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Info4Migrants
SERBIACountry profile
Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
77,474 km2
7,209 mln
POPULATION
GDPper capita
CURRENCY
$5,924
Language SERBIAN
Serbian dinar (RSD)
Excluding Kosovo
Exclud...
Official name: the Republic of Serbia
Location: the central part of the Balkan Peninsula in Central
Southeastern Europe.
C...
SERBIA FACTS
Languages
The official language is Serbian, member of the South Slavic
group of languages, and native to 88% ...
SERBIA FACTS
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943) was a world-renowned inventor,
physicist, mechanical engineer and ele...
SERBIA FACTS
Slava
The Slava, also called Krsna Slava (Крсна Слава, “chris-
tened Slava”) and Krsno ime (Крсно име, “chris...
State holidays:
1-2 January: New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is a pub-
lic holiday in many places
around the world and Serbi...
Belgrade Fortress
Belgrade’s landmark fortress was originally built as a Roman military camp during the 1st
century. Visit...
border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The park is named after one of its most impressive
landmarks, Europe’s deepest canyon,...
SERBIAN FOOD
The great variety in Serbia’s cuisine originates from its geographical, nation-
al and cultural diversity, an...
Soups, stews and other “spoon” dishes
Sarma is basically ground beef and rice rolled into cabbage, greens or grapevine. In...
Salads and appetizers
Urnebes is a type of salad characteristic of Serbian cuisine prominent in the city of Niš
and southe...
INTERESTING FACTS
• Most Serbian last names end with the letters “ic”.
• In 274 AD, Constantine the Great, the Roman Emper...
Dining Etiquette
• When dining out, it is customary for the
host to pay. You may offer to contribute,
but do not ask to sp...
Visiting for Slava
The greatest honor for every guest is to be invited to a “slava”, a celebration of a family’s
saint day...
PEOPLE IN SERBIA
Greeting people
When people meet for the first time, they
say their first name, shake hands (try to do
it...
Verbal and Non-Verbal
Communication
Serbians tend to stand closer to each other
than people in the rest of Europe. In the
...
The local population will love to speak
about their Serbian culture, give directions,
point to nice places one can visit, ...
NATIONAL IDENTITY
The people of Yugoslavia identify primarily with their region.
Serbs are more likely than other groups t...
Gender
Gender differences are not so pronounced in Serbia. Women have the right (de jure) to
equal opportunities. However,...
BUSINESS TIPS
Meetings and Negotiations
• Building a relationship is very important,
and it is therefore usually done befo...
• Avoiding eye contact is considered disre-
spectful.
• Drinking and smoking are common in al-
most every social setting, ...
CORPORATE CULTURE
The Role of a Manager
Intercultural sensitivity is necessary. There
is often a wide gap between managers...
CORPORATE CULTURE
Decision Making
In general, subordinates do not expect their managers to seek their concurrence. They
ar...
Veronica Gelfgren
Yulia Bazyukina
Marja-Liisa Helenius
Research
Research, layout
Proofreading
www.thelanguagemenu.com
Lear...
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I4M Country profile serbia (in english)

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The document was created for the Project Info4migrants. Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615

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I4M Country profile serbia (in english)

  1. 1. Info4Migrants SERBIACountry profile Project number: UK/13/LLP-LdV/TOI-615
  2. 2. 77,474 km2 7,209 mln POPULATION GDPper capita CURRENCY $5,924 Language SERBIAN Serbian dinar (RSD) Excluding Kosovo Excluding Kosovo
  3. 3. Official name: the Republic of Serbia Location: the central part of the Balkan Peninsula in Central Southeastern Europe. Capital and largest city: Belgrade, 1.135 million Climate: In the north, continental climate (cold winter and hot, humid summers; central portion, continental and Mediterra- nean climate; to the south, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland. Languages: Serbian (official) 88.1%, Hungarian 3.4%, Bosnian 1.9%, Romani 1.4%, other 3.4%, undeclared or unknown 1.8%. Note: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, and Rusyn all official in Vojvodina. Ethnicity: Serb 83.3%, Hungarian 3.5%, Romany 2.1%, Bosniak 2%, other 5.7%, undeclared or unknown 3.4% Religions: Serbian Orthodox 84.6%, Catholic 5%, Muslim 3.1%, Protestant 1%, atheist 1.1%, other 0.8%, undeclared or un- known 4.5% National Flag Coat of arms COUNTRY BACKGROUND Belgrade SERBIA CROATIA ALBANIA MONTENEGRO ROMANIA MACEDONIA BULGARIA BOSNIA AND HERZE- GOVINA HUNGARY 3 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  4. 4. SERBIA FACTS Languages The official language is Serbian, member of the South Slavic group of languages, and native to 88% of the population. Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. Serbian Cyrillic was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who creat- ed the alphabet on phonemic principles. The Cyrillic script itself has its origins in Cyril and Methodius’s transformation of the Greek script in the 9th century. Recognized minority languages are: Hungarian, Slovak, Al- banian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Rusyn as well as Bosnian and Croatian, which are completely mutually intelligible with Serbian. All these languages are in official use in mu- nicipalities or cities where more than 15% of the population consists of a national minority. In Vojvodina, the provincial administration uses, besides Serbian, five other languages (Hungarian, Slovak, Croatian, Romanian and Rusyn). Yugoslavia The name Yugoslavia previously designated six republics: Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. The word means “land of the south- ern Slavs.” Within Serbia, there are several national cul- tures. In addition to the dominant Serb tradition, there is a large Hungarian population in the northern province of Vojvodina, where Hungarian is the common language and the culture is highly influenced by Hungary (which borders the province to the north). In southern Serbia, the prov- ince of Kosovo is primarily Albanian, and has an Islamic culture that bears many remnants of the earlier Turkish conquest. 