Malaysian Exchange Student Falls in Love with Slavonia

Total Croatia News

She first dreamed of going to the Adriatic coast.

When as a member of the AIESEC youth association, she was asked where she would like to spend a month as an exchange student in Croatia, 19-year-old Malaysian Komalah Selva from Kuala Lumpur said she would want to live somewhere on the Adriatic coast, reports Glas Slavonije on September 1, 2018.

Her wish was not fulfilled. Instead, Selva and 18 other students from around the world came to Osijek. After more than a month spent in the heart of Slavonia, the Malaysian fell in love with it. She is now returning to her hometown, one of the world’s largest metropolis, and she explains how Osijek won her over.

“Osijek is a quiet and safe city, but it is not entirely adapted to youth people. On the other hand, people are very kind to strangers, but the gastronomic offer is quite limited,” said Selva, who was accommodated during her stay in a monastery. “In Kuala Lumpur, it is unthinkable to walk alone at night, especially if you are a woman since things can happen. In Osijek, I would feel safe even at midnight.”

Selva thinks that Osijek lacks creative activities in which young people could participate, so the main form of entertainment is sitting in cafes. She believes that people in Osijek also spend too much money on coffee and cigarettes.

“I tried to get as many friends as possible. I cooked Malaysian and Indian specialties to them, I wrote articles about the project in which I participated, I planned how we would spend weekends,” said Selva, who during her stay in Osijek worked on the project “Discover Slavonia & Baranja” with nine other students. The aim was to present the natural and cultural riches of eastern Croatia to the world.

The project helped Selva develop feelings towards Osijek and its surroundings. “One day, I wanted to visit Jankovac, but because of roadworks, it was impossible to do it without my own car. A friend introduced me to his friend from Požega who works in Osijek. I was really touched because he let me sleep with his family, who treated me as one of them. The next day, they drove me to Jankovac,” Selva explained.

She also remembers a three-day visit to Orahovica. “We went to a lake in the woods and Ružica Grad. I went to the fortress and saw the blue waters of the lake. I was amazed by the beauty. The family there treated me like their own daughter. It is amazing how people can connect even though they do not speak the same language,” she added.

Selva will remember her stay in Osijek by events which she has experienced for the first time. “I had a lot of ‘first time’ experiences in Osijek, including seeing falling stars. In Malaysia, it is impossible to see them because of the moisture in the air and clouds. I went to a lake to watch the meteor shower. It was an incredible experience,” Selva revealed.

Translated from Glas Slavonije (reported by Jasenka Pejaković).


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