On May 12th, I along with fourteen other UA students will journey to Serbia for our Summer Interim semester. Many of us didn’t know much about Serbia before being selected for the Serbia Fellowship Experience, but over the past semester, we have engaged with Serbian culture, politics, and language through an online and in-person course. I knew I wanted to go to Serbia after my close friend participated in the same program last summer and raved about his experience in the Balkan nation. Beginning my senior year in the fall, this summer I wanted to have an international experience as well as an internship experience that would benefit my resume in preparation for my upcoming graduation. As a summer interim program, I am able to intern after I return from Serbia which lets me really take advantage of all the opportunities I have.
I am excited about our trip as I pack and plan for our departure on May 12th. I previously studied abroad in the UK for a semester as well as in Cuba over spring break, so preparing for my time in Serbia has been much easier than my experience preparing for my first international adventure. The student coordinators for our trip have done a tremendous job in giving us packing lists and itineraries ahead of time so that we can pack properly for our time there. Although the flight to Serbia is the longest I’ve taken thus far, I hope to sleep as much as I possibly can during the 14-hour journey. If you know anything about me, you know I love skincare, so I’ll make sure to keep my face hydrated throughout the flight with a good moisturizer or hydrating mask to protect my skin from that dry plane air. I also always prepare a good playlist in advance and download movies or books that can keep me entertained.
I’m so excited to spend time in the country I’ve spent the semester learning about. Although I am missing a few important birthdays and a newborn nephew back home, I know that the time I spend in Serbia will go by so quickly that I’ll hardly have time to miss my family and friends. I’m excited to begin this experience, but I’m also nervous about my language skills and communicating with my host family. Despite this, I want to go into the experience with an open and reflective mindset so that I can truly put aside my own ideas and perceptions, and instead just listen to learn. I want to hop out of my comfort zone and say yes more to make my time abroad this summer the best it can be!