4 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  5. 5. SERBIA FACTS Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943) was a world-renowned inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer of Serbian origin. He is regarded as one of the most important inventors in history. Tesla’s patents and theoretical work form the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution systems and the AC motor. Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com5 Belgrade Belgrade is the capital of the Republic of Serbia. It has been the capital of all of the many versions of Yugoslavia through- out history (starting with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918, through the communist Socialist Federa- tive Republic of Yugoslavia, and ending with the romp Fed- eral Republic of Yugoslavia that lasted through the 1990’s to 2003). It is located on the outfall of the river Sava into the Danube. In Serbian, the city is called Beograd. The name (meaning white city: beo - white, grad - city) is the Slavic version of its old Celtic name, Singidunum. Ethnic groups Ethnic Serbs constitute a majority in Serbia, at about 82.86% (excluding Kosovo). There are 37 different ethnicities in Serbia. Ethnic Albanians are concentrated in the Kosovo re- gion of southwest Serbia. Ethnic Hungarians make up about 3.91% of the population and live in northern Serbia near the Hungarian border. The remaining population consists primar- ily of Slavic Muslims, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Macedonians, Cro- ats, Roma, Montenegrins, Ruthenians, Romanians, Vlachs, Bunjevci, and Turks. 5 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  6. 6. SERBIA FACTS Slava The Slava, also called Krsna Slava (Крсна Слава, “chris- tened Slava”) and Krsno ime (Крсно име, “christened name”), is a Serbian Orthodox Church tradition of the rit- ual glorification of one’s family’s patron saint among Serbs and Montenegrins, and also Serbs in Macedonia. The fam- ily celebrates the Slava annually on the saint’s feast day. Unlike other major Orthodox Christian nations, i.e. Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Georgians etc., Serbs do not celebrate individual name days, as when a person named after a saint would celebrate that saint’s feast day, but instead they do it collectively as the name day of a certain family and/or clan. Serbs usually regard the Slava as their most significant and most solemn feast day. Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com6 Kosovo Serbs Kosovo Serbs (Serbian: Kosovski Srbi/Косовски Срби) are the Serbs living in Kosovo, where they are the second larg- est ethnic group. During the 12-13th century, Kosovo was the cultural, diplomatic and religious core of the Serbian Kingdom. It was also an important part of the 14th century Serbian Empire, but was occupied by the Ottomans follow- ing the Battle of Kosovo. After five centuries as part of the Ottoman Empire, Kosovo was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1912, following the First Balkan War. It was then part of Serbia (and later Yugoslavia), until the 1999 Kosovo War resulted in the de facto separation of Kosovo from the rest of Serbia, followed by its final secession from Serbia in 2008. 6 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  7. 7. State holidays: 1-2 January: New Year’s Day New Year’s Day is a pub- lic holiday in many places around the world and Serbia is no exception. 7 January: Julian Orthodox Christmas Orthodox Christmas or Božić is based on the Old Julian calendar. 15-16 February: National day It is the anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising in 1804 and the first Serbian Consti- tution in 1835. Moveable date during spring: Orthodox Good Fri- day Easter Monday is the day following Easter Day. Moveable date during spring: Orthodox Easter This day celebrates the res- urrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Moveable date during spring: Orthodox Easter Monday Easter Monday is known as “Bright Monday” or “Renew- al Monday”. 1-2 May: May Day Celebration of the interna- tional Labour Day 11 November: Armistice Day This day is commemorated since 2012 to mark the ar- mistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. The employees of Chris- tian, Muslim and Jewish religion are allowed not to work on some of their religious holidays: Western Christians: • Moveable date during spring: Good Friday • Moveable date during spring: Easter • Moveable date during spring: Easter Monday Serbian Orthodox Chris- tians: • Moveable date: Slava The celebration of patron saint day of the family, the dates vary among families. Western Christians and Re- vised Julian Calendar Ortho- dox Christians: • 25 December: Christmas day Muslims: • 1 Shawwal (Moveable date): Eid ul-Fitr Feast of the end of RAmadan • 10 Dhu al-Hijjah (Move- able date): Eid al-Adha Feast of the Sacrifice Jews: 10 Tishrei (moveable date during autumn): Yom Kippur Day of Atonement is the holi- est day of the year for Jewish people. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 7 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  8. 