Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 09.04.2019.| 09:25
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Serbs gladly study medical German, Hungarian, but also Romanian, in order to work abroad – Foreign language schools a good business in smaller places too

Illustration (Photo: Tyler Olson/
Serbian citizens seem to be very interested in learning foreign languages. Unfortunately, it's not the enthusiasm, but poverty, that is the most probable reason for this. More precisely, they are trying to find jobs abroad. They mostly look for a better life in one of the EU states, and in order to get there, the first obstacle they need to pass is the language.

For this reason, foreign language courses are very popular in Serbia. At the moment, this is one of the most profitable businesses locally.

Anka Mrksic, a partner at the recently founded language studio Deutsch punkt MIA in Donji Milanovac, confirms this for eKapija, saying that the interest in language courses is enormous.

– We have not even started working officially, and we are already getting numerous inquiries daily, not just from Donji Milanovac, but also from Majdanpek, Bor... We are already have around 50 attendees – our interviewee says and notes that their language studio will start working on May 1.

According to her, people are the most interested in medical German, with the reason being, of course, the low salaries in healthcare in Serbia, whereas, on the other hand, Germany has a great need for medical workers and pays much higher salaries.

– Deutsch punkt MIA therefore offers a German course specialized for medical workers – medical and pediatric nurses, midwives, caregivers, pharmaceutical workers, held by a teacher of German with a TELC license, who has gone through several months of training in medical German – says Anka Mrksic.

She adds that, with a good lecturer, the language can be mastered without any previous knowledge in the six months that the starting course (A1 level) takes, at least at the level which allows the student to comprehend the language and use the expressions necessary for a conversation and meeting concrete needs.

In addition to medical German, Deutsch punkt MIA also offers standard courses for children and adults, as well as conversation courses, which aim to develop listening, reading, writing and proper pronunciation skills.

They also offer courses in English, Russian, and even Serbian, as part of the preparation for high school and faculty entrance exams. Our interviewee highlights as a special curiosity the fact that numerous people are interested in learning Romanian.

– Many have asked us whether we will offer Romanian courses. They find this language interesting due to the proximity of the country and the fact that it is an EU state. We have therefore decided to include this course in our program – Anka Mrksic says.

When asked why they picked the Bor area to open a foreign language studio in, Mrksic says that their acquaintances informed them that people were very interested in studying foreign languages there and that there were neither schools nor lecturers that might meet this need, forcing people to learn languages online.

– Teachers would occasionally come to Donji Milanovac from Belgrade and other larger cities and there was plenty of interest in those classes. We recognized this as a business opportunity – Anka says.

This is not at all surprising considering that the brain drain in the Bor area is truly alarming. In Donji Milanovac, former industrial giants went down several years ago, and the populace dropped down to fewer than one thousand citizens. The Bor area, once well known for its metalworking industry, is stagnating, waiting for foreign companies to start exploiting gold and copper ores and revive the area, as well as the entire Timocka Krajina, economically.

All things considered, however, people can no longer wait for better times to come, because, as they say, it's now easier to find gold there than living people.

Vojvodina getting better at speaking Hungarian

More and more people in Vojvodina are becoming true experts in Hungarian. In the past decade, they have been working hard to master the language's complicated grammar in order to get a Hungarian passport. A resident of Vrsac, S. M, is one of them. Thanks to his origin, he has the right to the EU state's citizenship, which is why he is studying Hungarian intensively.

– It took me a lot of time to find all the documents which prove that my grandmother and her parents, who are of Hungarian origin, were born in the territory of Austria-Hungary, which is a requirement for applying for Hungarian citizenship. As soon as I finished this, I applied for a two-month course of the Hungarian language, which I'm learning from scratch – this thirty-two year old resident of Vrsac, who hopes to learn Hungarian well enough to successfully complete the interview at the Hungarian embassy and obtain the citizenship, says for eKapija.

– I've heard that the requirements concerning the knowledge of the language are stricter now and that they tend to increasingly pick certain professions, such as medical doctors, but I hope to succeed – says S. M, who wants to seek a better life with his family in Switzerland or Germany, where he has cousins.

Branislava Petrovic
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