It has been sixteen years since Zoran Djindjic Internship Programme of German Business started welcoming a new generation of scholarship holders every year. On the 1st of July, students and young graduates from the countries of the Western Balkans spread across Germany to find the cities and companies that will host them for the next three to six months.
To ensure their smooth start in Germany, the Programme team organizes preparatory meetings in all seven countries of the Programme. The wonderful finale of all these activities is an introductory week in Berlin, which always takes place during the last week of June.
This is the moment when all scholarship holders from the generation finally get together. With seventy four members, the sixteenth generation of the Programme is the largest so far! We are very proud of the fact that our Programme grows together with its participants.
So, how did the Programme prepare them for their stay in Germany?
Take a sneak peek into our carefully planned and intentionally designed preparatory activities…
The Programme team delivered many workshops aimed to transfer the knowledge and experiences gathered after guiding sixteen generations via the same path. From administrative matters to cultural shock – we did our best to cover all relevant topics and prepare the interns for their future obligations.
Getting to know each other
Within the workshops, the scholarship holders were also getting the tasks that helped them to get to know each other better. During the next several months, the most precious support and help they’ll get will actually come from the peers that are going through the same experience. They were asked to group themselves by their professions or the regions of Germany they will be living in. For more personal questions, they even had to interview each other!
Besides discovering trivia facts about their colleagues and friends, they also had to learn to collaborate. Many tasks included teamwork and although the group was big, they all handled it perfectly.
Team building activities
The generation was also bonding through creative team building activities. We played beach volleyball and made the first swing steps together!
Another important goal of the introductory week is to provide scholarship holders an opportunity to meet representatives of various German institutions, stakeholders and partners of our project. The group visited Federal Chancellors’ Office and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). They also met with the representative of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What is more, they could ask questions about the region, their countries and their path to the European Union.
Introducing the mentors
Although our scholarships holders already got in contact with their employers before they came to Germany, we invited their future colleagues to join our reception. This way, the interns could talk with their mentors in a friendly atmosphere and introduce themselves in person before the first day in the office.
An insight into the German economy was provided through company visits. The generation was divided into three teams, that had the chance to visit Vattenfall, coal-fired power plant Reuter-West, ICE company of the Deutsche Bahn and the Technology Park of Adlershof. Once again, scholarship holders were allowed to ask questions and discuss different business processes with the representatives of these companies.
Getting to know Berlin and Germany
The schedule was busy, but we did manage to see some of the Berlin’s attractions, such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, and Berliner Dom. Plus, the coordinators of the Programme delivered a presentation about history, culture, and economy of Germany, helping the students to acquire a wider picture of the country that will be their home for the next six months.
The end of the introductory week Berlin meant that it was time for scholarship holders to go to their internship cities. The Programme team stands ready to support them during the next six months. We are looking forward to gathering the whole generation again for the midterm-meeting in Freiburg, that will take place in August.