8. Belgrade Fortress Belgrade’s landmark fortress was originally built as a Roman military camp during the 1st century. Visitors who look closely at the walls will notice that they contain dozens of lay- ers, one for nearly each of the 38 fires set in Serbia’s capital over the 2,000-year history of the fortress. The Turks added outer fortifications in 1760, after which the fortress’ appear- ance has remained relatively unchanged. Ada Ciganlija This island-turned-peninsula on the Sava River has become Belgrade’s most popular re- laxation spot, attracting up to 300,000 visitors on summer weekends. Over four miles of beaches line the manmade Sava Lake’s shores. However, Ada Ciganlija also contains most of Belgrade’s sport facilities - including those of the extreme variety – as well as tracks for walking or cycling. Ada Ciganlija also transforms into the city’s hottest beach party and concert venue after dark. Fruska Gora National Park At least one full day is recommended to fully explore Fruska Gora National Park, named after its highest mountain, and frequently referred to as ‘the jewel of Serbia’ thanks to its picturesque countryside. Riesling and Traminer are just two of the wines produced from the grapes that grow on the mountains, and visitors can even harvest honey from bee- hives in late spring. Hiking, cycling, and rock climbing in Orlovo Bojiste are the park’s most popular activities. However, Fruska Gora’s most famous landmarks are its 35 15th and 16th century South Backa monasteries, all of which can be admired on a single guided tour. Tara National Park The Drina River running through this western Serbia park forms part of the country’s TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Serbia has a lot of history packed within its relatively small borders, including some of Europe’s oldest settlements and the birthplaces of no fewer than 17 Ro- man emperors, all of which left monuments and palaces behind. Dozens of cul- tures and ethnic groups have left their influence on the country, which has acted as one of Europe’s major crossroads over the centuries. Belgrade’s famous 1st- century fortress has survived at least 38 fires and 60 invasions over its 2,000-year history. Another popular landmark in Serbia’s capital is the former island of Ada Ciganlija, now a popular holiday spot for locals and visitors alike. 8 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  9. 9. border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The park is named after one of its most impressive landmarks, Europe’s deepest canyon, but also contains countless forests, waterfalls, and deep caves waiting to be discovered. The Drina River Gorge is one of Serbia’s most chal- lenging whitewater rafting spots. One of the park’s rarest trees, the pancic spruce, has grown here since pre-historic times. Devils Town (Djavolja Varos) These 202 stone pyramids lining southern Serbia’s Tuta River, which range between just one mile and nine miles in height, were created by an extensive erosion process. Two natural springs, Red Well and Devil’s Water, spew mineral-loaded water up to 1,000 times more acidic than average drinking water. Lake Palic The healing powers of this serene five-mile long lake near Subotica have attracted af- fluent visitors from around the world since the 19th century. The lake’s Great Park has more than doubled in size since its original 1840 opening. Today, Lake Palic is an officially protected area filled with cycling and walking paths around its 11-mile coast. The lake’s surrounding area now contains several beaches, restaurants, hotels, sports facilities, and even a zoo. Nis Skull Tower The 58 skulls forming this tower, along with the historic Constantinople Road towards Sofia, belonged to Serbian rebels Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, ordered to be killed during the 1809 Battle of Čegar. Serbian commander Stevan Sinđelić killed not only himself, but also the rest of his troops and several Turkish soldiers when he deliberately fired at his gunpowder depot rather than surrender to the Turks. Hursid Pasha, the Turkish com- mander of Nis, ordered the dead Serbian soldiers’ heads be mounted on a tower as an ominous warning to anyone else daring to oppose the Ottoman Empire. A monument to Sinđelić, whose skull sits at the tower’s summit, stands in front of a nearby chapel. Gamzigrad - Romuliana Among the most impressive of Serbia’s many buildings from the Roman Empire is this palace and memorial complex. The construction was ordered by Emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus between the 3rd and 4th centuries. The emperor named the Felix Romuliana palace after his mother Romula. Numerous basilicas, temples, fortifications, and even hot baths are found within this UNESCO World Heritage Site and spa resort. TOURIST ATTRACTIONS 9 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  10. 10. SERBIAN FOOD The great variety in Serbia’s cuisine originates from its geographical, nation- al and cultural diversity, and the jigsaw of centuries of population changes. Influences on Serbian cuisine have been rich and varied – it first began as a mixture of Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish and Hungarian cooking. Meats Ćevapi (or ćevapčići) are small sausage-like grilled portions of minced meat. Serbian ćevapčići are made from either beef, lamb or pork or mixed. They are usually served as 5-10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Pljeskavica is a popular patty dish, second only to ćevapćići. It is often served with ka- jmakmilk cream, ajvar sauce of peppers and urnebes mixed spicy sauce. Leskovačka pljeskavica (pljeskavica from Leskovac) is one of the most famous types in Serbia and is usually made of beef or pork, very spicy and served with onions. There are however, many other ways of serving it such as Šarska and Hajdučka. Šarska pleskavica is made of beef and stuffed with kashkaval cheese. Hajdučka pljeskavica is made of beef mixed with smoked pork meat. Recently, pljeskavica has gained popularity in Europe and is served in few speciality fast foodrestaurants in Germany, Sweden, and Austria. Pečenje basically means roasted meat (whole roasted pork, lamb and goat), and it’s one of the most popular dishes in Serbia, especially during all types of celebrations such as weddings or slava. Pečenje can sometimes be very greasy, especially when served cold, which is not uncommon. Bečka šnicla (Schnitzel) is a traditional Austrian dish made with boneless meat thinned with a hammer (escalope-style preparation), coated in bread crumbs and fried. It is a pop- ular part of Austrian cuisine and German cuisine, though variations are present all over the world. In Austria, the dish called Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel) is traditional- ly garnished with a slice of lemon and either potato salad or potatoes with parsley and butter. In Serbia, the dish is called bečka šnicla (Viennese schnitzel). A local urban legend states the dish originated in Serbia and not in Italy, but no one knows why. Also referred to as “the girls’ dream”, Karadjordje’s steak is a dish named after the Serbi- an Prince Karadjordje. It is a rolled veal or pork steak, stuffed with kajmak, breaded and baked (or fried). It is served with roasted potatoes and tartar sauce. Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1010 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  11. 11. Soups, stews and other “spoon” dishes Sarma is basically ground beef and rice rolled into cabbage, greens or grapevine. In Ser- bia, the most popular is the cabbage sarma. Some people prefer it with sour cream (pavlaka), while others like garlic with it. If you are in a fish restaurant by the river, make sure you try the traditional Riblja čorba or Riblji paprikaš (fish stew with tomato juice and paprika). Even people who don’t really like fish enjoy this dish. Punjene paprike (stuffed paprikas) is a dish made of paprika, stuffed with a mix of meat and rice in tomato sauce, the ingredients consisting of green or red capsicums, eggs, spices, salt, tomato, minced meat and rice. Škembići (Tripe soup) comes in many varieties in the Eastern European cuisine. In Serbia, Škembići is one of the oldest known dishes, dating to the 13th century. Škembići are Tripe in vegetable stew with herbs, served with boiled potato. Pastry Gibanicais a cheese pie typical of Serbia. It’s one of the most recognizable types of Serbian pastry. It is made of layers of thin dough with cheese, and usually an egg poured over. Burek is a family of baked or fried filled pastries of Ottoman origin made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo). It can be filled with cheese, minced meat, or mushrooms. There are also some modern variations without any filling, and filled with cherry. Proja is a Serbian dish made of cornbread. It used to be popular in times of widespread poverty, mostly before the 1950’s, but is now a common everyday meal. It is often mis- taken with projara, a somewhat fancier variant of proja. SERBIAN FOOD 11 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  12. 12. Salads and appetizers Urnebes is a type of salad characteristic of Serbian cuisine prominent in the city of Niš and southern Serbia. It is made of cheese and hot chili peppers, with salt and spices. Kaјmak is a creamy dairy product, similar to clotted cream, very popular with Ćevapćići, Pljeskavica, Prženice or Somun (flatbread). Sweets Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and much of Central and Southwest Asia. Krofne are doughnuts filled with jelly, marmalade, jam or chocolate. They can also be filled with custard, or cream, but that is usually less common. Uštipci, also called Mekike, are doughnut-like balls similar to krofne but with more of a soft, bread-like feel to them. They are easier to make than krofne, and they do not nec- essarily have to be sweet. In restaurants they might come with jam and kajmak or with cheese, thus fulfilling the role of breakfast staple or desert or even a main course. Palatschinke is a very popular sweet, served with Chocolate cream, ground walnuts, ground biscuit, or honey. There are many palačinkarnice (pancake shops) where you can buy them. There are also salty version with various types of ham, cheese, etc. Popular Serbian drinks The best known Serbian drink is Rakija, a strong brandy (the most common ones are from plum – Šljivovica, Kajsijevača – from apricot, Dunjevača – from quince, and Vilijamovka – from pear). The alcohol content varies usually between 30-40%, but some private distill- ers get up to 50%. Pelinkovac is a bitter liqueur based on wormwood (pelin). The alcohol content is 28-35% by volume. It has a very bitter taste, resembling that of Jägermeister. There are several breweries in Serbia making various domestic and international types of beer. The most popular domestic ones are Jelen (Deer) and Lav (Lion). SERBIAN FOOD 12 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  13. 13. INTERESTING FACTS • Most Serbian last names end with the letters “ic”. • In 274 AD, Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor, was born in the Serbian city of Nis. • Between the 3rd and 4th centuries, a total of eighteen emperors were born on what is modern day Serbia. That number accounts for a fifth of all Roman rulers. • The only Serbian word that is accepted and used across the world is “vampire”. • The Serbian clock-making industry is even older than the world-famous Swiss one. The Serbs had their own clock 600 years before the Swiss did. • The Old Downtown Church that stands in the downtown section of Cacak is home to a religious building that has been turned into a mosque a record ten times. • The very first video transmission between North America and Europe that took place in 1963 featured the White Angel from the Serbian fresco at Monastery Milesevo. • Europe’s largest gorge, the Djerdap Gorge is situated in Serbia. The mighty Danube river flows through it. • Beograd (Belgrade) is one of the oldest cities in Eu- rope, first settled in the 3rd century BC by the Celts, before becoming the Roman settlement of Singidu- num. • Serbia is the largest raspberry exporter, ac- counting for one third of all the raspberries in the world. • Serbia is the only country outside of CIS to have a free-trade agreement with Russia. • Serbia has the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Europe, a total of approximately 314,000. • The Miroslav Gospel, written in the twelfth cen- tury, is the oldest preserved Serbian manuscript. • Silver lake, also called Serbian sea, is the largest lake in Serbia. It is very popular for being one of the clearest and the cleanest lakes in the country. • Kalemegdan is the most popular park in Belgrade be- cause of the park’s numerous winding walking paths, shady benches, picturesque fountains, random statues, mammoth his- torical architecture and incredible river views. • The Cathedral of Saint Sava or Hram svetog Save in Belgrade is the largest Orthodox Church currently in use. • Over 30% of the land is covered by forest, with 5 national parks and 22 nature reserves. 