Bismarck High School freshman Tatjana Svjetlanovic and her family moved here in late July last year from Bosnia because of her stepdad’s job.
While there are many differences in Bosnia and the U.S., some things are very similar. For example, technology and shopping are the same even if it is a second world country.
“We have malls and everything just like you do here,” Svjetlanovic said.
Something that is very different about the two countries is their choice in food. According to Svjetlanovic, the meat in the U.S. is sweeter than in Bosnia. She says that the meat is saltier and the rest of the food is more natural.
“The only thing the same about the food here and there is that we both have Nutella,” Svjetlanovic said.
Compared to Bismarck, the housing in Bosnia is much different. Many of the buildings are taller in Bosnian cities and the houses are not in towns. They are in a village.
When asked what was the same about the housing, Svjetlanovic said, “They both have a roof and walls. There isn’t much the same.”
School in Svjetlanovic’s eyes is much harder in Bosnia than here. She had to start taking physical science, biology, chemistry and algebra 1 in middle school along with five years of German and English. They do not get to choose any electives and their whole school day is only 7:30 a.m. to noon.
“The teachers over there are way more strict, like, they don’t joke around or anything,” Svjetlanovic said.
The weather in Bosnia is fairly close to our weather. They have their seasons in three-month periods just like Bismarck does. The only difference is the temperature. It usually does not get colder than 10 below Celsius, which is 14 degrees in Fahrenheit, and it doesn’t usually get hotter than 40 degrees Celsius, which is 104 degrees in Fahrenheit.
“It’s a lot warmer in Bosnia than it is here,” Svjetlanovic’s stepsister, Maja Bjelanovic said.
The landscape in Bosnia is more mountainous and hilly. Svjetlanovic commented that it looks a little like Bismarck, but not much.
“There’s more mountains and rivers in Bosnia,” Svjetlanovic said.
Transportation is not the same in Bosnia as it is here. Most teens take the bus because they are not allowed to drive alone until they are 18. They still have cars, but teens do not use them very much until they are a legal adult.
“Teens have to use the bus all the time to get from place to place,” Svjetlanovic said.
The main languages in Bosnia are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. Svjetlanovic and her family speak fluent Serbian.
“Everyone speaks Serbian and Bosnian. It’s very similar. If you speak one of them, you can easily speak Russian, Slovenian, Croatian and Macedonian,” Svjetlanovic said.
Svjetlanovic’s favorite thing about Bosnia is the food by far. She’s more familiar with it, and to her, it tastes much better than the food here. Her least favorite thing about Bosnia is that she would not be able to drive by herself until she was 18. Her favorite thing about Bismarck is that the people are quick to apologize. Her least favorite thing about Bismarck is how long the school days are.
“I hate the length of school here. I mean it takes so long. It takes the whole day,” Svjetlanovic said.
Despite the many differences, Svjetlanovic loves it here.
When asked if she would ever want to move back to Bosnia, she very quickly answered, “No. I wouldn’t.”