How Belgrade became my home away from home

Sometimes the best experiences are waiting for you just across the border!
Read the story of Samuel’s experience in Serbia, who discovered a whole new side of our neighbours.
And not only he liked the country… Zsófi also fell in love with Belgrade. Read her story too!

Last summer I set out for one of the craziest adventures of my life.

belgrade

Living in Hungary the perception of Serbia is not exactly the best, but last summer when I decided to go on an internship abroad through AIESEC, I chose Serbia and I was super excited about my choice. But then the fear kicked in. I had my head in the clouds preparing for the most adventurous experience ever, but then it got knocked down by the reality that this was such a great risk. I had never met a Serbian or even someone who had ever been to Serbia, so all I had were YouTube videos and mere assumptions. Everyone told me not to go to Serbia, people told me I would face a lot of racism, some said it was a scary country “where everyone owns a gun and I would get shot”. As the date of departure to Serbia drew closer I grew more afraid of the unknown, but I decided to take my chances with Serbia: best decision of my life.

On getting to Belgrade I discovered it was quite different from most European cities I had ever visited. To be honest I wasn’t impressed first. I was hoping for it to be just like Budapest but it was very different! The first week was really tough, getting used to the much worse public transportation and the city as a whole was tough. The standard of living wasn’t the same. But I was determined to get the best out of this experience.

As the weeks went by I finally found the true beauty of Serbia.
Serbia is a wonderful country with a lot of awesome sites and attractions, so much history of strength and resilience, but that’s not the beauty of Serbia. The beauty of Serbia is its people.

Four years of living and visiting cities around Europe but I never met people so warm, so accepting and loving.
I found that this city and the wh
ole country was extremely beautiful, because the people carried a beauty that was unique and special. For the first time since I left Nigeria I felt like I found a home away from home. My family was 6000 miles away, but here I understood that home is where the heart is, and Belgrade had stolen my heart.

If I got the opportunity to live this experience again I would do it a thousand times and won’t trade it for anything in the world. No, I never experienced any racism, no, I didn’t get shot, all these were mere assumptions from people who have never lived the experience.

So don’t be afraid!
Take your chance today, thank me later.

Samuel Ojo

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