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Summer 2008

Study Abroad Program

This program included the first visit of a few days to Montenegro and an excursion to Dubrovnik. There were eight participants.
Katya Yazykova, a PhD candidate at Clemson, took part in the Belgrade program.  Here are her impressions:

"I had the most memorable and intellectually and emotionally challenging time in Belgrade. Architecturally, it reminded me of my native Russia and specifically the town of Kirov, where I spent all of my childhood's summers, and culturally, it left a lasting impression of kindness and hospitality of the Serbian people. Needless to say, I felt very much at home and fell in love with the place.

The intellectual challenge came from my realization of how deficient was my knowledge of the region, its recent history, and present-day developments, and how subjective and one-sided was most of the information about Serbia that I had been exposed to prior to the trip.  Emotionally, it was heart-breaking to begin to understand the political manipulations on the part of governments and international institutions who pursue their own agendas in the region.

The trip to Belgrade was a proverbial eye-opening experience for me that underscored the responsibility of every human being to pursue uncontaminated truth, whether about the events in other parts of the world or in her or his own neighborhood."

Evan Cohen said:
"All of the meetings make us feel really important, we are treated like career diplomats from the US. We bypass security, metal detectors, and just get waved through into government buildings. Professor Matic knows everyone in this government and they all love him. He works really hard to set up meetings for us. Then later on in the evening we are treated just as well in Belgrade's explosive nightlife, clubs floating on barges, live music coming from every corner, and people out until the early morning. Kiss your days laying around on a couch goodbye!!!"

Alex Miles writes:
"The trip provided insight not just about Serbia but the Balkans in general.  I definitely left Serbia with a wealth of knowledge about the region and its peoples. One of the top things that struck me was Serbian hospitality.  Being invited out for coffee or even dinner by a Serb is delightfully commonplace. I had many opportunities to play soccer, go clubbing or just hanging out with my Serbian friends. I assumed before arriving in Serbia that language might be a problem but much to my surprise it was not. Many Serbians especially the younger generation speak fluent English, of course they where always encouraging my poor attempts to speak Serbian. The food in Belgrade was out of this world whether it was the many soups, salads or meat dishes the Serbians are famous for I always looked forward to my next meal. The thing that struck me most about Belgrade was it's unadulterated culture. Unlike many other major European capitals that are rife with tourist traps and loads of foreigners, Belgrade remains uniquely Serbian you'll never be deprived of its authentic culture.