’s and King Burger. I didn’t like that..Later, I found out you have Mc Donald’s and fast food EVERYWHERE. Not trying to be mean, I am just sad because a lot of teenagers eat there and it’s cheap and fast so it’s easier for them. I guess it’s my Serbian mentality, but the food is just so fake here. I miss sarma, pita, cevapcici, pljeskavica, hleb, pogaca..everything when it comes to food!!

Another thing, American school..not that easy, but not hard as Serbian.
In Serbia, I go to philologic class, Stevan Sremac high school. And I adore it, although people think we are nerds. Wrong! Haha.
We have 16 subjects..and it’s a lot, I know.

Here, in Cary, Illinois I chose 6 subjects and gym. Every day I have lunch 45 minutes (in Serbia, only 20) + I have commons, which is a class in cafeteria for doing homework (actually, chatting with your friends AND doing homework). I volunteer..I go to Evangelical church with my mom almost every Sunday and that’s where I help and volunteer. I am so grateful how people accepted me there, it’s like a small family. I am Christian Orthodox, and I know it sounds strange that I go to Evangelical Church, but I do it for my mom. And for myself, because I made some amazing friends there. It’s the part of experience here!

I played varsity tennis in Cary-Grove (my awesome high-school), and that’s where I met most of my girlfriends. Some of them I met in French, because I speak fluent French and LOVE to help people in my class. I was shocked first time my American friends asked me: ”Why do you help us??”..WOW. Why? Well, because that’s what people do, help..No, it’s because I am Serbian! That’s how I responded

I guess here people pay if you help them..I don’t know, It’s not how I was raised. For now that’s all I can think of..oh yes! My host family..I have a host mom (I call her just mom or mommy or sis), her name is Meg. I have a host brother Griff (he is at CMU), and Hayla, my host sister. I ADORE my host family . Now I feel like I have 2 Serbian and one American..

Everyone should try this, it’s not the easiest thing in the world, but with some help from your family and friends + your attitude and can get A LOT. Thank you, Charles..for everything you do for my country. It takes a GRAND man to do what you do..thanks from my family, too.

Keep in touch! Pozdrav “


Posted by on January 20, 2013 in What others think


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 responses to “Young Nis Student Experiences Fast Food Culture Shock!!

  1. Marie Dragisic Burns

    January 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Well done Natalija!!! You set fantastic examples for your generation, so impressed!!! And Charles, high fives to you, love you loads xxxx

    • cather76

      January 21, 2013 at 4:35 am

      great comment.. thank you very much

  2. Serb from Sweden

    January 21, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Hi, did you know that Robert De Niro loves serbs? When he was young, before he was famous, he went to Serbia and he said he never forgot how nice people were. He had gotten robbed of his wallet or something, and some family brought him in, gave him food and everything. He really loves the people and the county. ha even named his daughter Drina, after the book Bridge over Drina. (Drina is a river in Serbia) I reccommend you to read this book, it´s by Ivo Andric and he got the nobel prize for it.

    Robert De Niro: Maybe i am a serb:

    • cather76

      January 21, 2013 at 4:36 am

      hi there.. thank you so much.. i had heard about this.. i appreciate this.. 🙂

  3. Serb from Sweden

    January 21, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Shaquille O’Neal loves Serbia:

    This actually reminds me of what you told me about the guys that made you say something bad when you were ordering that pizza haha. “No i aint saying that” haha

    Shaq O’Nealovich:

  4. Serb from Sweden

    January 21, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Do you know about this serbian-american swimmer Milorad Cavic who was suspended for this Kosovo is Serbia t-shirt:

    The video when he did it:

  5. Bruno

    January 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Lep članak Nani! Smajlovci su uz tebe!

  6. ratkosolaja94

    January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Hey Charles,

    Thanks for posting this wonderful story. To be plane and honest, it had me captivated from the start ’till the end. Good for her. =)

    • cather76

      January 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      thanks, my brother..

  7. Serb from Sweden

    January 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Why is my second comment still awating moderation? My accepted my other ones

    • cather76

      January 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      sorry, my friend… i have not been around… thanks for all your interest… 🙂

  8. Serb from Sweden

    January 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    *You accepted my other ones

  9. Serb from Sweden

    January 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    This one:

    Shaquille O’Neal loves Serbia:
    This actually reminds me of what you told me about the guys that made you say something bad when you were ordering that pizza haha. “No i aint saying that” haha

    Shaq O’Nealovich:

    • cather76

      January 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      ahahahah.. 😉 thanks.. i loved this clip..

  10. chef011

    January 29, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Čarli 😀 I just finished reading yet another great post from you… Great job!

    • cather76

      January 29, 2013 at 8:21 am

      you are the best… thank you for all of your interest in my blog.. 🙂

  11. Stefani Kandic

    April 23, 2013 at 2:34 am

    That’s my cousin! 🙂

    • cather76

      April 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      wow.. small world.. she is a doll!

  12. experience

    May 25, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I used to be suggested this website by means of my
    cousin. I’m not certain whether this submit is written by means of him as no one else know such specified about my problem. You’re amazing!
    Thank you!


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