AU Student Profile – Tania Ahlin


Readers may also be interested in reading Tania’s first Voice contribution, a travel photo feature of Portugal, published in this issue!

Hi Tania. To begin with, where do you live?

I live in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia which became a member of EU this year.

Do you live there alone, or with family?

I live with my mother and our very lazy and very hungry dog, Biba.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

There are many! First of all, I like to write and I like to think of that to be more than just a hobby. I mostly write poems and short stories (fiction and non-fiction), and I also like writing essays. I had some of these things published in my local high-school newspaper as well as elsewhere.

My second love is sailing. I just got my own little sailing boat (instead of a car, which I don’t need at all) and I can’t wait until I go to the seaside for a bit longer than just a weekend. We don’t have a lot of coast, but Croatia is a great place to go sailing–the only problem is it takes time.

I also like hiking, going to the mountains, dancing (I did some salsa courses in the past two years and now I’m taking jazz ballet courses), reading, and learning languages. Another hobby that has basically become my way of life is travelling. I’ve done quite a lot of that so far and I intend to do even more.

Can you tell us about the AU Courses you are taking at the moment, or a favourite course?

Right now I am taking Spanish (SPAN 200). I like it a lot, but to really learn a language it takes more than just a course. So far I’ve taken English 255, which I enjoyed enormously, and a course in anthropology, which is my major.

How long have you been a student? (And where)

All my life, I guess! And I will continue to be: It is just amazing how much is still there for me to learn. As for formal education, I went to high school in Ljubljana where I got my IB degree (my best schooling experience so far). I also did a lot of language courses around the world (England, France, USA and Canada).

How do you like taking courses through AU?

I love distance education for its convenience. I can take whatever courses I want, which is much more stimulating than taking prescribed courses. In Slovenia, students are unable to decide on their specific subjects–once you enrol at a certain faculty with a specific program, you are doomed to it. Furthermore, I can study when I want to. Of course this demands a lot of self-discipline, but that’s something you have to accept. What I miss in this kind of studying is meeting new people in person–class-mates (are there any?) as well as professors. After taking a language course it is also difficult to tell how well you will be able to use what you’ve learned in an everyday situation where questions and responses are not predictable (for example, how much will I be really able to communicate with a Spaniard in Barcelona after I finish my course?).

Otherwise, the AU staff have been very helpful and friendly.

Do you also work? What do you do?

I don’t have a permanent job yet, but I’m taking courses to become a translator from English and French into Slovene. I hear this is very prospective since there is a great need for translators in EU! I am also working on some projects at the moment. One of them is a literary competition (short story) for Slovenians around the world (amazing, but there are quite a lot all around–many in Cleveland for example). The competition starting this December will be the first of many, I hope.

How is AU helping you toward your goals?

My greatest wish is to have a job that would be my hobby at the same time–something that is usually difficult to achieve, but when you succeed, it must be the best way to earn your living. Than means I want a job where travel and writing are included, together with meeting people and learning about their cultures. That’s why my major at AU is anthropology, for one thing, and for the other, it permits me to do some studying abroad, which I plan to do in the near future.

What are your future goals?

Sooo many… Graduate. Write a book. Many books! Good ones, hopefully. Travel. Help those people I can help. Help those animals I can help (the environment is something we are still not ready to understand as the basis for human survival; that should change, soon). Keep my friends and find more of such people (including a boyfriend). Have family, someday. Never forget where I come from. Enjoy aurora borealis, the Great Barrier Reef, the forests of Vermont in autumn, Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Adriatic sea:. Have a dog, and the time to take care of it. I’m pretty demanding, aren’t I?

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for other students?

Work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like nobody’s watching. You’d be amazed at how this makes life more… alive.

Anything else we should know? Funny stories, praise for AU, a friend or a tutor?

I guess I’ve said it all!

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