May 28, 2024


Education is everything you need

Memories of Emery: Former exchange student from Slovenia reflects on time in United States – Mitchell Republic


EMERY — As an 18-year-previous in the former Yugoslavia in 1972, Stanko Kranjc was hoping to increase his horizons, and maybe enhance his English abilities, as a foreign trade college student from


What much better place to do that than in the United States? And what superior location to do that in the United States than Emery, South Dakota?

It may possibly not have been the 1st vacation spot on the thoughts of a youthful guy keen to stop by The usa, but for Kranjc, it turned out to be the best position to study extra about far-away people today, their economic system and their social existence. And very last week, Kranjc returned to the United States for the initially time in a fifty percent-century when he attended his 50th significant faculty reunion in Emery.

“It’s difficult to describe,” Kranjc advised the Mitchell Republic in an job interview. “The thoughts are solid. It’s remarkable. It doesn’t transpire so numerous moments in daily life that anything instantly results in being believable.”

Kranjc and a couple of customers of his household arrived in the United States past week, just as he did in 1972 as a member of the

Youth For Comprehending Application,

a program intended to give global college students a likelihood to obtain intercultural knowing, understand mutual regard, and develop a perception of social accountability. The working experience abroad provides them management competencies essential to fulfill the issues and gain from the alternatives of a rapid-altering world-wide local community, in accordance to the system site.

Hailing from Slovenia, a member republic of the previous region of Yugoslavia, Kranjc explained he was intrigued by an option to pay a visit to the United States, a nation that was well-identified but generally misunderstood abroad due to the quite a few sources of information and facts on the nation.

“The American authorities wished to present — specifically with countries with a different financial and social process — the American way of living and see how it is here mainly because in individuals several nations there was different data on what was going on in America,” Kranjc explained. “This was just the time when the Iron Curtain in between East and West was the thickest.”

At the time, Yugoslavia operated less than a socialist govt, but reforms little by little picked up speed in 1987, and in 1990 the population voted to kind an impartial Slovenia. In 1991, Slovenia became an independent region. Yugoslavian military services forces tried using to maintain management of the place throughout the 10 Day War, in which the Slovenian Territorial Defense and the Yugoslav People’s Army fought in opposition to each and every other. It lasted from June to July of 1991, when the Brioni Accords ended up signed.

But in 1972, Slovenia was even now portion of Yugoslavia, and seen as a communist state by the West, nevertheless the place appreciated fairly fantastic relations with the United States because of to its opposition to Stalinist beliefs and the point it was not regarded as a Soviet-bloc country.

The Youth For Comprehension method was a passageway to a new knowledge, and Kranjc soon observed himself making use of to come to the United States, a privilege afforded only to 42 learners in the nation. He had to pass an English examination, but he was before long authorized and on his way to the United States for a yearlong sojourn into a foreign land.

There was only a person issue: he was not sure in which in the United States he would finish up. On his arrival in The united states, his fellow students fanned out across the region, but he lingered at the rear of while organizers experimented with to position him with a loved ones. It was difficult, as not each individual relatives was enamored with the plan of web hosting a scholar from a local community state.

The good news is, he found a welcoming spouse and children in Emery.

“What I seriously required to do was become a journalist, but at college at that time it was very hard. But this America invitation arrived alongside, so for one particular calendar year I will go to the United States. Possibly I’m shedding a 12 months (of job operate), but I had presently graduated. So I went,” Kranjc stated. “I came below and I was really blessed to be with a seriously great, cost-free-pondering relatives.”

That was the Invoice and Barbara Hanlon relatives. They agreed to consider Kranjc in at the past moment, some thing he discovered on the generate to their residence from Sioux Falls.

“I have a extremely big respect for the Hanlon family members. The principal of Emery Superior University fulfilled me at the Sioux Falls airport, and he explained to me that just a couple of hrs ahead of they experienced discovered a loved ones for me. And I was presently listed here!” Kranjc reported. “I will never forget about this for what they did at that minute. They made the decision to acknowledge someone they did not know at all. I felt, with this relatives, extremely a great deal at household.”

On his arrival, Kranjc established about immersing himself in the lifestyle and situations of Emery in the early 1970s. Randy Ahrendt, a classmate of Kranjc and an organizer of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1972, mentioned it wasn’t extensive right before Kranjc was on the sidelines of the area football area mastering the recreation and all set to contribute to the workforce.

“I keep in mind when he initial arrived to Emery it was suitable prior to faculty commenced and football exercise was just starting off. And even even though he did not know what it was all about, he desired to be on the staff. He desired to be a section of the college community,” Ahrendt explained. “And he was section of the staff suitable absent. He did engage in soccer and could kick the ball, so he would be our added-level kicker. It didn’t just take prolonged for him to sense cozy and fit in with the men.”

Kranjc, a welcoming, outgoing male now approaching 70 a long time aged, discovered a welcoming bunch in his new local community.

“I discovered some friends in Emery, some quite fantastic guys, even improved than in Slovenia. In a couple of months, I felt absolutely peaceful,” Kranjc explained.

