Jenifer Maria Castillo Canela, a 19-year-old student of the Secondary School for Hospitality and Tourism in Ljubljana, came to Slovenia more than 6 years ago. The girl lives in the capital together with her mother and younger sister.
Jennifer tells about studying in Slovenia, her interests, the nature and habits of the Slovenes.
“Language, food, environment. All this was too burdensome for me. I was a child. My grandmother, a very dear person to me, stayed in my native country. I left school and my common life to go to a new unknown world, without a clue where I would be, how I would live, how they would accept me. I came here in winter, so the shock of moving was even greater.” The girl has almost no bright memories about moving to Ljubljana.
Moreover, she only knew Spanish, which was an additional problem.
“On the first day, everyone asked me who I was and where I came from. However, I could not communicate normally. I could explain something only by gestures,” Jennifer recalls her first day in the Slovenian school.
Today the girl, besides English and Slovenian, learns German and Macedonian. She learned to speak Slovenian by communicating with classmates, using a dictionary and online translator. The greatest difficulty in learning the language was the post-alveolar consonants and separation of letters v and b.
According to her, the Slovenes are more reserved and more active people than the inhabitants of the Dominican Republic. Jennifer notes that the upbringing of children is also significantly different from that practiced at home, since the Slovenes behave restrained with their children.
In Slovenia, the girl was mainly surprised by the nature. In the Dominican Republic, there are no such mountains and forests. Her stepfather, a Slovene, showed Slovenia to Jenifer and her sister. She learned more about Slovenia while traveling with her classmates.
Jennifer believes that the Slovenes should be more proud of their language.
“I was unpleasantly surprised that Slovenes try to communicate with guests from Croatia in Croatian. However, there is no need to do this. Appreciate your native language and speak Slovenian. Let the interlocutor try to speak your language, especially if he or she already lives here,” says the girl in an interview to siol.net.