This is an unofficial translation of the 2nd part of article from our partners Uniser. Original article in Italian language is available here. We invite you to also read the 1st part of the article, which can be found lower on this page.
Participants of MY FVG - Mobility of Young students for Friuli Venezia Giulia TOURism industry project were doing their work practice in Maribor in February 2020. Here is the 2nd part of their point of view on the whole experience!
I decided to take part in the Erasmus + project because my dream is to go to work (and maybe even study) abroad once I finish high school. For this reason I thought that Erasmus would be the perfect opportunity to test myself in the world of work for the first time, but also to connect myself with new people, learn from them as well and maybe be able to open up a little more. Before leaving I would have loved to be able to go to Perpignan or Paphos, Maribor was the last city in my ranking. This was mainly because of the weather (I definitely prefer the warm climate) and because Maribor is a city that I had already visited in the past, so I would have liked to go to a totally new place. So I can't deny that I was a little disappointed when I found out I was going to Maribor. Anyway, I decided to face this experience in the best way, open to any type of teaching that the city and its inhabitants could offer me. And I'm glad I didn't get down! Because my experience has gone a thousand times better than I ever could expect!
The city surprised me. First of all, I realized how little I remembered from my previous visit; incidentally, only the oldest vine in the world. I can therefore say that my stay in Maribor was a completely new experience for me. I really like the city. It is small and not confusing, very livable, but at the same time it is active and lively. I love having movement around me to feel part of something bigger, which rarely happens in the tiny village where I come from. The outskirts of Maribor also caught me! The bus ride every day was a magical experience for me; thinking about how many different stories intertwine on those seats is a deeply comforting feeling. I love to fantasize about the story of the people I meet or those I don't see physically, but whose tangible traces I can see (even a simple receipt fallen on the bus floor).
Not only did the city surprise me, but also my group. I was afraid of not being able to integrate at the beginning. I am by nature a rather reserved and shy person with people I don't know, but I think I am managing to overcome these limits of mine, also thanks to this project. My companions are all nice and funny and it was a pleasure for me to spend time with them (although I always needed some time to spend alone with myself, to recharge my "social battery" ).
Unfortunately at the beginning of the experience I had some small health problems. Because of this, I was unable to attend training meetings with ZNI and I also had to postpone my job interview and the actual start of the work practice. Either way, I was lucky enough to recover rather quickly to enjoy the rest of the experience to the fullest .
On the first Saturday, Culture Day, I was not at work, unlike many of my other companions, so I and the few left in the dormitory decided to take a tour of the city and maybe discover some new places, or check which museums were open being a national holiday. We visited an art gallery, as small as it is, it is splendid in my eyes. The atmosphere was comfortable and warm and I loved the works on display, which were the result of a course held within the small drawing school. Later we decided to have a drink in a bar and have a conversation together: an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better and get a little more confident! In the evening we met with some guys who had just finished working and had dinner together. Together with mature and not frightened people I was able to face even more thorny speeches; it was a really nice evening.
Speaking of hostel, I found myself very well. I confess that the first impact was not the best, I was afraid of not being able to adapt because the structure certainly did not offer all the comforts of my home. However I must say that I managed to settle in immediately, so much so that when I entered the apartment I had the feeling of being at home. Sharing the spaces with the other girls might have seemed like a challenge before leaving, instead everything worked much better than I thought!
The first Sunday we went on a trip to Pohorje mountain together with another group from Ireland. The trip was organized by ZNI. Fortunately the weather was in our favor, there was a bright sun and it wasn't even too cold, so I was able to enjoy the landscape and the view from the top of the observation tower. I would have liked to see a little more snow though! The only snow that was there was the one on the slopes, and it wasn't natural. The highlight of the day was the skating rink. We decided to go skating together with the Irish group and it was a lot of fun. Actually I don't know how to skate at all, but perhaps this was the beauty of it. Some guys tried to teach me, we danced together on the ice, competed and laughed endlessly.
In the evening, however, I experienced some anxiety at the thought of having to start work the next day. I had never had a work experience before that moment, I had never even had an interview, so I was definitely tense. In hindsight, I can say that anxiety was absolutely unnecessary. I had a great time in my workplace, the MarTura tourist agency. My tutor and the other colleagues were all young, friendly and helpful and immediately made me feel completely at ease. There has never been a time when I felt out of place, and I have always been assigned numerous tasks to never leave me idle. Studying languages I was in charge, together with my classmate Miriam, mainly for translation work (in Italian and German), but also for more particular tasks such as market analysis. I had never heard of them before and I thought I would be in great difficulty, instead I received precise indications and I managed rather well, also receiving many compliments from the tutor.
I think this was a wonderful opportunity that will leave me very much, both professionally and personally.
