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Interview - Maria Valjan United States of America

Maria: My name is Maria Valjan and I come from America. A lot of people think of it as a land of big opportunities which it is and people are familiar with the life the there. It depends on which part of America you are from, every region is different. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona so it’s the western part and is definitely more different than the East coast. Life there is repetitive, there is not a lot of places to go out, especially for people under the age of 21. Their options are usually the mall or the cinema. They go to school, hang out at therfriends houses and that is pretty much what their life consists of. I, myself didn’t much except go to school and go home. A lot of high school student get a job, which I haven’t noticed in Serbia.

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How did you decide to enroll to Singidunum University?

Maria: I really wanted to leave America. I was coming to Serbia only in the summer and I loved it so much. I fell in love with the people and I made friends and my whole family is here and it was just the best decision for me to move to Serbia, but my Serbian isn’t that good so I needed a University where I could study in English and Singidunum was the best option I had. I did research and also some of my friend study here so that is how I heard about Singidunum University and decided it was a good fit for me.

Could you compare the school system in your native country and the school system here in Serbia?

Maria: I’m learning the same amount, just the teaching methods are different and the atmosphere in class is different. Here is just more basic learning, power point slides, white boards. I’m not used to this because my high school was more technologically advanced. The teachers are also different. I had a lot more younger teachers, not a typical professor like here in Serbia. They wanted you to have fun, and tried to make learning not a job. The grading system here is different, which I’m not used to. Because in the States there is A, B C, D, F. Also there I had a lot more homework, here I just have mid-terms. High school for me was always hours of work after every single day and here I just need to study for a mid-term.

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Are you pleased with the teaching methods here? Has Singidunum University met you expectations?

Maria: Yes, it definitely has. I’m getting an education abroad, in a country I actually want to be, which maybe sounds crazy. But I can do my studies and everything works out perfectly, it is very flexible and I really like it here.

Do you have any plans after you get your college degree?

Maria: I wanted to go into marketing in my third year and that is what I will hopefully get my degree in. And either work in business or, since in the States I have finished cosmetology school and I wanted to be a freelance makeup artist and market myself. Also, I definitely plan to stay here. The way America is right now, it is not my ideal living situation, especially right now. But four years from now anything could happen, who knows. But for now I plan to stay here.

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If you had to describe your college experience here at Singidunum University, which words would you choose?

Maria: It’s very open minded, because I got to meet a lot of teachers and professors and my class is so diverse, there are students from all over the world, there are student from Africa, Austria, South Africa.. and I got to hear a lot about other cultures and I got to experience living in Belgrade so I thing that Singidunum had a lot to help with that, just for me to be more open minded and to learn and grow.

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