Hello! My name is Aleksandar Perišić. I am an art student in the 3rd year of bachelor studies and a participant of the Erasmus+ programme. My home institution is the Faculty of Visual Arts in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and I chose the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava.
Perhaps the biggest testament to how good and important this huge experience was for me, is the ever-increasing sorrow I feel as the end draws nearer and nearer. It has truly been one of the best periods of my life, discovering a new wealth of people and knowledge.
As someone who comes from another Slavic country, I was able to make a really interesting comparison. There are amazing differences and similarities between Montenegro and Slovakia. During my Erasmus I never had the acute feeling of being out of my own country. Slovakia’s cities, its culture, people and their language just reminded me so much of Montenegro that I never felt like I am a long way from home. I would listen to the sounds of people talking and laughing coming through my window and I was immediately transported to the window of my flat back home. The difference between our societies is that in Slovakia everything works on a bigger scale and everything is faster. It is more accustomed to modern western life. And that new lifestyle impacts its people in an interesting way. In many respects I find them more open to new things, ideas and people. But the stress of modern life is quite visible. Everyone is just engulfed in their own problems. And that makes it harder to break the ice. However, I had the fortune of really getting to know a few Slovaks and I can say in all honesty that I have made amazing new life-long friends; and I can easily see myself being a member of that beautiful and positive society.
I can also say that I am enchanted by the beautiful city of Bratislava. It has an unbelievable configuration of energetic and quiet places. I was able to quench my thirst for being in a vital, enthusiastic environment full of people and when I wanted solitude I always stumbled upon these small peaceful corners of the city that seemed to be separated from the noise and the rush as if under some kind of spell.
Another fountain of joy for me were my Erasmus+ companions. That incredible mixture of people and cultures that was created on Konventna Street still seems unreal to me as does the time that I have spent with them. Our trips, our camaraderie and our care for each other greatly surpasses this small five month window we were given.
One more eye opening aspect of this astonishing journey was the school as well. Through my collaboration with AFAD’s professors and students I was able to discover new techniques and ways of thinking. My creative process was made a lot easier and a lot more fertile. Thanks to this experience I managed to sort out my priorities and gain the confidence crucial for working in the field of visual art. To be a part of such a big institution that is made out of so many great artists and people; and that has such a positive impact on the society around it, was a sacred honour for me.
And now as this essay comes to an end and after my words of praise are spent, the same sweet sorrow overtakes me. This has been a beautiful chapter of my life. Thank you for helping me write it.