The USA has provided me with a chance to live on my own, work up to 14 hour a day, cope under pressure, face a fear of having responsibilities, loneliness, nostalgia and on top of that – it has made me stronger. All of those are experiences which I did not acquire in Serbia
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I made the decision to write in order to preserve for myself, but also to share with others, the many of my own impressions, experiences, and memories. This is most likely going to be a collage of stories about people that I meet during my stay in the USA.
If you follow me, you should know that my name is Nina and I come from Subotica. I am 25 years old, I have graduated Anglistics and I am studying for my master’s degree. This is my third summer in The USA through the Work and Travel program. This program enables students to work for four months, and then to, if they desire (and if they earn enough to do so), spend a month traveling. All the jobs which I did in Arizona (2014), Massachusetts (2015) and which I am doing here in Utah, are in the hospitality industry.
The USA has provided me with a chance to live on my own, work up to 14 hour a day, cope under pressure, face a fear of having responsibilities, loneliness, nostalgia and on top of that – it has made me stronger. All of those are experiences which I did not acquire in Serbia.
During the first journey, there were many moments when I thought to myself that I had made a terrible mistake when venturing so far away from home. However, from today’s perspective, I would not be able to imagine what my life would be like without these experiences.
The most precious souvenirs from these travels I consider the encounters with people from all over the world, of different nationalities, different religious beliefs and world views. The USA has taught me to listen to what the people are saying and to really try to understand them.
During my travels I’ve had the opportunity to be roommates with Thais, play volleyball with Mexicans, dine with Filipinos, go to the movies with Americans, laugh with Peruvians… I’ve had the opportunity to see the whole world in one place and to learn how to overcome many cultural barriers. I understand every sort of broken English, different American accents, and much of the Spanish language.
Above all, what I consider the most valuable is the ability to see that every person, regardless of social standing – be it the owner of a five-star hotel, the general manager of a luxurious restaurant, or a member of the cleaning staff or a dishwasher – is a different story and every life is unique.
Ivo Andrić has summarised the best: “To be a man, to have been born without knowing it or wanting it, to be thrown into the ocean of existence, to be obliged to swim, to exist; to have an identity; to resist the pressure and shocks from the outside and the unforeseen and unforeseeable acts – one’s own and those of others – which so often exceed one’s capacities? And what is more, to endure one’s own thoughts about all this: in a word, to be human.”
We are all in this circus together, we all have our hopes, dreams, and secrets. Every person deserves to be listened to and to be a story.
Nina’s stories from The USA, about the people, their lives, experiences, world views, and about everything she considers important, you can follow weekly, every Friday on the Magločistač portal.
Translation from serbian: Miloš Budinčević.
Serbian version of the text: SUBOTIČANKA NINA ĆUJIĆ ZA MAGLOČISTAČ IZ AMERIKE: SVAKO IMA PRIČU DA PODELI