My experience in the Jesuit College of Ljubljana

My first picture taken at the Jesuit College of Ljubljana, on 25th September 2019

My name is Dmitar Zvonimir Mitev, and I am a 20-year-old Macedonian born in Croatia. I am a student of Computer Science and Math at the University of Ljubljana. I have been here in Ljubljana for a year and a half; I have been a resident of the Ljubljana Jesuit College all throughout my student exchange.

 

At first, even before applying for my exchange, I was frightened, and those first conversations with Fr. Damjan were not much help; they frightened me even more. “How strict is it?”  “Are all other residents theology students?”, “Will I be in some type of student prison?” are just some of the questions I was posing to myself. Nonetheless, I proceeded with my application and decided to embark on this new adventure.

 

With the acceptance to my study program and, subsequently, the College, my university chapter officially began. I arrived in the middle of the night, not knowing how to say anything in Slovene other than “Hi”, “Bye”, and “Your family is small” (I know that this is very random, but it is true).

 

It did not take long for me to realize that this place is more prominent than the one I thought I was going to, and I mean this in every sense of the word. The Jesuits here are the coolest priests I have ever met. The peers I met here, the friendships we made, the bonds we created, will hopefully stay with me for many years. I miss my American, Polish, Spanish, Croatian, Italian and now even Slovene college friends.

 

Another beautiful thing about being here is that we have pretty much everything we could ask for. If you need a quiet place to study, you can visit the study rooms; if you want to have some fun, go to the kitchen or living room. Are you in the mood for exercise? Use the gym. Heard about a new movie? Watch it in our multimedia room.

 

Jesuit College is a place that enables you to grow both spiritually and mentally. The combination of the events taking place at the College helps you bring your spirituality and general knowledge to the next level. These are events such as … Evening Academies, where various scholars talk about interesting subjects (like history, sports, spirituality, philosophy, etc.), Bible Studies, an academic level in-depth course of the scriptures with Fr. Damjan as the lecturer, Student Masses, which take place once a week, and the EML (short for the English Mass in Ljubljana). There is also an International Catholic Community. There are also two podcasts, Tangenta (it covers general subjects; I was a guest in an episode that discussed the topic of national identity) and Pismo UK (scripture-oriented). Of course, none of them are mandatory, so the choice to participate is up to you.

 

If I had to shed light on only one event, I would go with the college trip 2020. We visited a place called Log pod Mangrtom in the Slovene Alps. Since I am a summer person, I was a bit doubtful at first, but it turned out to be a fantastic experience; we met interesting people, the atmosphere was great, and it was good to spend some time in the fresh air. I even realized that I enjoy hiking.

 

In the Jesuit College, we have faced many challenges, but Covid-19 was by far the greatest.  Since we live in a community, and I was also a part of another community at St. Joseph – the EML, we had to make severe changes to our lifestyle. What is more, I have been living with my mother my whole life, so I did not know anything about cooking, washing, tidying, cleaning, etc. And this is an excellent example of the beauty that comes from living in a community such as the Jesuit College; thank you Fr. Damjan for teaching me all those life hacks. During quarantine, the students who remained here were the  very few who had the privilege to attend live masses held once a week in our student chapel.

 

During the summer, the virus situation improved, so we went on an organized college vacation. We were supposed to go to the island Murter in Croatia. Still, because of the new safety measures adopted back then regarding border passing, we changed our destination to Ankaran, a town on the Slovene coast. It was an excellent opportunity to relax and recharge the batteries for challenges that were lying ahead.

 

I tried my best to provide you with an idea of what it means to be a “Kolegijc” (the Slovene expression for a student at the Jesuit College). Of course, this is only a tiny part, but for starters, more than enough. I encourage all students who are given the opportunity and think that this is something for them to apply and then hope for the best. Who knows, maybe we will be roommates someday …