1313 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  14. 14. Dining Etiquette • When dining out, it is customary for the host to pay. You may offer to contribute, but do not ask to split the bill. • Traditional food is based on grilled meat. • Serbian food uses animal fats, eggs and dairy, and therefore it is rarely suitable for vegans. • Pork is very popular, whether bacon, sau- sages or fresh meat. • Dress in smart clothing for formal dinners, dinner parties and business lunches. • Remove your shoes before entering your hosts home. • It is customary to give the host a small gift. • Hold a fork in your left hand and the knife in your right. • Alcohol is normally served with the meal. Rakia is a very strong liquor made from grape skins. • Try not to get drunk. Leave your glass unfinished if you do not wish to be served more. • Always make eye contact during a toast. • You can show gratitude by offering to take your host out for a meal at a later date. • Smoking is common, so do not be offend- ed if people smoke while you are eating. • Indicate that you have finished eating by placing your cutlery together and parallel to each other on the plate. • Dinners often have several courses, in- cluding starters, soup, a main dish and then dessert. • Round up the tips to about 10% of the bill. House visits Upon arriving at someone’s home you will be treated to a coffee (almost always black coffee, called “Turska kafa” or “Crna kafa”), juice and rakija, usually a home-made one in which every master of the house takes great pride (it’s a topic they’ll love to talk about). Don’t miss trying the delicious sweet pre- serves “slatko” (literary “sweet”) of which you should take just a spoon or two ac- companied by a glass of water. Upon your first entry in a household, it is customary to bring a symbolic present, for example a bottle of an alcoholic drink, an assortment of chocolates, or flowers. In saying cheers, “Živeli”, touch glasses and pay attention that you look into the eyes of all the people you toast with while touch- ing glasses. Note that your glass will be replenished as soon as you’ve emptied it, so if you don’t want to continue drinking, leave some at the bottom. If offered to join a lunch, you won’t talk your way out of it easily (and why would you?), and once you do it, you might easily be offered a supper and breakfast as well. During meals there are not many rules to observe. Try to follow the pace of your host but don’t hesitate even one moment to take more if you like the food. The courses (starters, soup, main dish, dessert) are ac- companied by saying “Prijatno” (Bon Appe- tite) and answering “Hvala, takodje” (Thank you, same to you). IMPORTANT TIPS Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1414 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  15. 15. Visiting for Slava The greatest honor for every guest is to be invited to a “slava”, a celebration of a family’s saint day. Do not forget to bring a symbolic gift, such as a bottle of wine. The most conven- tional greeting is “Srecna slava”, followed by kissing three times on alternating cheeks while shaking hands. Upon entering the house, you will be offered “žito”, a ceremonial sweet made of wheat, honey and nuts; you are required to make the cross sign (if you are Chris- tian), take one spoon and leave it in a glass of water. All that you have to do afterwards is to enjoy the hospitality and eagerly answer all the toasts. Paying Bills when Going Out By Serbian custom, the host will pay the whole bill when drinking in a cafe or dining out. . You can ask if you may add some money but try not to be too precise; it is better to offer a round after you have enjoyed several paid by your hosts. If someone shows clear intention of buying you a drink, do not try to pay for anything, as it might be considered offensive. Smoking An almost complete lack of non-smoking zones in a country where a majority of the popula- tion smokes could be an inconvenience for non-smokers. Feel free to ask for a cigarette even if you don’t know the people you are asking. It is not considered impolite. Foreign Languages Language skills of locals depend on education and age: younger people even in smaller places tend to have good to fair knowledge of English. Amongst the middle-aged and elderly people, only those with better education will know English. Other languages that are often spoken are German, French, Russian and Italian. Knowledge of any Slavic language will prove useful, since many of the common words are the same. Visiting Churches and Monasteries Upon visiting churches and monasteries you are required to act politely, not to laugh or raise your voice. The dress code does not allow shorts or mini-skirts, which could be a problem in the summertime. When entering, take your hat off. If your visit coincides with a service, you can enter, but stand in one place and don’t walk around. On all occasions women are not allowed in the altar space behind the iconostasis. Ask for permission if you want to take pictures with a flash, especially in a church. IMPORTANT TIPS 15 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  16. 16. PEOPLE IN SERBIA Greeting people When people meet for the first time, they say their first name, shake hands (try to do it sturdily with men) and say “Drago mi je” (Nice to meet you). If you meet people you are already acquainted with, you will just shake hands and ask “Kako ste?” (more for- mal) or “Kako si?” (informal, with friends) (both mean “How are you?”). The usual “Hello/Hi” is “Zdravo” or “Chao” among younger people and “Dobro jutro” in the morning, “Dobar dan” during the day and “Dobro vece” in the evening for everyone else. If you are seated, rise when you meet people, especially women and older men. When meeting after a longer time or upon some celebration, such as a birthday, it is customary to kiss three times on alternat- ing cheeks while shaking hands, or, more familiarly, embrace. The same procedure is observed when saying goodbye (“Dovidjen- ja”). Especially younger women will kiss friends lightly on the cheek, just once in- stead of a handshake. Eye contact is valued, and you may expect more physical contact with the people you meet with, but that just means that they consider you a friend. Since Serbs are, in general, open, friendly and direct, personal questions showing interest in a stranger’s life, politics, likes and dislikes are often basis of conversa- tions. You shouldn’t therefore be offended if people ask you some unusual questions. When asking for something politely, use the phrase “Molim vas” (please). Always say “Hvala” for “Thank you”. Serbia is generally perceived as being a land of ‘warm hearted people’ where hospital- ity and catering to the guests is of central importance. As Serbian people are generally open, friendly and direct, showing interest in some- one’s life, politics, interests and dislikes are often basis for conversation. Serbia is gen- erally perceived as being a land of ‘warm hearted people’ where hospitality and cater- ing to the guests is of central importance. 