As sophomore Josip Basan walks into the welcoming doors of Niles West for his early bird chemistry class, his day has only just begun. He’s at school from 7:53 and doesn’t end until ninth period at 3:23. With much more to come with his day, Basan has nine classes in total with no lunch or study hall. The one thing that is able to keep him going through his day is knowing that he will soon enter his favorite language classes that truly entertain him.
One of Basan’s hobbies is being involved in other cultures and learning more about them by reading about them or actually participating. He goes to French Club on Mondays depending on his busy schedule, and later in the week participates in a Croatian cultural group called Klub Stepinac to perform traditional dances and instrumental pieces. Basan especially likes being a part of his Croatian culture group because he’s able to connect to it even though he lives far from Croatia. He’s also able to catch up with Croatian friends that he doesn’t see a lot.
Basan also enjoys learning how to speak different languages. He is currently fully fluent in Croatian and English, conversational in French, Chinese, Spanish, German, Russian, and has a basic understanding of Japanese, Korean, Italian, and Norwegian. His passionate interest to explore types of languages began in sixth grade. “I’ve always liked to read and write, and in 6th grade I began to play around with Duolingo and learn Norwegian for fun. After that I did German and it just spiraled into what it is today. Sometimes if I’m bored, I’ll just learn the script of the language which I did with Greek. Not only do I enjoy the language, but I also like learning about the history and current happening of those cultures, and so much more is accessible when you can understand their native language,” Basan said.
Basan takes all four language classes offered Spanish, German, French and Chinese. He takes them all at the second level except for French, which he takes at level one. With having each of them everyday right after each other, it takes him a second to flip the switch from each language, but other than that it’s a smooth transition for him. This impressive talent doesn’t go without being spoken of, and his friends are astonished by this everyday. “It’s fascinating how he is able to learn all these languages at one while still doing the other necessary/essential classes at an advanced level, ” sophomore Shanna Kaldani said.
With so little free time at school, Basan still manages to excede the requests of friends. “Josip is a kind, generous person always free to lend a hand,” sophomore Celina Saba said.
Basan enjoys learning all these languages and hasn’t stopped since he was in sixth grade because it has changed his life for the better, and hopefully other people’s too. “I can connect with so many more people and I think that people are more likely to be kind or open to you if you have something in common with them, such as a language. Just possibly being able to help people if they ever seem to need help translating would be possible and helpful and it will make me feel like I can make more of an impact,”Basan said.
As his passion for this has grown stronger, he is already planning on how it can impact him in the future and better himself as a person. Basan chose to get into this hobby because it can help him career-wise in the future and it can impact other people in the world who need translation. This can make a person that feels lost and alone have some comfort. “In the future I want to focus on a career that has to do with languages either in international business or law. I also have thought about doing something with English in foreign countries as a possibility,” Basan said.
Basan is an amazing friend who can converse with you in a multitude of languages- test his knowledge in the hallway the next time you see him and say “hi” in a foreign language!