I was completely involved in the company immediately, which I absolutely did not expect being a simple intern for a couple of weeks. Instead after ten minutes of conversation I had already been proposed to participate in an international tourism fair in Serbia! It would have been a great opportunity, but unfortunately I was unable to participate because I am not yet of legal age. In any case, I could have used the time I spent at the fair to spend time with my companions and to explore the city even better.
On the second Saturday we decided to take a short (but extremely intense) trip to Budapest. It was a wonderful day! In such a short time we have been able to see most of the most important attractions of the city, at least from the outside, and I had a great time. The icing on the cake was the perfect weather conditions to say the least: it looked like a real spring day, hot and sunny. The sky was crystal clear and from the various elevated observation points, such as Citadel and Buda Castle, we could see the whole city. I fell in love with Budapest instantly, as soon as we got off the tram in front of the Central Market, our first stop, and I would love to be able to go back to visit it at its best. During Erasmus there was not only work and effort, but also a lot of fun and personal and cultural enrichment.
Obviously, however, some difficulties were not lacking. The management of the activities, as time went on (very fast!), has become quite complex. Deciding who would cook, wash, do the washing machines and allocate various days to all other commitments (such as reports, internship diary, English course, but also more fun occupations such as dinners in restaurants and visits to museums) wasn't simple, because coordinating a group of eleven people is certainly not like managing the commitments of a single person. This is also a great lesson from the project: learning to live together and share the various tasks to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
The last week has been really intense. Until Wednesday I continued to work at the MarTura agency, but on Thursday I had to change the hosting company because my tutor and his colleague had to leave for the Belgrade fair, where we couldn't go. So, on Thursday, Miriam and I were assigned to another travel agency, the Van Gogh Agency. I also felt comfortable in the new work environment, where I was assigned the revision of Italian translations of the company's tourism programs and a search for Italian travel agencies to contact for any collaborations. However, I must say that I felt more comfortable in the first company, because in my opinion the environment was more friendly and free; I almost didn't feel like working, it was a pleasantly spent time. So maybe it was good for me to experiment with a different context, a little more rigid than the first one. In this way I will be prepared to face different (work) situations in the future.
As for fun, one of the most beautiful evenings of the entire Erasmus period was the one at the Escape Room. It was recommended to us by our magnificent accompanying tutor Sara, who has always been very concerned about our duties but never neglected the pleasures, making the experience rich and unforgettable. The escape room was a lot of fun and one of the most adrenaline and tension (positive) moments of my whole life. It also put our teamworking skills to the test and I think it made us a more united group.Paragraph. Haz clic aquí para editar.
On the last Sunday we went with the Polish and Spanish boys to the Kurentovanje (carnival) of Ptuj . Almost all of us dressed up and attended the parade, watching the characteristic Kurent and many groups from Slovenia and all over Europe parading before us. The day was a lot of fun and I'm happy to have been able to take part; the same applies to all the extra-work activities that have been proposed to us, as they have contributed to making this experience truly interesting and unique.
As I mentioned, however, Sara did not compromise when it came to duties (documents, reports to document the experience, the video presentation of the project ...). In fact, the last week has been very busy also due to all the formalities. I must admit that I have not been very good at managing times and meeting deadlines, but certainly this has served as a useful lesson for the future.
When I found out I was leaving for Maribor, I expected it to be a modern and chaotic city submerged by snow, perhaps because I knew that the world ski championships are usually held in this city. Instead, there was no snow on arrival, the city is quiet and very living-friendly, but despite this, Maribor has offered us many different attractions such as the Escape room, various museums and also several restaurants like the Balkan and Vietnamese. The thing I liked most about this small reality are the multiple bridges in the middle of the city where you can enjoy an incredible view.
As for the internship, I wished to do it in the pastry shop: this was because in the previous internship, I had discovered my passion for this specialization.
On 3 February the moment of departure arrived. Upon arrival, the first impact with the hostel was fantastic, everything was very clean and well maintained and the coexistence with the companions was easy and immediately started well.
In the following days, after the training days, I discovered that I would have spent my internship hours at the Nana Coffee and Bistrot, a bar restaurant located in the central square of Maribor which is usually always very crowded, having many seats inside but also some pretty tables outside. Unfortunately, during the period of my internship, the main square was home to renovations and customers could only sit inside. The work at the beginning did not go in the best way because there were some problems, such as the pastry techniques or the language barrier, which made communication with other employees difficult. For this reason, during the first few days my attitude was not the most positive, despite being a sunny person. The first working week then started uphill.
Fortunately, however, the weekend arrived and I was able to spend some free time with my Erasmus friends. Thanks to ZNI, we went to Pohorje: we climbed the mountain with the cable car and took a walk to see the panorama. Here we made friends with an Erasmus group of Irish people with whom we decided to go ice skating: it was all very nice and fun and time flew by: in the blink of an eye it was already time to go back to work. Before doing so, however, Aurora and Sara, our group leader, looked for a solution to improve our working situation: we downloaded an app with the voice translator in Slovenian and we showed off our best smile as soon as we entered the Nana door. Our technique worked and we broke the ice.