16 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  17. 17. Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Serbians tend to stand closer to each other than people in the rest of Europe. In the first meeting, they may be more sensi- tive to personal space, but that space will gradually shrink when they get to know someone better. Shaking hands is essential, when you first meet someone and every time you see the person again. A hand- shake should be firm and friendly. Males usually do not kiss on the cheek unless they are relatives. Three kisses on the cheeks are very common among women or between a female and a male, although especially among younger people and non-relatives, it is fashionable to kiss only once. If you are a female, you would not be expected to kiss your colleagues every time you meet; kissing is usually common among very good friends or relatives, but not at work. Eye contact should be maintained, other- wise Serbians may perceive you as untrust- worthy or deceitful. Hand gestures are very common when speaking and people are very entertaining and will joke frequently. They may touch you during conversation (or just because they are happy to see you) by patting you on the back (among males), giving you a side hug, or placing their hand on your back or arm. The tone of voice is fairly normal, but it may be slightly louder. It is very easy to notice if the other person is happy, sad, or angry. They will always show their feelings in their facial expressions, even if they do not know you well. It is important not to take these expressions personally (except if you are sure that they are directed at you) because frustration is very common in Serbia and people do not hide it well. Serbs are temperamental people and years of sanctions (1991-2000), influx of refugees, and a poor economic situation have all contributed to the flaring of short tempers. In these situations, it is best to stand your ground. Conversation The best opening when meeting some- one for the first time is to smile and be approachable. First impressions are very important to Serbians, and they may last for a long time after the initial conversa- tion. Serbians are usually very helpful to foreigners and intrigued about their origin and personal style. If the foreigner is from an affluent western culture, Serbians are likely to respect them simply because the westerners are economically better off and because friendship with a westerner can be valuable. CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE Learnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com1717 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  18. 18. The local population will love to speak about their Serbian culture, give directions, point to nice places one can visit, recom- mend good food, travel and tourist spots, etc. They will also ask many personal ques- tions (eg: origin, education, lifestyle at the home country, children, etc). This type of discussion may carry on for a long time. Serbians are very personable and like to make friends, especially ones who are talk- ative and have a good sense of humour. A tasteful joke is an appropriate and success- ful opening of a dialogue and puts Serbians at ease. It is important that they do not perceive a foreigner as someone who acts superior in any sense (by being aloof, for instance). Politics is a free topic to explore, as long as you avoid praising nations that Serbians do not trust or that they might feel animosity for. These may include Americans (due to the bombing of Serbia in the 1999 Kosovo war), Croats and Muslim Bosnians (due to the 1991-1995 war that triggered the break-up of Yugoslavia), and Germans (who were perceived to be explicitly against Serbia in the 1991-1995 war). These neg- ative sentiments are generally directed at the politics and foreign policies of these nations, and people usually do not give a hard time to the visitors from these coun- tries. Nevertheless, when it comes to pol- itics, it is better to listen to the complaints that Serbians might have rather than give your own strong opinions. Serbians are perceived as aggressors in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (ex- cept in Republika Srpska, the Serb domi- nated entity in the latter country). Serbs are very resentful of this perception and feel it is very unjust. Serbs feel that the western world has received a very biased media representation of the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo (they feel much more strongly about Kosovo because they see it as Serbian land). They are eager to ex- plain their side of the story when given a chance. A peaceful, inclusive and tolerant approach to world cultures is appropriate and acceptable. CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE 18 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  19. 