Serbia can be intimidating and downright shocking to foreigners, particularly those who are used to a well-regulated, running-like-a-Swiss-clock kind of country. Figuratively speaking, Serbia can be likened to your loud, unbalanced, in-your-face aunt, who despite being kind and nice, is always in your business and is quite overbearing.
Also, the general information about the life in Serbia and the Serbs is so diverse and different to the extent that you don’t know what to think of the country. So, if you are planning on living in Serbia and you would really love to have an unbiased view of the country, the best thing to do would be to get the information first-hand, namely from the foreigners who have been living in this country for a while.
To help you with that, we have selected for you the three foreign nationals who are regularly blogging and making YouTube videos about Serbia that are highly informative, funny, objective and definitely useful.
1. Erik Mut – Erik came to Serbia by chance in 2006 while travelling through Europe, searching for its Celtic, German and Slavic roots. It took him only four days to realize that Belgrade was just made for him. “Belgrade is the place where my soul feels alive, and Canada is a system where I grew up. I love Belgrade’s energy, the people, the fruits and vegetables that are the tastiest in the world… And if you have some money, life can be pretty cheap here. What I love the most is that people in Serbia are not afraid to express their emotions, whether good or bad”, Erik says.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, this IT professional has a direct and honest view of Serbia and its capital Belgrade which he expresses on his YouTube channel, Facebook page and website all called Belgrade Beat.
When asked to draw a parallel between Toronto, and generally the West, and Serbia, Erik said: “I lived in the West – in Toronto and London – where thoughts and words are censored because of political correctness so not to offend anyone. In contrast, people here will always say what lies in their heart, and sometimes direct insults are a part of friendship. I have always been like that. I have found people just like me among Serbs living in Toronto and in Belgrade. They are more sincere than the people living in the West, and free to be what they are”.
Erik calls Belgrade his home and loves living here where he runs his remote IT Business and his folk punk band ERIK & THE WORLDLY SAVAGES.
2. Charles Cather – We have interviewed Charles last year, and to this day, he remains one of our favourite Americans in Serbia. Charles, who has been a serious globetrotter before he came to live in Serbia, has won the hearts of Serbs very quickly with his humorous YouTube videos , Facebook posts and blog about life in Serbia and what it feels like being an American in a country that, let’s put it mildly, has a rather unfavourable view of the United States.
With his straightforward, no-nonsense attitude, a lot of humour and an accurate analysis of Serbia, Charles has quickly won the hearts of many people in Serbia. His YouTube videos have had over 5.3 million views, more than 20,000 people follow him on Facebook, and in Novi Sad, he even has the status of a local celebrity.
Before he landed in Serbia, Charles had travelled through Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Belize and lived in the middle of Mexico. So, what drew him to our little Balkan country?
He replies in his typical, facetious manner: “I felt totally betrayed after meeting so many Serbs on my first trip here. They wouldn’t allow me to pay for a drink, wouldn’t allow me to even think about staying in a hotel and some almost fought over which home I would stay in. They fed me these massive meals that were fit for kings and proudly showed me off to their friends and family. It was the first time in my life that I was actually blown away at how wonderfully I was treated. The international media did a terrible disservice to the fine citizens of Serbia when they fed us all of these horrible things about them. There isn’t a finer, more hospitable bunch of folks on the globe than the Serbian people.”
Don’t worry! Charles doesn’t look at Serbia through rose-tinted glasses. He is critical when he needs to be, but in a constructive and helpful manner.
3. Nataša / Bellegrade – Born in Serbia but raised in Vienna, Nataša runs a an alternative blog about Belgrade under the name Bellegrade.com. Her blog is “a city guide for hidden gems, creative people and underground happenings, where one can experience the city’s lifestyle from a local’s point of view – art, culture, food, nightlife and squats”.
Apart from originating from Serbia, what are Nataša’s other reasons for writing a blog about Belgrade. Well, the inspiration came from her South African friend who called Belgrade an “ugly swag”.
Nataša muses: “Of course she (the South African friend) meant it in a positive way. And I totally agree with it. This belle grade (city) is perfect in its imperfection: buildings are f***** up, streets are not so tidy as where I come from, but it has a soul. In between of this „ugliness“, there is a lot of hidden beauty. So, why Belgrade? While Western European cities almost seem perfect, and we all know that perfection is boring, Belgrade’s growing process takes place right now. And I want be part of it!”
Nataša reports in detail on the latest happenings and events in Belgrade, as well as about the city’s best hotels, coffee places, bars, museums, cinemas, natural attractions, underground nightlife, record shops, cake shops, flea markets…
Photo credits: Vesti-online (Charles Cather), Bellegrade.com