Day Zero - Arrival
Got on my bus from Zagreb, Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia at 9am (a total of 5h30min). I had mixed feelings. I was actually going to work as an Intern at MUNPlanet in Belgrade. This was a plan I had been working hard on since November, and now it’s finally happening.
I was picked up from the bus station by Vlado. Indeed, a great guy with whom I had been communicating with since the summer of 2016, when I uploaded a video about MUNPlanet on my Youtube channel to spread the good news about such an efficient and inspiring Platform that will give you the content that will lead you to being engaged and active.I was taken to the office and meet part of the team and, afterwards, we had dinner at a traditional Serbian restaurant (Tri Sesira, meaning Three hats), where I had probably the best dinner of my life (the portion of the food were gigantic). To my surprise, a group of traditional folkloric singers played soulful music. It was definitely the cherry on top of the cake, a complete night with exquisite food and pleasant music.
Day one - Let the fun begin!
Work started at 10am. I was introduced to more members of the team. I was assigned on the same desk beside the Founder of MUNPlanet (CEO), Dusanka Ilic (trying not to feel the pressure).
I received my welcome package and read my assignments for the week. It is really exciting. I realized every duty I have been given has been well thought about, taking into account my abilities and skills.
The team work, love, helping hands at the office is amazing. This environment is so positive and caring. Now, I understand why I would want to spend a whole day at the office. We had breakfast together, delicious snacks from the bakery.
Finished work at 4pm. I was taken to the Belgrade Fortress, where we went for a walk in the park (Kalemegdan Park), near the center of the city.
I also saw the Military museum, (located in the Fortress) from 1878 with over 3000 ancient and modern items, such as, Greek helmets and daggers, Serbian heavy knight's armor, axes, shields, helmets, crossbows, armoured gloves, etc.
The beauty of the city was magnified when I saw the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Although I was freezing (I would transfer the weather from Barcelona to Belgrade), the view was worth it, but I am really hoping for a bright day, sunny or not, just to spend a day in that same spot.
Day two - Living the life!
I made it “alone” to the office. Worked on my content for the videos I will be creating. My mind is blowing with ideas.
The office is cool! No joke! We were listening to music. We sang, I, Vlado and Milan.
Friends from Spain came to visit me in Belgrade, so I showed them around the office.
In the evening, I did a 2 hours free English tour 4pm till 7pm. I learned more about history. We spoke about Yugoslavia and, of course, were offered Rakija by our tour guide. Rakija is a popular fruit brandy among South Slavs. “Maybe comparable to Vodka” (maybe…). It’s especially popular in Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, B&H, Macedonia and Montenegro- Balkan Regions. It was not my first experience with Rakija, but this one was sweeter, which I prefer.
We were exactly at Skadarlija (for now, my top spot in the city centre). Skadarlija is a vintage street, located in Stari Grad (Old town) and the main bohemian quarter of Belgrade, similar to Paris' Montmartre (seriously). Here you will find Djura Jaksic (Serbian poet, painter, writer, dramatist, bohemian), who after spending a day without alcohol ended up congratulating himself for his resistance, by drinking Rakija at the end of that day. YES! That’s how important Rakija is.
To end the day, I went to one of the famous cafes in the city.Cafes are everywhere!
Day three - Lights! Camera!ACTION!
Got to the office and had a great breakfast with the others. I was so excited to start working on the video. I had my ideas on paper, like a script, and with the help of Vlado and Ana, we started recording. I made an introductory video to MUNplanet talking about the infinite world of opportunities out there for students. Funny bloopers could not be avoided.
As always we listened to Music: Eminem, Nelly.I love this place!Milanis THE singer. He has got the X-FACTOR.
We went for lunch. Burger was really good! I did some tourism with my friends, and we visited Sveti Sava (Saint Sava), an orthodox church. Beautiful building. We took many pictures.
It was getting cold, so we went to a café for hot chocolate and pastry.
Day four - GOOD NEWS!
I woke up so excited today when I opened my eye from my bed and I saw a beautiful sunny day ahead of me. The sun was shining and I could immediately feel it would be a nice day.
At the office, Duska broke the amazing news to me. She is the best. I will be participating as a chair in , East of Turkey. All costs covered. Wow, just woow (so excited, so lucky, so blessed).
I finished work and went out with a friend to a new Café (AVIATOR). The setting is soo bright, relaxing but also fun. Later, at night, a friend and I came across a bar called Ispod Mosta, with live Serbian turba folk music (more info: Turbo-folk - Wikipedia). Guess what, despite the fact that many people are not fans of this type of music, I thought it was OK. Of course, I have NO Serbian linguistic skills but the rhythm was good.
