Dear UGRAD Post,

Dusan Petrovic 5Upon coming to the United States I joined the world’s largest scientific society: the American Chemical Society (ACS). A couple of months later I submitted an abstract and was invited to the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, LA. At the biggest chemistry conference in the world (around 20,000 people participated), I had an oral presentation on Characterization and Classification of Serbian Honey. I took some UGRAD Post photos, met many interesting people, and learned a lot. A great memory from the conference is a photo I took with a friendly Mole – the ACS mascot. In my free time, I went to visit to the famous ‘Café du monde‘ and tried their café au lait et beignets. The first day of the French Quarter Jazz Festival was a great experience, but I had to leave to get back to school. I miss New Orleans!

Dusan Petrovic, Serbia, North Dakota State University



Dear UGRAD Post,

The South Asian Student Association at American University organized a celebration of “Holi” – the Indian Spring Festival of Color. It used to be religious festival of Hindus, but in last few years it has become popular with other communities and regions. It is primarily performed in India and Nepal. But even more, custom of “Holi” is performed by the minority Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well in countries with large Indian diaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mauritius, and Fiji. Holi 1

Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. It most famously celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hinduism. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.

American University was all about spring colors that day- April 7th. It was a beautiful sunny day- and students had fun celebrating spring, throwing bunch of colors at each other, dancing with traditional Indian music and mainstream American music. And of course, eating amazing food from South East Asia. You definitely can see- this spring started really well and colorful!

Danka Markovic, Montenegro, American University


Dear UGRAD Post,

Cay Freedom TrailI spent a few days of my spring break in Boston, which is the capital of the U.S. State of Massachusetts. Boston is so far one of my favorite cities that I had visited in the United State, compact and well organized.

My second day in Boston was taking a “Do it yourself” tour at the Freedom Trail. Boston is known for its historical context. The Freedom Trail also known as the famous red line path through downtown Boston, leads to 16 significant historical sites. It starts from Boston Common to USS constitution in Charlestown. One thing I like the most about Boston that it is so compact, and you can basically walk to everywhere in the town. Boston also has a nickname, which is the walking city. A combination of a safe neighborhood and an effective public transportation system has helped deem Boston the friendliest walker city. I do appreciate, safety and infrastructure provided in the United States.

My internship colleague hosted me in Boston for my spring break.  As soon as I heard that bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, I called her to see if she was alright.  I received calls from family and friends from US and Malaysia to make sure everything was fine. Boston is ten hours away from DC, so while I am glad I am safe what about the victims in Boston? 260 people were injured and 3 were killed. I could not even picture the scene. The bombing incident is just like in the movies, silence in the aftermath of the explosion.  We mourn their loss.

I would like to quote my bus driver on the journey from New York to DC that Monday.  He said, “When you fall, try to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can stand up.” The nation is behind the residents of Boston. We stand together  to move on and put this tragedy behind us.

Kar Yan Lai, Malaysia, American University


Dear UGRAD Post,

Balboa Park ZOO is in my opinion the most beautiful place in San Diego besides Coronado Beach. It is so huge and I do not lie when I say that you can spend your whole day thejovanre.  I really enjoyed in watching different animals and the monkeys really made me laugh. Also, I visited two modern art exhibitions. Balboa Park is wonderful mixture of old buildings and magnificent views, so if you go to San Diego, do not forget to visit it.

Visiting Madame Tussauds Museum was really amazing experience. The museum was in Los Angeles and had three levels of different famous people and scenes from famous Hollywood movies such as “The Godfather” or “The Avengers” as wax figurines . Wax figures look real, so you have impression that you are walking through a movie for the whole time you are in the museum. I cannot describe the feeling when you are sitting with Marlon Brando when he is “making him an offer he can’t refuse”, or when you standing with Denzel Washington like the real “American Gangster”. It was really something unforgettable!

Jovan Komlushki, Serbia, North Dakota State University


Dear UGRAD Post,

Vuthika Hang OperaIt was my first time seeing an opera and interestingly enough, it was the first time my U.S. friends saw it as well! I have heard about operas however, I know only the names of operas, not anything about them. It was interesting to know that most famous operas were in Italian or French. We could not understand what they were singing, since it was in a different language however, thanks to the subtitles, we could understand what they meant. The Metropolitan Opera is a famous opera house with a beautiful designs and it was packed with many people. I was not allowed to take photos during the performance but I was able to take one or two during the break. I asked my American friend about what type of people like to see opera and he told me that usually wealthier people spend their time seeing operas. However, I am not sure about this answer. Perhaps it is true because it is pretty expensive to see operas. Even though I could not understand everything, I really enjoyed going.

Vuthika Hang, Cambodia, University of Montana – Missoula


Dear UGRAD Post,

civil rights museumI visited Saint Louis, a city that has a great story behind it due to the arch that was built to symbolize the expansion of the United States to the westward. Secondly, I went to Branson, such a pretty nice city, 45 minutes away of Springfield, Missouri known for its lakes, lots of shopping outlets, as well as Restaurants such as Lambert’s Café.  Lambert’s Cafe is famous for throwing rolls to diners and also famous for the food they serve. My other trip was to Memphis which I consider a city of history because the Civil Rights Movement was relevant in that city. I visited the place where  Martin Lither King, Jr. was assassinated. Overall, my trips added more to what I knew about U.S history and helped me to understand it much better.

Jefferly Laine, Haiti, Missouri State University

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