Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’ve had a great week and are gearing up for a wonderful weekend! Today we have a guest post from Olgita, who tells us all about studying Serbian through GLN, including developing an appreciation for Serbian food! If you like this post, be sure to check out her blog, too!
A True Taste of Serbian Culture
When I started taking Serbian, I knew next to nothing about the language or culture of Serbia. At that time, I had just started working with exchange students from the Balkans, and I was mostly interested in picking up a few useful words and phrases. My colleague at work told me about the GLN, and a Beginner Serbian class was a perfect starting point. Our teacher, Miroslav Jojic, who is a native speaker, taught us the basics of grammar and some interesting and funny words and expressions, but most importantly, he sparked my interest in learning more about Serbian culture.
Originally from Russia, my knowledge of Serbia was limited to the Russian foreign policy in the Balkans, primarily in the 19th century. Besides the factual information learned in history and international relations classes and the vague memory of news coverage of the Bosnian War and NATO intervention in the 1990s, I did not really have a good idea of what people of the former Yugoslavia were like. Even now, after taking a couple of Serbian classes with GLN and working with youth from the Balkan region, I would not call myself a big expert on Serbia. But the experience that GLN gave me was without a doubt a huge step forward.
Although we were focusing on the language, our GLN group talked about cultural nuances, historical legacy, and the modern way of life in Serbia. We all bonded by the end of the first semester, and it was really fun to continue taking Serbian with the same dedicated students and Miroslav. We also watched movies (yes, famous Kusturica) and listened to pop songs in Serbian. And of course, when we got to the topic of food, our class eagerly relocated to Cosmopolitan, a Serbian restaurant in Alexandria.
As you can imagine, it was amazing to try authentic Serbian food, which gave me yet another perspective on the country and its people. At that dinner at Cosmopolitan, I tried cevapi for the first time. Cevapi or cevapcici is a signature Serbian dish that I heard so much about in class. Ever since, I absolutely love cevapi, and I even learned how to make it! You can see pictures of the cevapi I made at home on my Universal Mixer blog.
My two semesters taking Serbian with GLN were a great experience all along. I did not become fluent in the Serbian language, but I did come out of it with one very important takeaway – a deep sense of appreciation for Serbian culture and food. 🙂
(Have a food experience you’d like to share? Tell us about it and we’ll feature it on a Foodie Friday!)