19. NATIONAL IDENTITY The people of Yugoslavia identify primarily with their region. Serbs are more likely than other groups to subscribe to an identity as Yugoslav; many minorities see this identity as attempting to subsume significant regional, eth- nic, and religious differences. Montenegrins also have a tradition of Pan-Slavism, which led them to remain with Serbia even as other republics were demanding independence. However, Montenegro has had differences with Serbia, particularly over policy in Bosnia, Croatia, and, most recently, Kosovo. Religion also plays an important role in national identity, in particular for Muslims, the largest reli- gious minority (and the majority in certain areas, such as Kosovo and parts of Bosnia). Ethnic Relations The Balkan Peninsula is a hodgepodge of cul- tures and ethnicities. While most of the peo- ple are of Slavic origin, their histories diverged under the varying influences of different govern- ments, religions, and cultures. For example, Slovenia and Croatia are primarily Roman Catholic, whereas most of Serbia is Eastern Orthodox; in Kosovo and Bosnia there is a large Islamic population. The north has a strong influ- ence from Hungary, and the south displays more remnants of Turkish culture. The union of these different cultures under a repressive regime makes for a vola- tile situation; for this reason the entire region has been referred to as the “Balkan tinder- box.” The virulent animosity among different groups has, in recent years, led to civil war. The Serb government has brutally suppressed virtually all minorities to consolidate Serb power. Under Milosevic, a policy of ethnic cleansing has attempted to rid the country of Croat Muslims in Bosnia and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo when these groups have agitated for self-rule; the results have been ongoing violence and the oppression of ethnic minori- ties. Yugoslavia also has one of the world’s largest Gypsy populations, who are also treated with intolerance. In the 1980s there was a movement among Yugoslav Gypsies for sepa- rate nationhood, but it never materialized and eventually lost steam. 19 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  20. 20. Gender Gender differences are not so pronounced in Serbia. Women have the right (de jure) to equal opportunities. However, it is customary that women stay at home and raise chil- dren or care for sick relatives. Men also tend to have more control over resources, but Serbian women are quite assertive and persistent in meeting their needs, especially in big cities. Gender discourse is not very prominent in Serbia, and people do not usually consider it a problem. At work, women are not regarded as having the same abilities as men and are not trusted with certain duties perceived to be unwomanly (i.e. defence and military mat- ters). In politics, there are far fewer women than men, and quotas put in place to address gender representation are usually very difficult to fill. Ethnicity At work, ethnicity does not pose a problem, given that the majority of the population is of a one religion. In circumstances where ethnic Albanians and Serbs may work together, there could potentially be some mutual resentment. The Roma are under-represented in public and private institutions, and usually hold no official employment, so it is rare to find cases of Serbians and Roma working side by side. There are no specific work-related problems between Hungarians and Serbians. Privileges In Serbian culture, granting certain privileges is definitely expected if you are friendlier with some of your partners, colleagues and clients, as this indicates that they have some- thing more special than simply a superior-employee relationship. If they come to you for a favour or help (i.e. consideration of some of his friends and relatives for employment), and you are in a position to do something, it will be expected that you do it. However, that does not mean that you have to grant them a favour if you are unable to do so or think it inappropriate. If you explain that special favours are inappropriate and that you can give their friend an opportunity for an interview just like everyone else, this should be a sufficient explanation. If things do not work out, your friendship may strain after this, but as long as you explain your position, you can avoid misunderstandings. Colleagues that are also your friends may expect you to keep them in mind for a promotion, but pay increase without the credentials will never be expected in Serbia. SOCIETY 20 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  21. 21. BUSINESS TIPS Meetings and Negotiations • Building a relationship is very important, and it is therefore usually done before nego- tiations take place. • Men shake hands when greeting one another and maintain direct eye contact. A relatively firm handshake is encouraged. • Two women will generally meet with a light handshake, but a kiss on the cheek is very common if they know each other. • Business cards are very common and are handed out without formal ritual. Business Attire • After suffering from years of economic sanctions, it is common to see outfits and styles that are somewhat outdated. • Suits for both men and women are gener- ally more conservative with dark or neutral colors. • As in most Eastern European countries, having flashy clothing that flaunts wealth is frowned upon and considered tacky. • Strong colognes and perfumes are quite common. Behavior • Much cultural sensitivity and knowledge of history is needed as many Serbs have been taught to blame Western countries for their recent misfortune and poverty. • Coffee (specifically Turkish) is taken very commonly during breaks at work and during the day, and it is usually the time for light chatter and bonding. • It is not uncommon for Serbs to drink shots of strong liquor before lunch or throughout different periods of the day. Conversation • It is very common and polite to ask about family and health. Learning simple words in Serbian is very flattering and impressive. “Dobar Dan” is hello and is com- monly used in formal situations. 21 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  22. 