In fact, the second week went much better than the first: I made friends with one of the chefs who started me to entrust more and more complicated tasks, as confidence in me grew. For example, he started to explain all the preparations of the dishes on the menu and even made me prepare some dishes for the customers, including pancakes. Of course, in the dead moments or in those with the greatest turnout when they did not have time to follow me (such as on Valentine's day), I also had to continue to carry out ordinary tasks, but this is also part of the job.
And so another working week was over. On Saturday we chose to go to Budapest . Arriving at the station, we headed straight to the center to start our tour as tourists: first we went to see the central market and then we moved to the Citadel: to reach it we had a nice walk to get to the top, but it was worth it because the view from here is wonderful . After that we went to visit the Buda Castle and the Matthias Church, which surprisingly I really liked it.
Then we saw the shoes on the Danube, Margaret Island where we rented a rickshaw to go around the island and I had a lot of fun, while the Japanese garden was a little disappointing because it did not correspond to what we had seen on the web before departure ... perhaps seen in the summer it would have been more beautiful with all the flowering trees. Finally we went to see the Parliament and the Heroes' Square, really beautiful. It was a very nice experience and I had a lot of fun, for sure I will be back.
In the last week we have done a lot of things in our free time for example we went to eat at the Vietnamese restaurant, for me a new culinary experience that I really liked and we also tried a Balkan restaurant where we ate really delicious typical dishes.
This experience was really beautiful especially thanks to the group leader Sara who made us feel immediately at ease thanks to her very sunny character and always willing to help. This experience certainly made me mature even more because I learned how to live alone and how many things you need to do without the help of your parents, such as washing your kitchen uniform every day and ironing it, getting food, going grocery shopping. I would recommend everyone to have this experience because first of all you have a lot of fun even if you have to work every day, and then because you can do many cultural and recreational activities that make you discover a new world.
Hi, my name is Aurora, I am attending the fourth year of the hotel in Grado and I am studying to become a cook. I chose to participate in Erasmus plus to be able to learn a lot of things in different areas, especially new dishes to cook.
Before leaving for Maribor I expected a beautiful city full of people at any time of day or evening, since it is also a university city. When I arrived, I realized that Maribor is actually quite similar to other places in Slovenia that I have already seen: living not far from the border I had already visited some of them and Maribor did not seem to me to be so different. At first, I wasn't excited about our hostel. Despite this, thanks to my spirit of adaptation I knew that it would not be the biggest problem. Fortunately, coexistence with the others in my group went well from the start and after only one week we have already made friends and made a group and over time this bond has significantly strengthened.
With the internship at the Nana Coffee and Bistrot, the same place where Silvia did it, initially there were some problems such as making yourself understood in a foreign language that I don't know. Later, however, thanks to a voice translator, an app that listens to your voice and immediately translates it into the entered language, we had a significant change: we started talking to the cook on various topics, we translated the terms that made up the orders and we have proved to be much more autonomous. This has led some chefs to trust us more and in fact the tasks have become increasingly demanding and stimulating.
During the first weekend we went to Pohorje, the mountain above Maribor, where the ski world championships are usually held at this time. Precisely for this reason, all of us were excited at the idea of being in the snow for a while, but in reality there was a climate that seemed like spring. We also found that the championships this year would be in another city for this very reason. A little disappointed, we decided to make a change to the day by going ice skating: it was a great choice because we had a lot of fun. The following weekend, on Saturday we went to Budapest , a really beautiful city, full of people and fun opportunities. The thing I liked most was the Heroes' Square and the shoes on the Danube bank.
The Erasmus experience was wonderful, above all because it is a moment of growth, in which new experiences are made and new people are known. This month away from home has made me mature a lot for the simple fact of having to get by myself in every situation, from washing my things independently, to preparing meals even if you are tired ... in short, it offers you a world view from another perspective, without parents being there to help you at all times, even with the support of a tutor ready to give you advice in every moment of need.
Finally, I recommend this experience to everyone because in a month you change your thinking, your lifestyle and make new acquaintances that you would never have thought of before, learning to know people "equal" to you and at the same time also completely "different", so the secret lies in finding the right compromise to be comfortable with everyone in harmony.
Before leaving for Maribor, I expected the city to have a very gloomy climate with little life. Instead when I arrived I found a large city as a whole, but very quiet as Amsterdam and Turin, large cities very suitable for lovers of calm and families.
Maribor is a city rich in history as we could learn from Uros, the guide of the Liberation Museum. He told us a lot of anecdotes about the family who first had electricity, his ties to Hitler and the communist regime period. From the museum you can see the pyramid overlooking Maribor dedicated to Mark Burg, from which then the city took the name Markburg. When Yugoslavia was formed, the city took the name of Maribor: Mar-i-bor which means cure and battle: because of its beauty but also because of the blood that was shed. In addition, Maribor has a very particular feature of having the oldest vine in the world and I was really excited to see it.
