From the moment I set foot in Belgrade I was surrounded by lovely people. The IAESTE volunteers welcomed me warmly and helped me settle in to my student dormitory where I met many other exchange students from all over the world. Arriving in August, I was one of the late-comers, and I quickly realised what a strong bond many of the students had already formed – quickly wishing I had been there from the start but at the same time excited for the journey that was about to begin.
The first week was about adjusting to the working routine, and trying to get out and about with the other students. Being surrounded by others working in the technical field, not just office colleagues but students working in other companies, was fantastic. We were all here to do the same thing yet we all brought so many different cultures and stories – this fascinated me till the very end. The working experience also brought this diversity to the table, making it very interesting to see a different perspective to the architecture field and to observe how the office comes together to make things happen. It was great to be able to step out of my Maltese bubble for a while.
The summer unfolded to be a wonderful series of professional and friendly encounters. Managing my time as best as possible to try and take in as much of the city and its surroundings. We attended IAESTE events, festivals and even planned weekend trips to neighbouring countries – always returning to Belgrade as though it were my home, with the others students waiting for us like family. Returning to Malta, I can safely say that this opportunity has widened my horizons. I have learnt lessons not only in my career training but in life, have formed bonds I will remember forever and have caught the ‘travel bug’ for love of forming new friendships and experiencing new cultures. Thank you IAESTE!