By Bilsana Bibic
We were just discussing how international students from many countries choose an English name when they study in an English speaking country. For example, my friend from the Republic of Georgia changed her name from Elene to Helen, so it’s easier for people to remember it. My friend from China picked Daniel because he likes how it sounds and because you can shout it out loud and it still sounds great. Another one of my friends chose Shiny because it reflected her personality well.
As for me, even though Bilsana is an unusual name (without a clear origin even though it possibly comes from one of the Indonesian islands), I decided to keep it and do not even bother with transliteration of my last name – Bibic to Bibitzche, for example. I find that most people don’t have a difficulty in prounouncing my first name. In fact, since it is an unsual name, most of the people from my town in Montenegro get it wrong and pronounce it Bilsena rather than Bilsana. So I hear my name correctly propunced more often here than at home.
What kind of name would you pick if you got a chance? I think I would choose a foreign name, unusual, but not difficult to pronounce, with a cool meaning that reflects my personality and an interesting origin story.