Russia, East Europe & Central Asia FLAS fellow Cyrus Rodgers, a PhD student in Slavic Languages & Literature, writes from Ljubljana, Slovenia:
“This year I received a Summer FLAS to study Slovene in Ljubljana, Slovenia at the Center for Slovene Studies. The experience has been incredible thus far. I have been favorably impressed by the quality of instruction at the Center for Slovene Studies and by Slovenia in general. I am studying and living in Ljubljana, but I have also had the opportunity to travel and see quite a few other amazing places around Slovenia. I spent a day trekking the Slovenian coastline; from Izola through Piran, to the famous salt flats at Sečovlje near the Croatian border.
I attended a concert of traditional choral music behind the walls of a 12th century church, where Slovenian Istria meets the Karst in Hrastovlje.
I have been fortunate to see a small part of what this country has to offer in terms of natural beauty and its vistas have amazed me, but my most exciting experiences in Slovenia have been opportunities to meet leading cultural figures. Dr. Michael Biggins, Head Slavic Librarian at The University of Washington and my professor of Slovene Language, put me in contact with Slovene author Drago Jančar and documentary filmmaker Andrej Doblehar. Drago Jančar is a widely respected contemporary European novelist, playwright, and essayist. His work is one of the focuses of my research; he is also one of my favorite authors. I had a chance to meet and sit down with Mr. Jančar for an hour to discuss his writing.
Dr. Andrej Doblehar produces a documentary series for RTV Slovenia called Kulturni Vrhovi (Cultural Hights http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/kulturni%20vrhovi). Each episode of Kulturni Vrhovi focuses on a different church from one of the country’s regions that represents an important center of pilgrimage for Slovenians. Dr. Doblehar is also the on-screen personality that guides the viewer to each pilgrimage site and informs them about the site’s history and cultural significance. Over the past month and a half, Dr. Doblehar has been my own personal guide, taking me on trips to see churches around Slovenia, which contain sacral art relevant to my research.
My Summer FLAS study abroad in Slovenia has been remarkable for so many reasons, and I still have three weeks of lessons and time outside of class to see more of the natural wonders and experience the rich culture that Slovenia has to offer.”
FLAS Fellowships are funded by the International and Foreign Language Education office of the U.S. Department of Education. FLAS fellowships support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in acquiring modern foreign languages and area or international studies competencies. Students from all UW departments and professional schools are encouraged to apply. Find out more about the FLAS Fellowship here.