I found myself in Maribor really well, it is a city to which Italy must take as an example as punctuality is respect for the highway code.
Our hostel had all the facilities to live well including a gym and it is above all nice to eat together as a family. I was doing my work practice at Nana, a truly professional bistro where I was learning to make real paintings on the coffee drinks: latte art. I felt comfortable around colleagues, which were always ready to teach me everything and to make a wonderful work day without the stress.
There I started understanding that the job of bartender is not only to serve but it is also art!
On the weekend we had fun because we went on an excursion to Pohorje mountain, famous for the ski world championships where I was able to taste goulash. Finally we went ice skating in the city center where after several falls we also tried to dance on the ice.
In the second week we all organized together on the homework to be done in the hostel. At work I made progress with latte art and learned a few words in Slovenian.
During the weekend we did the most awaited thing of the whole trip: the visit to the city of Budapest . We visited practically all the monuments of the city and it was something unique: we saw the citadel, the Buda castle, passing through the Margaret island which is located in the middle of the Danube, where we took a ride with the rickshaw and then did a last trip to Pest, where we visited the wonderful heroes' square and finally, to top it off, the historic Via Pál, an integral part of Ferenc Molnàr's majestic novel.
Unfortunately, the last week of this incredible journey that made me feel free and full of life came. After having regularly carried out my work, we had time to make new experiences, such as the typical Balkan restaurant where we ate together with the Irish boys and the Vietnamese restaurant, which even if it is not native it was like diving for a now in the world of Southeast Asia.
Our group leader Sara proposed and accompanied us to the escape room, where we had to solve logical quizzes to try to get out of the room with a Maribor setting during the plague. On the last Saturday I enjoyed a breathtaking fiery red sunset on the bank of the drava with a lot of swans. On Sunday we participated in the carnival of Ptuj, very beautiful and characteristic.
Finally on the last day we held a final meeting with ZNI on the rooftop garden on top of the skyscraper with an amazing view of the Maribor skyline.
This experience was truly beautiful, especially because it will be unforgettable: it is very educational both from a working and a domestic point of view, in fact you learn to manage your time and your commitments in a completely autonomous way, so you learn that as soon as you do the duty, you will have time to enjoy the pleasure of your free time, in my case with a group that is truly special.
For these reasons I would recommend an Erasmus experience to anyone, an opportunity to discover new mentalities, cultures and traditions!
Hi, my name is Raffaele and on 3 February I left for my first Erasmus experience in Maribor, Slovenia. The first impression of the city was nice, in before arrival I expected a small and quiet town, instead it overcame my expectations, proving to be a much more lively city than I expected. Maribor also has an incredible story, people are really friendly. The first imoression of the hostel was not bad either, except for the receptionist who welcomed us: at first glance she seemed very grumpy and angry, but then I realized that actually "Slovene way" of working is normally a little colder than we are used to in Italy.
The company is wonderful, we made friends immediately the first few days, with some earlier than others, but I couldn't ask for anything better. The work went very well, no problem, there is mutual respect and they make me do various tasks: since I study economics they have entrusted me with the task of cashier, but in addition to that I do a lot of other tasks, like taking inventory, cleaning the products and shelves, helping people find the product they need, arranging the shelves, in addition, the colleagues are really nice, and they speak English very well. Our shop sells handmade souvenirs and typical Slovenian products of excellent quality. It is a pity that in this period there is not a large influx of tourists, probably also due to the cancellation of the world ski championships.
During the weekends, when everyone was free from work commitments, we did various activities: the first Sunday we went to Pohorije , where we met a group of Irish boys. We went for a walk in the mountains, climbed to the top we found an old metal tower, from the tower you could see all of Maribor, a really nice view! After several photos we went to eat, where I took the opportunity to taste new things: I tried the goulash and I must say that it was not bad at all. In the afternoon we went skating, where between falls and races we had a lot of fun.
The second week I started working more independently, I talked with customers and I used the cash register alone, I also had to take care of cleaning the products and shelves and I took care of taking inventory, then I helped colleagues to "produce" some products, in practice I painted a stone that my colleagues appreciated very much, in fact they exhibited it among the products to see.
Over the weekend we went to Budapest , where we saw many monuments such as: the church in the rock, the citadel, the Buda castle, the Pàl street, the general market of Budapest, the Heroes' Square, the shoes on the Danube and many others : it was a great trip, I had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed exploring a new city.
