How did you decide to apply for the Zoran Djindjic Internship Programme of German Business?
My sister who participated in the Zoran Djindjic Program for young professionals in Austria told me about it and suggested I should apply. I went to a presentation of the Program held on the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad where I studied electrical engineering.
One could hear some interesting facts from the moderators – alumni Milos and coordinator Sascha. For instance, Milos told us there is no minimum grade average required to apply, which was indeed good news and cheered a bunch of us sitting in the last rows. Sascha, on the other hand, told the following story – if u had to sell sausages to provide for your studies please write it in your motivation letter, we want to have people who did something in their lives except learning. Just now I realized why of all things he mentioned sausages.
This gave mi ideas, I wrote a motivation letter, was later invited to the interview, made the interviewers laugh, and finally got the scholarship.
How did the Internship Programme begin?
In May 2010 we had two weeks of preparation course in Belgrade for learning German. This was more than fun since I’ve got to know the other participants but I`ll refer to them later. We had some inspiring German professors. I remember it was really a pleasure working in those groups. And going out in Belgrade afterward.
Two months later we went to Berlin. That was probably the most fulfilling week for me ever. In Berlin, they took us everywhere, from ministries to embassies, from museums to historical places, from bars to night clubs. I had the pleasure of meeting the Serbian Ambassador of that time, Mr.Viskovic, eating grill and playing football in the backyard of the embassy.
Where did you conduct your internship? What were your experiences in the professional field?
My internship took place in Draeger Safety AG in the city of Lübeck. Draeger produces safety equipment such as protective clothing and masks, gas detecting devices, etc. I was in the Department for device testing and planning. My mentor Joachim who is a very nice guy was instructing and following my internship in the field of sensor testing for three months. There I’ve got to know the German way of working and thinking. And love for Mercedes, beer, and currywurst.
How did you like Lübeck? Have you made any local friends?
Lübeck is a great city especially in that period – July, August, I had a feeling of Mediterranean when I just arrived. The medieval city center, actually an island, is a UNESCO heritage site. Lübeck is well known for its marzipan. On my first day, there were demonstrations held in order not to sell the building of the Medical faculty for some other purpose. That impressed me. I still envy the Germans on their wiliness and fearlessness to fight for their rights.
Friends yes, especially a college of mine from Draeger –Felix, a blond tall guy with a charming smile and big heart. We made a short trip to Kopenhagen together. I imagined him being my Huckleberry Finn.
What were your impressions of Germany in general?
I judge Germany of that time mostly from my travelings with the other internship holders. It is important to emphasize that only since the end of the year before we didn’t need visas for traveling in Europe. And we all were eager to. Each weekend we’ve traveled and explored a different place. We’ve visited every major German city, went together to Amsterdam, Madrid, Majorca…
Some of those people went on to become my best friends. We still meet on a regular basis – either private or on alumni meetings and conferences. Exchanging experiences, knowledge, and good energy. I had the fortune to find for the first time people who were totally like me. And now we are all a part of the alumni family.
How would u summarize your participation in the Programme?
A brief glimpse into German business and society combined with excellent regional networking. Great life experience and career reference. And the most important positive life-changing which is something that I equally wish to each future participant.
Branislav, Generation 2010