Kranjc said Emery was a put unlike any he had frequented in advance of. It was small. It was quiet. Everybody seemed to know every other. There were six church buildings in town. It was unique from the considerably more city location he usually termed property.

“I arrived to South Dakota, not New York or Los Angeles or any of those people larger metropolitan areas. This is special even now,” Kranjc explained. “The biggest shock was no person experienced a fence around their house in Emery. In Yugoslavia you wouldn’t assume about not owning just one. Nobody locked their car or truck. It was open up. No crime. There were 450 folks and six churches. In Yugoslavia we experienced the Christian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church and they have been preventing just about every other. And below there were being mixed (religious) marriages. Below, no person cared about that.”

He invested his times in school with his classmates and afterward would perform alongside Hanlon in his retail outlet, once in a while heading out to local farms to assistance him with repairs, the place he acquired daily life lessons in plumbing as well as fixing air conditioning, a novelty for him coming from central Europe at the time. The Hanlons took him on a trip to the Black Hills, and he obtained to go fishing and pheasant searching.

It was an experience that remaining an impact on the youthful male.

“It was ideal,” Kranjc claimed.

Kranjc returned to a Yugoslavia that was gradually switching. The state was opening up to additional non-public business, and a workforce that experienced been mostly used in govt work were being generating the transition to working for business people. The war for independence was thankfully short, but it was however a frightening time.

Amid a shifting financial scene, he eventually remaining his occupation in Slovenia working for a big truck and bus manufacturer and took positions around the world, which includes Frankfurt, Vienna and Cairo. As he did, he noticed a Slovenia and a Europe that was rising to search far more like the United States all the time. Big American corporations commenced to do a lot more business enterprise in his element of the earth, and the formation of the European Union designed an environment that designed daily life sense nearer to what he professional in the United States.

However the changeover could be challenging at situations, he said he is pleased about this, especially in light-weight of the Russian war in Ukraine. His time in the United States designed him notice the significance of the word “united” in the name of his adopted country. For hundreds of years, Europe was a fractured continent, but the European Union authorized numerous nations around the world to present a collective front towards aggression, anything that seemed unattainable just a several decades ago.

“The United States – by now the identify suggests the states are united. You have a huge area area but with extra or fewer the identical restrictions. It is aspect of how The united states started. You are unable to just declare independence and almost everything will just be all right. With independence will come obligation,” Kranjc mentioned. “It was only not long ago with the European Union that factors began to change and get much better. So Europe grew to become additional and a lot more like the United States.”

Additional international locations in Europe are realizing their personal great importance in doing work with each other, each for economic and safety good reasons. Kranjc mentioned that Slovenian Key Minister Janez Janša was

a single of the 1st to take a look at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

in a display of solidarity with the embattled nation, something that would not automatically have happened in a long time earlier.

It is all portion of studying and escalating as a member of the entire world community, he claimed. That was a point of view he himself attained during his time in Emery yrs in the past, he said. The relative steadiness of the United States built him appreciate peace and bolstered his loathe of war.

“War need to not be a usually means of solving diplomatic challenges. At the conclude of the war there are going to be extra negotiations and communicate, so why are all these persons suffering now? We are sending individuals to the moon and we will be on Mars sometime and on the other aspect we are battling like 7,000 decades back in outdated Egypt,” Kranjc mentioned.

Karnjc returned to Emery final 7 days to devote time with 22 members of the 28 living users of his aged higher university class. Ahrendt claimed it was wonderful to welcome his old classmate back again to his adopted property.

Ahrendt reported it was a satisfaction to welcome Stanko’s family to the local community, just as it was to welcome him in 1972.

“It was a good, fantastic weekend. And it was just exciting to have Stanko and his spouse and children below. He has an incredible loved ones, and they were so content and excited to be below. They could see what his existence was like 50 several years ago. It was pleasurable to see their excitement,” Ahrendt said.

Invoice Hanlon passed away during Stanko’s time absent, but Kranjc experienced a opportunity to fulfill with Barbara Hanlon, who now life in a nursing dwelling, and the couple’s three daughters. They shared reminiscences now a 50 percent-century old but still fresh in his thoughts.

He and his spouse and children departed Sunday for a take a look at to the Black Hills, the initially at any time for his family and his initially vacation there considering the fact that his first visit to South Dakota. He has planned some additional time to examine the location, with a minimal time set aside to ideally check out Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. It is the opportunity of a life time for his family, he explained.

His household is now acquiring that possibility due to the fact it was presented to him 50 many years back, when the Hanlons and the neighborhood of Emery opened their doorways to the young Yugoslavian and offered him a calendar year of dwelling and understanding in modest-city South Dakota.

It has been a time of reflection and several rekindled memories, but like his initial journey in South Dakota, it really is one particular he will never quickly neglect, he claimed.

“It’s the form of sensation that’s tricky to put into terms. Actually,” Kranjc said. “But I’m really glad I could make it.”


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