During the third week my job was completely independent, I helped several customers and I used the cash desk alone, I also did the daily earnings account, in addition to the other tasks already mentioned. On Monday and Tuesday we organized ourselves to fill out the internship diary, the logbook and the video, while on Wednesday evening we went to dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant where I tried different types of culinary specialties. On Friday we went to the escape room, where we had to solve several very funny riddles. Afterwards we went to dinner in a Balkan restaurant where I ate the "prebranac" with sausage, a dish made of bean soup, onions and peppers. On Saturday we went to the mall to make the last presents and on Sunday we went to the carnival of Ptuj, where we visited the castle and the collection of weapons and we attended the parade consisting of Kurent and other typical and non-typical masks.
I had a lot of fun in Erasmus and it is an experience that I would recommend to everyone, since it is very formative and educational. The thing that has made me grow more and a tip that I would give to those who have to leave is this: calculate that in addition to the working hours there is also an English course, a report to write about the experience and a video to be made. In addition, every day there is grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning everything, including clothes, all within the closing hours of the shops and the curfew in the hostel. Do not always postpone and give yourself goals to have as much free time as possible because in Erasmus time flies and 3 weeks seem like a lot before leaving but they pass in the blink of an eye.
This is an unofficial translation of an article from our partners Uniser. Original article in Italian language is available here.
As part of the MY FVG - Mobility of Young students for Friuli Venezia Giulia TOURism industry project, in February 2020, 10 young people left for Maribor to carry out internships in various areas of tourism-related work, including sales, hotel business, catering, marketing, international relations, languages, but also to have a life experience that, as they tell us themselves, they will take with them forever. Read participants' perspectives on their mobility bellow.
On 3 February 2020 my group and I left for Maribor. From the pre-departure meeting I had already made my mind of what the city would have been, with a cold climate full of interesting things to discover. We were immediately greeted in a fantastic way, when our ZNI coordinator came to pick us upon arrival to Maribor.
The first days were a little tiring for me: sleeping in a another bed, living with 10 people almost completely unknown and above all, adapting to their needs such as choosing together what to eat for dinner. During the first days we had training meetings and courses on work safety at ZNI and one day after the interview with my company tutor I started working at the hotel to which I was assigned: the Hotel Mlada Lipa. Despite some difficulties in communicating in English, I enjoyed it and they were teaching me a lot of things in the kitchen.
During the first week we made many tours around the city, we visited a museum where the curator told us about some very interesting things about Maribor in the Second World War and we went to eat in two pubs in the center. Sunday was the best day, we went to visit Mountain Pohorje, where, after taking the cable car lift, we walked to the top, climbed a tower and saw all of Maribor, a fantastic view.
The second week was much easier for me, I became familiar with the transport system and the city streets, during the days of work I had a lot of fun and the kitchen staff, as well as explaining everything I had to do, they taught me many things and new working techniques. What I like most about my work environment is that there is a positive atmosphere where people laugh and joke while working, and not a harsh climate where you have to work in silence. At work I also discovered new vegetables that I had never seen and used in Italy, such as celeriac and beetroot; I discovered new kitchen equipment such as a latest generation touch-screen oven with the screen, where you can set the type cooking for a certain food, I also discovered a self-heating blender.
In the second week my relationship with my group improved a lot, we laughed and joked together while doing all the activities we have to do such as shopping and preparing dinner. On Saturday we woke up early to go on a trip to Budapest, where we spent the whole day. Once we arrived, we visited the so-called "Citadel", considered one of the most panoramic places to observe the whole city from above, then we moved to the Church of San Mattia, a truly fantastic construction, a bit like all buildings of the city: each building had something special that I liked very much and reminded me of every city I had already visited.
The third week was the most beautiful, especially at work, the Hotel staff was fantastic, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, we joked and laughed together even if there was the problem of the language barrier. They taught me many things like: filleting fish and cleaning it, cutting and cleaning chicken breasts and making pizza and I'm very happy to have learned these things because they were the only things I still didn't know how to do independently. I also improved my technique of cutting food and sharpening knives with a steel knife. The kitchen staff also taught me to improve my technique of preparing their typical appetizers and how to roll them in the right way with foil as with pork fillets after flavoring, typical of their pre-cooking procedure.
The relationship with my group has improved a lot since the first few weeks, especially in the organization of shopping, cooking, washing dishes and doing group tasks. We also had the opportunity to visit many places in Maribor such as the escape room, where we had a lot of fun.
During the week we also tried two new restaurants, one typical of the area and one of Vietnamese cuisine, which in my opinion were fantastic especially because my passion is cooking, therefore discovering new tastes and flavors is always a great satisfaction for me. On Sunday we went to see the carnival of Ptuj, we also saw the castle and the weapons inside preserved very well. The carnival was fantastic because it was the day of the world carnival and therefore we had the opportunity to see every type of carnival typical of the territory and of Europe: from the typical French carnival to the Austrian one with the krampus and their typical clothes or the typical carnival of Sardinia.
I liked this experience very much, both in the recreational and in the working environment, where I improved to live with other people and to adapt to them and their needs.
