The 2011-12 exchange year is coming to an end, and most of the students have already returned home with baggage full of memories, friendships, professional contacts, and new knowledge, skills, and ideas. Now it’s time for reflection on the amazing experiences the students had in the US.
Edina Heco from Serbia comments on her Forecast year: I still don\’t know if Forecast and my experience as exchange student changed my life but I am certain that I am changed in a positive sense. I feel enriched, enlightened, I feel that there are no limits of what I can achieve. This has been one of the best years in my life. I have learned a lot about myself, about America, about other countries and cultures. I feel that I am a citizen of the world.
The students will continue to process and share their personal experiences throughout this time and during the re-entry seminar that is only two weeks away. As a means of showing their American adventures to their friends back home Ivana Corovic (Montenegro), and Ivan Razumenic and Enes Hamzagic (both from Serbia), created these short videos, each highlighting a different aspect of the Forecast program.
Around USA by Enes Hamzagic, ETSU
Presentation of Serbia by Ivan Razumenic, UNH
Tribute to Friends by Ivana Corovic, UAH
The end of this academic year is approaching. While the current Forecast participants are packing up their lives in the U.S., a new group of UGRAD students is getting ready to set off on this journey, and this is my advice to them.
Having completed 35 hours of community service in a field related to my major and future career, I would like to give you the following bit of advice: plan early! You may want to look for volunteer opportunities as soon as you get your host university placement if you don\’t want to rush those required hours and you want to get something valuable out of the experience (after all, the experience is yours). Read more
During their academic year in the U.S., Forecast Exchange students spend most of their time on campus, at host universities. The campus becomes home to the students for almost nine months. And it\’s the primary place where they learn the ins and outs of the U.S. higher education system, encounter American culture for the first time, make friends, and find countless academic, community service, and even internship opportunities.
In March, World Learning staff, Olga Kolodina, visited the University of Maine, a major academic and research institution in the state and the entire New England region. In 2011/12, UMaine welcomed two Forecast Exchange students – Marija Markicevic from Serbia and Jovana Zivkovic from Montengro. Both are currently studying and enjoying their American experience on UMaine’s campus. We asked Marija and Jovana as well as Evan Miliano, who is now friends with two generations of Forecast students, what it is like to attend the University of Maine and what each of them appreciates most about the program and their university.
What I Learned About Homelessness This Semester
For my spring community service, I decided to try some new things, to learn more, and to explore different aspects of American society, life, and culture. One thing that surprised me while I was on my winter break in California was the number of homeless people on the streets. I think that it was the first time I experienced a slight culture shock in America. I couldn’t believe that all those people live on the streets of perhaps the most powerful country in the world. I asked myself constantly why someone does not help those people. Soon after, I got an opportunity to learn more about this issue.
When I came back to Michigan, I found one volunteering opportunity with the Ottawa Area Housing Coalition, which sounded interesting, and I knew I wanted to help out. The project was counting and documenting homeless people so that other organizations could help them. The idea was to go out at night or in the morning with a predefined route and try to locate homeless people. Also, we had to observe the place they are staying, their age, gender, and if they have family or not. However, we could not disturb them or interact with them since our advisors were clear about that.
By Jelena Vaslic
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2011-2012
I did expect that my life was going to change this year. Of course! I was supposed to go on an exchange program for nine months to the country I was only reading and watching movies about. I was expecting to feel different – more independent, probably more confident, and definitely more proficient in my English knowledge. But what happened to me wasn’t on the list of possibilities that I could have predicted coming to reality.
Not only have I seen so much, experienced life on a college campus, traveled, dealt with different people who I would not have met had I stayed home – rich ones, Serbian families living abroad, educated people, uneducated people, homeless people and just a bunch of random guys and girls, men and women from all around the globe – but this year turned my feelings completely upside down. I’m deeply in love.
I visited some places I always dreamed about. Honestly, given the economic conditions I was living in, I was certain that I would never get to see the places I saw this year. And then, all these thoughts, hopes, and dreams flew through my head the very moment I first saw the Golden Gate Bridge. The view was stunning. I stopped breathing for just a few seconds. I felt happiness so deeply that I\’m not sure I could describe it.
By Stevan Perovic
University of Arkansas, 2011-2012
It was 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, when Jovana Kovacevic, Teodor Hristov (an exchange student from Bulgaria) and I headed out to the airport for our flight to New York. As soon as we landed in New York, the first thought that ran through my mind was “Dorothy, we’re not in (Ar)Kansas anymore!” All the noise, all the lights, all the people hurrying to get to nowhere in particular, it was not just different from our good ole Fayetteville, it was the polar opposite!
We made our way to our hostel, and then later on to Times Square to celebrate the New Year’s Eve. No, we didn’t quite make it to Times Square, but we celebrated close to it – as close as you can get without camping out there for two days in advance! Yikes! The following days, we got to experience many amazing things – we visited world renowned museums such as MoMA and Guggenheim, wandered around the Central Park, and enjoyed Midtown Manhattan. We also enjoyed the breathtaking view from the Empire State Building, took a boat cruise around Ellis Island, all the while soaking in the energy of the city, and enjoyed the many multicultural experiences New York City has to offer. Compared to Fayetteville, AR where the most fun you can have is at the Union on campus, New York opened up a whole new way of thinking about the United States.
It was time to leave, but not back to our small mountain town, but for Boston! Boston was something completely different both from Fayetteville and NYC. There is a lot more history, and a lot more enthusiastic and eccentric young people. There’s a lot less people hurrying through the streets like in New York, yet a lot more things to experience than there is in Fayetteville. Read more
By Senad Ibraimoski
Tennessee Tech University: 2010-2011
It is almost eight months since I returned to Serbia after spending one academic year studying Computer Science at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN, USA. I had never anticipated the extent of the impact that Forecast Exchange Program would have on my personal, professional and academic life. I would say that my highest expectations were already fulfilled in the first two months in the US. Read more