One click away from lifelong friendships and top-level experiments

It was exactly 11 months ago, in October 2017, I was travelling to Stuttgart and reading news on the Internet. My attention was drawn by an image with strong colours, where it was written: “Internship Programme of German Business for the Countries of the Western Balkans“. I put my finger on „read more“, and while reading the text, I thought for myself: It sounds too good to come true for me.

The 2nd May, 2018 I travel to Berlin at the Institute of Agricultural and Urban Ecological Projects at the Humboldt University Berlin (IASP), the name just sounds good, isn’t it?

Still unaware of what is happening, I am leaving behind my job (almost two years of work experience I’ve had in practice), have cancelled my trip to California and left unresolved exams at the Master studies. A little bit crazy, many of you will think that, while reading the story.

I came, confused, around me new people with smiles on the faces. For the first impression they were too kind, since I was of the opinion that the Germans were rather straightforward and cold people.  I think for myself, they will probably be such for a few days until I get involved, but I was wrong.

During my stay there, I had full support of my mentor, as well as other employees at the Institute’s station. What is interesting is that I’ve become a better friend with a mentor’s wife than with him 🙂 Sometimes I spent the weekend with them, on the beautiful, natural lake.

Do you know the folk saying: “Do not judge at first glance”. In the next few sentences you will realize why this saying is truthful.

The Institute’s demonstration fields are located 30 minutes away from Berlin, where they also have their living facilities. Every year, at the Institute, two interns work at the same time, and they share the apartment together. However, this year an extraordinary situation has happened. I received an email from the project manager in which was written:  “You will have another intern with you from Ireland, but this person will only arrive in a week”.

I thought nothing terrible, I’d be 7 days alone, I’d meet a new girl; it is nice to expand acquaintance. Expecting a girl from Ireland, a guy from Nigeria who lives in Ireland, came there. My first reaction was: “Oh my God! Next three months with that guy? What is next? Now, I could definitely say that everything in life happens with a reason. That guy provided me the greatest support during my internship. A new friendship was born. 🙂

Also, by chance, I met people from Pakistan, Poland, China, the Netherlands, with whom I organized an international gathering. In the middle of the situation you are in, you realize that you have become a more positive and open-minded person.

After two months of my stay in Germany, there was an introductory week. These were definitely special days with laughter to tears. Sixty six positive people all different in their own way, but at the same time so special. Also, organization by the project team was top notch, every detail was planned.

On the last day of June, I returned under impression and with positive energy to my workplace, but at the same time I was overwhelmed with the thought: Just one month more?

Now when I sum it up, I can only say: wonderful time and wonderful people. I lost some things, but I got a lot more (lifelong friendships, better professional skills, a mentor who is always ready to help me and I have completed a top-level experiment for master’s degree).

I have always been a collector of memories and I am especially happy to know that I will have a lot of beautiful moments by virtue of this Programme and the best Alumni club.

Through this experience, I’ve become a better version of myself. If you also want it, apply for this program and experience the moments you will remember for a life.

P.S … And yes, I would repeat it all again! 🙂

Emina Mešinović, Generation 2018