Before leaving for Erasmus I was very anticipated but also very excited at the idea of having this experience. I can't even say what I expected, I was open to every possibility, and I only hoped to get on well with my companions, otherwise I would have adapted. Finally, February 3 had arrived.
We left and I have to say that my first impression was very positive. Since the first day I have bonded a lot with my roommate, and in general we all started to open up to each other. We all got along very well and we always had a lot of fun and our group leader was just the best, so from this point of view I was really happy.
As for the hostel, it was nice and welcoming, also we were lucky enough to stay on the ground floor, which in my opinion was the best area of the whole hostel. The city of Maribor also impressed me positively, it is nice and it was easy to understand how to find your way, even it took us a while to understand how transport worked, but once we understood we started to feel at home.
After the various training courses with ZNI, my job interview took place on Thursday 6 February. I was quite worried because I study economics and international relations for marketing, but at school we never did a lesson on marketing and I had a company "Rdeča oranža" that works mainly in this sector. This concern of mine passed when I met my tutor, my colleagues and the company in general. The next day I started doing work practice and they taught me the basics of using Photoshop, I edited various photos with this program and I wrote announcements regarding these photos. The office where I was doing work practice is well furnished and my colleagues have always been available to help me in case of need .
Sunday, 9 February we went to Pohorje, the Maribor mountain range. My roommate and I had layers and layers of clothes on us, for fear that it was cold, instead the weather was magnificent, it seemed like a spring day. We got on the cable car and the view was really nice, too bad there was no snow though. Afterwards we took a long walk and arrived at the highest point of Pohorje, from there you could see all of Maribor! Finally, we ate in a nearby restaurant where the food was very good and, to end the day with a flourish, we went ice skating. It was my first time ever but despite the initial difficulties I had a great time and all in all this first week could not have gone better!
During the second week in Maribor, I completely immersed myself in the world of work. I developed the understanding of what it feels like to work and be independent. Try to get by without, for example, the help of parents. And when I saw that I could do it, this was a conquest for me.
At work I became more and more open and I no longer felt as shy as the first few days. In addition to editing photos and writing announcements, they gave me another task: writing articles on the various 2020 marketing trends. The best thing, however, was when my tutor offered me to write an additional article for his marketing book he is writing: this proposal made me feel really important and competent and not just a 17 year old girl who is having her first work experience .
The best thing about the second week was the trip to Budapest, where we stayed on Saturday 15 February. During this trip we all showed good organizational skills, since we were able to see as many things as possible even if we were only there one day, among other things, with all the tiredness. It was a wonderful trip, Budapest is too beautiful and all the tiredness and effort was worth it! An experience to never forget.
The last week was the liveliest one, in which we did several things. At work I learned to use other programs and the photos I edited were then published on the company's Instagram profile. In our spare time we tried a Vietnamese restaurant and a Balkan one located in the center, where I ate the best Balkan food of my life, and if I say so as a Macedonian, it's true!
Over the weekend we went to visit the museum of optical illusions that although it was quite fun, there were several illusions that left you speechless and that in words you cannot describe. Sunday, February 23 we went to Ptuj, a Slovenian city known above all for the carnival, of which the typical mask are the "Kurent". We went with other groups like us: a Polish group, a Spanish and another Italian. It was very interesting, especially after discovering that other European countries also participated in the carnival.
But surely the best experience this week was going to the Maribor escape room. The escape room is a kind of game in which you immerse yourself and you must try to go out by solving various puzzles and riddles that vary depending on the theme you have chosen. I must admit that in some parts it was scary but for the rest we laughed and squeezed the brain to solve all those puzzles and above all we saw a great collaborative ability in us. Because we could never have done it alone.
This experience has been of great help to me, both to grow on a cultural and work level and as a person. At work I learned many things and I always felt useful. Even with my companions the same thing, I hope to never lose contact with them and to find ourselves all together every now and then and laugh as before.
Thank you so much to those who gave me the opportunity to participate in this project, I thank our group leader Sara - without her it would never have been so interesting! - and I thank my companions for being always available for me in case of need.
This experience opened the world to me, it was useful for many things: I made a very strong friendship with others, I learned to feel more confident about myself, I learned to be more spontaneous and not to be afraid of making mistakes.
I will never forget all of this!
When I participated in the Erasmus selection, I was very hoping to go to Perpignan, and I cannot deny my disappointment when I found out that I had been selected for Maribor. As much as I found it a nice and welcoming city, it was not what I expected from the announcement, but nevertheless I was curious about what this experience would bring me. I had not realized how real it was until I attended the pre-departure meeting in Udine with the other boys and our tutor Sara: from that moment I did nothing but think about the departure, full of worries. My fears were many: What if I didn't feel comfortable at work? What if I don't like other participants of my group? What if I can't integrate ? It was a totally new experience for me and I was quite afraid of it, but on the other hand I knew I needed it to grow.