22. • Avoiding eye contact is considered disre- spectful. • Drinking and smoking are common in al- most every social setting, regardless of age or gender. • Usually, personal space is not highly re- garded. People often hug and tap each oth- er on the shoulder or touch lightly while conversing. • It is common to hear people speaking in loud voices. This usually does not signify anger, people just tend to be very expressive. • Punctuality is a desirable trait,especially in business settings. Topics to Discuss: • Sports, especially the country’s recent success is tennis and water polo. • Serbs like asking about cultural differenc- es in lifestyles and systems. Topics to Avoid: • Kosovo, the wars in the Balkans, or the Milosevic regime. • Discussing politics or US Foreign policy until a closer relationship is established. Decision-making Major decisions in Serbia are made by the management. Under Communism, em- ployees had open meetings but they had little influence. Unfortunately, this is still the case, even with foreign investors and firms. Idea-sharing and brain storming are not very common, except in the new, lo- cally-launched and pilot-type initiatives, in such areas as alternative press and radio, creative art, non-governmental organiza- tions, and the like. Punctuality is a desirable trait, especially in business settings. BUSINESS TIPS 22 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  23. 23. CORPORATE CULTURE The Role of a Manager Intercultural sensitivity is necessary. There is often a wide gap between managers and their subordinates, although this is less so in newer companies, high tech companies, or other high growth industries. Managers are expected to give precise directions to subordinates when assigning tasks so that there is no question as to what is expected. In professional jobs, directions may be in the form of broad guidelines with the ex- pected method, format of results, and pro- tocols to be observed clearly delineated. Approach to Change Serbia’s intercultural adaptability and read- iness for change is improving although changes are still made slowly, requiring a considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation. Intercultural sensitivity is important with Serbia’s attitude toward risk dramatically impacted by the negative ramifications of failure on both the individual and the group. Approach to Time and Priorities Serbia is a moderate time culture and there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines. Nevertheless, the expectations of global business have caused the people to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules. When working with people from Serbia it is advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization. Successful intercultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to pro- vide and meet deadlines. The business set up in Serbia is very formal and intercultural management will be more successful if you bear this in mind. In business it is a good idea to use a third-party intro- duction rather than making a “cold call”. After years of communist rule and internal politi- cal skirmishes, many people remain suspicious of foreigners. In many ways, Serbia is the last of the major European transitional economies. The gov- ernment is attempting to enact privatization legislation that may offer opportunities for foreign investors in the ownership and management of previously nationalized industries as well as in the developing private sector. At the same time, business can often be a maze of bureaucracy and red tape. The best approach is to start out in formal mode and allow your Serbian counterparts to determine when or if to move to a more relaxed demeanor. Always respect the hierarchy and take care to treat people in authority with particular respect. 23 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  24. 24. CORPORATE CULTURE Decision Making In general, subordinates do not expect their managers to seek their concurrence. They are comfortable complying with decisions. Again, this may depend upon the industry, the professional level of the employees concerned, and the corporate culture. Serbia is un- dergoing rapid changes which are impacting business life. Boss or Team Player? In post-communist countries, a tradition of teamwork has been inherited from the com- munal aspects of the previous era, when groups and work units commonly met to discuss ideas and create plans together. However, those plans seldom resulted in implementation or results, leading to apathy and cynicism among the workers. Today the after-effects are still evident among much of the older generation, resulting in a lack of drive and energy. However, there is vibrancy among the younger generation, who seem to be eager to tack- le many of the challenges and seize the opportunities presented. They will participate in teams and share ideas, but they will need to be coached in the process. Communication and Negotiation Styles Expect to have several meetings before ironing out business details. Developing a per- sonal relationship takes precedence over business matters. Expect a good deal of bureau- cracy and red tape, especially when dealing with government agencies. Patience may be a necessary cross-cultural attribute. Decision making takes time, as each item must be analyzed and agreed upon before moving on to the next item. Negotiation meetings are not always straightforward. It is not uncommon for Serbians to raise their voices during negotiations. Serbians are tough negotiators: your initial offer should be reasonable, but should have some wriggle-room. In Serbian language, superiors are addressed with a respectful pronoun. There is a re- spectful, professional, but friendly relationship between superiors and employees. It is common for management to share jokes and laugh with their staff. When addressing your superiors, you refer simply to their professional title rather than to Mr./Mrs/Ms. For example, if you are addressing your director, you would say: “Director, would you please sign this form”. All other colleagues you can address by their first name. In formal corre- spondence, or when you refer to a business partner in conversation, you should use Mr., Mrs. or Ms. before the last name of the person. Informally, people usually use clients’ or customers’ last names without titles. 24 Country profile SERBIALearnmera Oy www.thelanguagemenu.com
  25. 25. Veronica Gelfgren Yulia Bazyukina Marja-Liisa Helenius Research Research, layout Proofreading www.thelanguagemenu.com Learnmera Oy

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