Escape your comfort zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch

While I am writing this blog post, it’s been exactly two months since I started off my internship adventure in Germany and I am feeling sad because of the fact that I have only one more month of the internship. I just got used to the environment, people and German discipline.

At the end of June, 66 of scholars from the Balkan region had the opportunity to spend seven days in Berlin on a preparatory week. During the preparatory week, we had lectures on Germany life and work, we visited the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel as well. Aaand, we learned to dance (I think this should be a practice for the future, too). The July 1st was the day when all scholars got on the road to their cities where they received internship, and the three of us got on the road to Hamburg.

The office of Chancelor Merkel, Berlin

The beginning of July 2018. was completely different for me from previous years. For the first working day, I decided to wear business suit (I shouldn’t have done this, you will realize soon why :D).

Moin” – was the first word I heard when I entered EOS Holding company building (this is a typical way to say “Hi” in the northern part of Germany). I arrived at about 11:00 in the company and a meeting of about 15 people was held in the office.

Already at the entrance to the office, I saw that everyone look at me strange and I saw their laughter on their faces. It was a meeting of the department where I am doing internship, and the most of them were software developers, and they are usually dressed relaxed. Honestly, I would laugh now if I had seen someone dressed like that.

The same day, I found out that my main task will be the development of chatbot with artificial intelligence included. At first glance, it was challenging task for me, I honestly never developed it until then, but as a future IT engineer, I was excited to get the challenging task at the very beginning.

During my first week, I started to realize what German disciplines mean, where everyone knows their part of the job and where you need to work with strict procedures. When it comes to the working condition, I think it couldn’t have been better. I received the latest generation laptop, a monthly gym membership with personal trainer included, a professional massage several times a month and many more.

“German standard” – Balkan people would say.

EOS Holding Summer Program for Interns, Hamburg

My main goal of coming to Germany is understanding their way of thinking and in what way their business environment works, because I want to transfer this experience to Serbia. In addition, one of my goals was to get to know more people and culture and expand my acquaintances around the world because I think networking is very important in the professional world (I’ve met people from Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, Thailand, USA, Iran, Sweden and Romania).

Getting to know new people has led me to receive an invitation to be one of the lecturers at a students conference in Hamburg and I had a pleasure to speak about entrepreneurship. The feeling when you come from a small country and have the opportunity to give a speech to foreign students and entrepreneurs in Germany is invaluable. After the lecture, several people came to me and gave me a business card to get in touch with them. One of them was also the chief of a company who seriously asked me if I wanted to work for them. We are currently in negotiating process. Believe me, networking can bring you far away.

Student conference in Hamburg

The internship itself in Germany brought me the opportunity to meet other scholars from the Balkan region and to understand that there is no barrier between us. During your stay on the internship, you have the unique opportunity to visit other scholarship holders and to explore Germany. One of these visits was also a visit to scholars in Dusseldorf. It’s nice to see people with whom you share the same fate and with whom you can share experiences from internship. Now, I am preparing for my next trip to Frankfurt and Munich.

Scholarship holders visit Dusseldorf

After two months, I can surely say that this is a program that has completely changed my view of the world. I started to adopt German discipline and way of thinking. There is a stereotype in the world that the Germans as a nation are cold, but I have not experienced that so much, and I have a completely different view on them.

One of the greatest strengths of this program is the alumni community. There are three of us in Hamburg at the moment, and we had the opportunity to meet alumni Goran, who gave us tips and tricks for life in Hamburg and Germany in general.

Meeting with alumnus Goran, Hamburg

Finally, I would like to tell to the future scholarship holders to be proactive and creative, because the Germans know how to appreciate it. Two weeks ago, I publicly suggested an idea for innovation in the company, and I personally received a support message from the member of the EOS Group’s board of directors. As things stand, the idea will be implemented and have an impact on over 7500 employees around the world.

For the future applicants, I would highly recommend you to apply for Zoran Djindjic’s scholarship program because you will get an opportunity to escape from your comfort zone and develop yourself professionally.

Tschüss!

Dušan Petrović, Generation 2018