The best part of my job is getting to speak to hundreds of Serbian kids that have had the opportunity to visit and go to school in my country. It is very hard to find one that had negative things to say about their time in the US or about the American people. The A-SMYLE exchange program is one thing that the government does well. Apply today….http://www.ac-see.org/programs/hs-citiesdates.htm Two months ago, a dozen kids from this program wrote to PRVA TV to beg them to help me stay in Serbia longer! 🙂 They told PRVA that they use my blog posts and videos to introduce their classes to Serbian life and culture. I was very touched when the tv station reporter told me this. ❤
Exchange programs are very important and can really change the world. I feel that all high school students should be required to live in another country and experience a totally different culture. It really is the only way to destroy propaganda. There always seems to be billions of dollars available for bombs, guns, and terror…….. why don’t we try spending it on the kids who will be running this evil planet in a few years? Our governments would never do that. There is so much more money to made in military conflicts! Obama, Bush, Nikolic, Tadic…… they are all controlled by higher powers. 😦 Sad, but true!!!
This young man was going to school in a small town in Illinois. He has enjoyed his exchange program very much. I asked him to write down a few things that he noticed about life in the USA. Here are his thoughts :
“Before I came to the US two years ago all my knowledge about it was based on things that I saw in the movies, tv and the internet. There are many stereotypes about Americans and some of them are accurate at some level, some of them are not but in general the picture that the rest of the world sees is somewhat true but it’s not complete until you actually visit and spend some significant time living here. First thing that I have noticed is how things look better here. Buildings, roads and infrastructure in general are a lot better in the US. Serbia has many beautiful old buildings and monuments but in general most of the things in Serbia are built back in the post Josip Broz Tito era. Some of Serbian buildings are very old and they are pretty much falling apart but since Serbia don’t have money to build new ones we are forced to use them. In the US everything just appears nicer and newer since there is more money to spend to take care of it. Other thing that was very different is the amount of space Americans are using to build towns and cities. I could say that just a regular US town somewhere in countryside or suburban area with a population of 20.000 probably has a bigger area then, for example, Novi Sad which has a population of 300.000 or more. Now something about people. Mentality is different than Serbian for sure. People here don’t talk or discuss politics as much as people in Serbia do. There are people who disagree with the US government of course but politics are not as common topic as it is in Serbia. I would say that main topic in the US are sports. I knew that Americans watch sports but I wasn’t really aware how much it is big until I came here. I also knew that professional sports are big deal but college sports are probably even more watched than professional sports. In Serbia the sports that are followed by people are pretty much at the same time of the year but in the US it is divided by seasons. With the beginning of August/September football is most popular I believe, both college and NFL. Then later on, somewhere around October/November NBA starts but it is not really that much watched until the playoffs. College basketball however is very popular. Hundreds of Universities with great basketball teams so there is plenty of good basketball to watch. Then in March it becomes super popular. No wonder that it’s called March Madness. I haven’t met a single American who doesn’t follow March Madness. It doesn’t matter if it is 10 year old boy or 70 year old granny, everyone have their favorite team and pretty much everyone makes a bracket and tries to predict the team who will win the National Championship. Then after that baseball season starts and it lasts throughout the summer. There are other sports like golf, hockey, track and fields and other but I don’t know much about that. There are plenty of good sports to watch all year long and people love to do it in the US. In Serbia its mostly just soccer and basketball and maybe tennis. People in Serbia watch other sports only when our national team is playing. Other than watching it youth here plays a lot more sports during the middle school and high school. Very often kids play more than one sport and all the competitions are mostly related to schools. Girls involvement in sports is also way bigger than it is in Serbia. Pretty much everyone here is playing or has been playing some sports. Social life is very different. I would say it is much more “alive” in Serbia. For youngsters there is a big legal problem which is no drinking before age of 21 and if you ask me it is a big deal. Law is very strict and for kids younger than 21 sometimes it is really hard to get booze and have fun. Young people here have to be very careful with throwing a party because there is always a risk that police will bust it and check for everyone’s age. In Serbia there is no such a problem so it’s easier to have fun and that is the reason why other people would say that Serbians live “laid back” life style. So parties and hang outs until early in the morning are not as common as they are in Serbia. Fast food in the US is very popular. Not just fast food but the custom of eating outside the house is much more popular. Plenty of restaurant chains and many different types of food so there is always a new place to eat. In general life here is easier, there are more opportunities for jobs and careers and material wise there is a lot more things and products. It is way more organized and the systems and patterns that people follow in the US are better so that makes life here simpler. On the other side I believe life in Serbia is more fun. It is harder but I would say that Serbians enjoy life better. This is just my personal observation so it’s not necessarily true. There is obviously a lot more differences and these are just some of the most interesting ones but it would take me forever to write them down.”