Do you still remember an eye-opening story of Yessi about misconceptions proven wrong? By travelling, she got to prove that Malaysia is in fact a multi-cultural country that doesn’t judge the women by the way she dresses, well at least not as much as what we experience in our home country in a daily basis.
This time, my friend, Hubert from Austria, is sharing his story about the same topic. The story is about a misconception that Austrian has towards ex-Yugoslavians, especially their direct neighbor, Slovenia. It is very interesting story and full of historical value. I even spent some times researching to feed my curiosity after getting his story.
- Misconception about ex-Yugoslavians
My wife and I live in south of Austria in the province called Carinthia. According to the history, after World War I (1914-1918), some parts of my province were occupied by Yugoslavian military. Our great grandfathers fought for freedom of my province for a long time till there was a referendum. The referendum was intended for the people to vote whether the southern part of Carinthia should join Yugoslavia or stay with Austria. The result was more than 50% voted to stay with Austria, so in the end my province was not split. That is the brief history.
This history between Austria and Yugoslavia has an impact about the image of the ex-Yugoslavian countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Slovenia), especially for the people from my province, we always had a negativism about people from Slovenia, our direct neighbor. Yes, Slovenia is the northern part of ex-Yugoslavia, to whom parts of my province should’ve come after voting. Since I was young I was scared to visit our neighbor. We, Austrian, were told that we are not welcome in Slovenia. If we came there, Slovenian would look cynically when they recognize from where we are, we were told that Slovenian would talk badly and rudely to us. It was also said that it would be easy for Austrian to be charged in jail even for the smallest thing, like a light car accident for example. So we were afraid to go there, especially because it was just under communist government too.
That thought remained in my head until finally my parents decided to break the “tale” and we visited this country during their communism government (Yugoslavia split-up into national countries in 1992 and each of them have democratic parliament). When we were there we didn’t see anything negative against us and all the people we met there were nice, friendly and very helpful to us. Since our first trip in this country our thought about Slovenia was completely changed. We hold no more negative thought about our neighbor after several visits. Recently, my wife and I have been visiting Slovenia and we are quite surprised that many people from Slovenia speak English very well, the thing that we miss in our province of Carinthia.
Very interesting story, right?! I was very excited to hear this story from him. Personally I confirm what Hubert has mentioned about friendly character of Slovenians. Hell yeah, I have a very good Slovenian friends and families who are indeed super nice, warm and friendly, so I was surprised that there is such misconception about them. And yes, most of the Slovenian’s young generation does speak English. This story really makes me miss Slovenia, especially my Slovenian twin sister!!!
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