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Sofia Chernikova Talks about Studying in Montenegro
From July 9–30, 2023, Sofia Chernikova, a student of Serbian Philology at STOU’s Faculty of History and Philology, attended a Serbian Language School in Montenegro for practice in language and country studies. Here is Ms. Chernikova’s report of her trip:

“The summer school was held in Budva and Niksić, a place where the purest and most correct Serbian is spoken. It was this dialect that Vuk Karadzić took as the basis of literary Serbian in the 19th century. The school was attended by 40 people from different parts of the world: Russia, Poland, Australia, USA, Canada, France, Italy and Holland.

“Lectures on Serbian grammar, classes on the development of conversational skills and writing were organized for the students with some of the best teachers of the Faculty of Philology of the University of Montenegro and the University of Belgrade.

“An integral part of learning Serbian was learning about the local culture. Together, we watched movies by the most famous directors Živko Nikolić and Emir Kusturica, which are iconic for all Serbs. In folklore classes several times a week, we dressed in Serbian and Montenegrin national costumes, held hands, and danced or – as the Serbs say, ‘played’ – the Kolo.

“In our free time, we went on excursions to the most important historical sites of Montenegro and enjoyed the natural beauty of the country. We were able to visit Durmitor National Park, the main attraction of which is the Black Lake and the Bobotov-Kuk mountain, rising to an altitude of 2520 meters above sea level; as well as to see Skadarsko and Kapetanovo lakes and even swim in them.

“I was particularly impressed by the monasteries and churches of the Serbian Orthodox Church: Ostrog, the St Luke Monastery in Župa, Kosierevo Monastery, Beška. The ancient paintings on the walls with the touching and at the same time calm faces of Serbian and Russian saints, who look joyfully at all who enter the House of God, leave an indelible mark on the soul.

“In addition, I recall the trip to the Cetinje Monastery, which has been the see of the Metropolitan of Montenegro and Primorije since the 15th century. It is here that the greatest relics not only of the Serbian, but also of the Orthodox world as a whole are kept: those of St. Peter of Cetinje, the right hand of St. John the Baptist, a piece of the Holy Cross and the epitrachelion of St. Sava of Serbia. It was in this grace-filled place that Metropolitan Ioannikije received us and gave his blessing.

“The Serbian Language School is an amazing venue that brings together people with a passion for the Serbian language and culture from all over the world. During the three weeks of study, we really became a big friendly family. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Ekaterina Dobrushina and Elena Osipova, who told us about this school and helped us realize our dream!”