From 16 to 19 June 2022, the students of the Prosvjeta’s Serbian Language School from Vienna visited Banja Luka. The students are delighted with the hospitality of the people of Banja Luka, and grateful to the Prosvjeta school’s teachers for making this unforgettable experience possible.

After the two-year interruption due to the pandemic, an excursion to Banja Luka was finally planned and held. This fun and educational excursion aimed to enable contact between the Prosvjeta school students and the motherland, to offer the possibility of learning the Serbian language in the natural environment, and to bring students closer to the culture of the Serbian people. This time, the excursion was organized for the students of the final years of the school from Vienna, Linz and St. Pölten, i.e. aged from fifteen up to twenty years.

Teachers Vesna Špirić and Aleksandra Tanasković took care of the overall organization and holding of the excursion. Both teachers have been teaching the Viennese classes for six years, and can boast of many successful projects. The host in Banja Luka, the president of Prosvjeta Banja Luka, Mr Želјko Vujadinović, with several other board members, welcomed the students and prepared a nice reception for them, as well as appropriate gifts – books about Serbian educators.

The students visited the National Library of the Republic of Srpska, where the director of the library prepared a complete educational program. The students had the opportunity to learn more about the life and work of Petar Kočić, the library itself, and other Serbian writers. This was followed by a tour of the city, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Banski dvor, Castel Fortress and other landmarks. However, the students liked the most the adventurous part of the program, riding a dayak, hiking to Banj hill and visiting the beautiful Krupa on the Vrbas, where they could visit the Krupa waterfalls and a 13th century monastery dedicated to St. Elijah.

‘Vesna and Aleksandra treat us as if we were all members of one community, not as our teachers. We all tried to make it easier for them to take care of us, while they always accommodated us. I am eternally grateful to them for that. This was a truly wonderful get-together. We have learned a lot, and we are taking many beautiful memories from Banja Luka. I can hardly wait for the next excursion, I just hope it will be longer’, said Marko Andrejić, one of the students of this school.

Serbian Language School is a project of the Serbian Educational and Cultural Society Prosvjeta from Vienna, which has been striving for ten years to bring students of Serbian origin living in Vienna closer to Serbian culture and teach them the Serbian language. Prosvjeta’s team, headed by project leader Srđan Mijalković, has been endeavoring for years to ensure that Serbian children, although born in Austria, preserve their heritage and do not forget their origins. The school is open to all interested students aged 7 to 15 who want to learn Serbian and Cyrillic.

Source and photo: Serbian Educational and Cultural Society PROSVJETA AUSTRIA