When the fateful day of departure arrived, I was a bundle of nerves! Right from the start, however, I understood that I was in a group of pleasant people and that our group leader was not a simple boss but was trying to forge a relationship with us by supporting us in our experience. The hostel exceeded my expectations, especially the kitchen area, which gives me a home atmosphere. The first days, between training courses, city tours and beloved spas, almost seemed like a vacation and a moment to relax and prepare, until the internship began. From this point of view I consider myself really lucky, because I found people who are truly available and who make me feel at ease, make me have fun and at the same time teach me many things.The hotel where I did my work practice is really nice, but the atmosphere is even more so: I didn't feel like just an intern on duty, but like someone they can't wait to teach many things. The relationship between us companions got closer and closer, also with our tutor Sara. The thing that surprised me is the relationship with my roommate, whom I didn't know at all but we never separated.
The trip to Pohorje on the first Sunday made me have a lot of fun (as well as struggling for the climbs), because then we went to the skating rink in the center and I think it will be one of the best memories of this experience.
During the second week, the situation at work was a bit flat but this gave me the opportunity to talk more with colleagues, who never fail to make me always feel at ease, as well as giving me advice for my future career. At home, we kids made tables to organize ourselves by cleaning the common areas and the kitchen, which allowed us to be more mentally organized and understand when we have more free time; we also decided on the dishes of the week and how to combine leisure activities with those required by the Erasmus plan.
Finally, on Saturday we went to Budapest, our organized trip: it was a wonderful experience, much better than I expected. Despite the absurd times at which we found ourselves leaving, the adrenaline rushed and I felt very energetic all day, ready to discover a new city.
The third and final week was in my opinion the most interesting. In the hotel we had many more customers than the previous week, which led me to put the things I learned into practice. It was also the most beautiful in terms of food: on Wednesday evening we went to the Vietnamese restaurant, while on Friday in the Balkan, which was definitely my favorite, I didn't expect it to be so good! That same day we went to the Escape Room: it was the funniest thing of the whole experience, and we had to collaborate a lot to get out (strictly late)!
On Sunday we went with ZNI (the host organization) to the Ptuj Carnival, where we attended the parade of the various masks, including the typical Kurent and also the international ones (we found the Italians which made us happy).
In general, this experience has served me and made me grow a lot: living with ten people in a foreign country has greatly opened my mind and future prospects. I understood, in fact, that the path I had set myself may not be the one I want, I feel more mature, determined and full of news that will remain with me forever.
I thank you for having decided to undertake this journey and I am grateful for it; in the end Maribor will always remain in my heart, as well as everything we have gone through here. It was worth it.
Hi, I'm Vasile, I live in Monfalcone and I'm attending the fourth year at the Einaudi technical and commercial school in Staranzano.
Before coming here to Maribor, honestly I expected a boring city and that people only spoke in Slovenian, but I was pleasantly surprised. The city is more lively than expected and if you start socializing with the locals you can have fun easily. Almost all young people have a high English language level and therefore talking to them is not a problem at all, in fact when I had the opportunity I always talked to someone to pass the time.
The first few days were a bit difficult, but over time I got used to the city environment. Speaking of the internship, which is why I came there, I am very happy with the place that has been assigned to me. The company that was hosting me is Verus d.o.o., a marketing agency that has been in business since 2003. I thought I would be in a very formal environment and with people focused only on their work. In short, I was afraid that they would force me to make only photocopies and therefore have a marginal role but it was not so. Verus is a really nice company and my workmates as well as the tutor are very friendly. I was assigned to the office and they immediately asked me to translate documents, make flyers and market research. I was even invited to a promotion event and to accompany my tutor to Ljubljana for a meeting with the other members. The last Friday I went to a middle school for a typical Slovenian food preparation event where I also had the opportunity to taste what was cooked. When I finish my school path I would really like to find a job with a climate similar to that of Verus.
The extra activities I did have been varied and I will report my favorites here:
In chronological order the first activity was the city tour and to follow the visit to the museum of the history of Maribor. The exploration tour did not excite me too much but the visit to the museum was fantastic. Uros, the guide, explained the history of Maribor to us in a very interesting way, also adapting it to our interests. A really very good guide that made us laugh but also reflect on history in general. As a second event we had the trip to Pohorje. Later, together with my Erasmus companions, we went skating. It was my first time on skates and, although with a few falls, I had a lot of fun.
The third important trip was the trip to Ljubljana together with my work tutor who allowed me to participate in the meeting with the members that was held there, and then explore the city. I really liked the fact that the important buildings of the city are very close and therefore it was possible to see many of them in the short time I had. In addition, I made new friends, 2 girls I met made me a tour guide. I can never thank them enough.
The excursion that most excited me during this mobility was the trip to Budapest. We had a bit of a problem with ticket reservations and permits to go there, but everything ended well. A truly fantastic city full of history. The buildings were beautiful and I think I almost filled the phone's memory with photos to capture their beauty.