Day four/five - Weekend fun
I slept till really late on Saturday and just watched movies: Hidden Figures (a new movie about three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit), just inspirational and highly recommend it.
Day five- Work it!
Updated my blog. Worked on my Youtube VIDEOS Ninjanspiration. Went for a walk in the city centre on a sunny day. Belgrade traffic gets really interesting around 2pm until 4pm. Way better to walk than public transport.
Day six - Valentine!!
Happy valentine's day everybody!! Nothing more special than celebrating it at the office. Music is the key to our soul.
Enjoy me dancing around at the office!! If you want to hire me, just let me dance every now and then, and I will be the most hardworking employee ever.
Day seven/eight - National Holiday!
Straight after valentine's day, two free days for everyone. Feels like they understand all the lovers needed it. Anyways, it felt more like a weekend to me. In Molerova street where I live, there was a protest against the government building the Waterfront, which would be built in the old part of the river bank. People are definitely not ready to lose the historical part of their beloved White city, Belgrade. The politicians basically want to build a Mini Dubai. I agree with the citizens it does not fit in. The protest was pacific, I saw it from my window and the MUSIC! Nice! Many young people where there, so you can see youths are getting engaged in the society and they want to have a say in what happens.
I set myself a goal. Learn basic Serbian. My host mother is helping me with that. I have some sentenced nailed down, and hopefully by the end of the Internship, I will be able to have a 20 minutes conversation with Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Montenegrins. Will make an update about my progress very soon. For now, I can introduce myself and basic greetings.
Day ten – Mother Language Day!
Lot of work to do. Writing a Study guide as a chair of a MUN.
I attended an event called LANGUAGE CAFÉ at Kulturni centar GRAD celebrating the UNESCO International Mother Language Day. Here you get to practice your language skills and talk with native speaker and meet a lot of people, which I did.
Still writing a Study guide for. Completing my tasks: post questions, answers and comments.
After work, I was so excited to go for a walk, so I strolled through Knez Mihajlova, a pedestrian zone, and there was a parade of "sergeant" ladies, dancing joyfully in a typical costume.
Have a look.
Day twelve - Keep calm!!
A day full of work at the office. Got home and had a talk about life, love,
relationships, history with my host mother.
Day thirteen - Let’s travel!
Dusanka told me I would be joining on a trip to Banja Luka. I left the office and got to the bus station where I would be picked up by car to go Banja Luka. It was a rainy afternoon, and I have learnt now to not trust the weather. I woke up to a sunny day then before I realized it the weather just went bad. I was confident it would be a good day and did not listen to the weather forecast about the rain, so I did not take a bigger jacket. Moreover, our ride was suppose to be 4 hours to Banja Luka, but the rain and the heavy Belgrade traffic turned a 4 hours journey into a whole evening journey, we left Belgrade around 16:30h and arrived at our destination at 23h.
I am a simple passenger, so I slept throughout the whole ride. Upon our arrival, we visited a friend of Zvejezdana and Jovana (both work at Impact Hub Belgrade), and there I met a lovely lady, married to a Spanish man from Barcelona, so I spoke Spanish the whole night during my first hours in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That was such a long day.
Day fourteen - Ćevapi LOOVE! (READ this if you are a food lover, we all are)!
I went to the city centre to discover Banja Luka. My impression of this city is great. It is small but big enough to do everything. The river side is beautiful, the castle, the market side. Orthodox churches beside mosques.
I was given the chance to give a talk on my experience on international mobilityand I was more than grateful and happy to do so, because there is nothing I am most enthusiastic and proud of as I am about international experiences and youth growth in the field of education.
At the end ofmy little speech which I started with some basic Serbian sentences I learnt to introduce myself, felt the warmth and acceptance of the audience which was formed by young students around the ages of 20 to 30.
It was indeed a great experience. The setting and the locaton of the event was every uplifting and welcoming. It was a huge success.
After that, it was lunch time. I was more than excited to eat the one and onlyBosnia and Herzegovina food, I had been waiting forĆevapcici,That's how good it is. Dreams come true.Worth traveling to this beautiful country just to eat this. Can't wait to go toSaravejoand taste how good it is also there. Ćevapi also known as “Ćevapcici”, the dish of minced meat, popular in #Bosnia and #Herzegovina.
Day fifteen - Sleep day!
I just slept, woke up, tried to get up but slept again. Then continued working on the Study guide on world-health-organization for Munef.
Ended my day with some fun salsa. Just imagine, I was in a place calledBarrio Latino, which is a street in Belgrade, where you can Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba all you want. Really cool place for lovers of latin dance.