On Friday 21/2 we went to the Escape room of Maribor and I had a lot of fun solving the assigned puzzles and we managed to escape 3 minutes early.
As a last excursion we went to Ptuj. My companions and I wanted to go there on our own but we were fortunate to be invited there by the very kind ZNI team. We went up to the castle and then to the carnival parade. It was a nice parade but the thing I liked the most was the "kurent", a really fantastic traditional custome in Slovenia.
Throughout this month we have almost always eaten together in the kitchen of the dormitories where we had a lot of laughs telling what we did during the day. Few times we have gone out to eat and I can say that the food here is not bad. The best restaurant in my opinion was the Balkan, "Etno hiša Baščaršija". We also went to "Patrick's pub" and "Okus Vietnama". This concludes my report with which I can confirm that all in all it was a very good idea to come to Maribor. For all those who will have the opportunity to come to this city, I advise you not to get caught up in prejudice and think that it will not be a good experience because I had a lot of fun also thanks to the fact that I built an excellent relationship with my Erasmus companions and therefore it was really nice to spend time with them. The important thing is to be active and participate in the activities that you will have the opportunity to carry out.
I decided to participate in Erasmus plus because I wanted to improve my English level as I attend a language high school where three languages are studied: English, German and Spanish. In addition, I would love to become an interpreter, so being able to participate in this experience immediately seemed like a very good opportunity.
When I arrived in Maribor I immediately had a good impact with the city because initially I would have expected a little chaos and smog since it is still a city. I immediately changed my mind: it is a very clean, green and welcoming city.
I realized this in particular when we did the city tour with the tutors of ZNI; I immediately thought that this city was one of those where you can live in tranquility and peace. Also, during the city tour, we went to a museum where the curator and guide (a very cultured and funny man) explained the history of Maribor to us.
Sharing accommodation with my group companions was excellent because we all tied up, without excluding anyone from the group.
The first week I did the interview in the hosting company to which ZNI had assigned me. This agency deals with bus travel abroad in countries such as Austria, Italy and also has relations with China. Since my tutor was already ill on the day of the interview she told me to start working the following week.
For 2 days I explored the city: while walking with my tutor and other kids we met a small but very nice art exhibition, created by students and we visited it. During the weekend we also went to Pohorje mountain above Maribor with a group of Irish boys.
I think the second week was even better than the first. The tutor of the agency that was supposed to welcome me was not yet healed so they transferred me to another agency that deals with advertising the Slovenian territory. I had a great time from the first moment since they welcomed me as if I had been one of them. I immediately started to work: the first task was to make a market analysis regarding Austria and Italy. During the following days, however, they gave me the task of translating various types of brochures into Italian, German and Hungarian.
In addition to work, we also had a wonderful day trip to Budapest . We took the bus and arrived in Budapest at 8.00 in the main station. From there we went to the Central Market and then continued to Cittadella and the Budapest Castle near which there was the Matthias temple. In the afternoon we crossed the Lánchíd and then we went to Margaret Island. We had a lot of fun there because we took a rickshaw ride for about half an hour. After Margaret Island we visited the Heroes' Square and finally went to the Via Pál. Sunday was the most idle day of the week, but we deserved it, because we were all very good.
Unfortunately, the last week of our experience has arrived. On Monday I found out that I was going to spend only three days in the agency where I worked for a week and I was a bit sad because I felt like I was at home now. The next day they transferred me to another office, which is located right in the center of the city and deals with travel mainly to the Balkans. Here too I found myself very well, because even here they welcomed me as if I had been one of them, even if a part of me, however, had remained in the other agency. Despite this I was highly motivated to work there also because the purpose of the project is to learn and then to have fun.
Friday night we went to the Escape Room in Maribor and after this incredible experience we went to have dinner in the Balkan. The food was delicious, truly overwhelming. On Saturday, together with a couple of non-working kids and the tutor, we went to the museum of optical illusions, an extraordinary museum that opened my mind to many scientific things. In the evening of the same day I went to the bank of the Drava river and it was the best moment of my life: the river was pink, illuminated by the sunset ... at that moment I was the happiest person in the world.
On Sunday we went to Ptuj, a small but welcoming town. We all dressed up as something funny as it was Carnival. We went up to Ptuj Castle from which we could admire the view, a relaxing view. After an hour we got off and went to the city center to see the parade. It was very beautiful and fun; most of the people present were all in disguise and the sweetest thing was all those smiling, carefree children ... they brought me a lot of happiness.
Tuesday evening, the last day of our experience, the last hours of our internship, we said goodbye to all those who accompanied us on this fantastic journey. Unfortunately all this is over, but a part of my heart will remain here forever ... I enjoyed this trip to the fullest and I leave without remorse.
Hi I'm Filippo, I'm 19 years old, and I come from Italy through the project of the Cooperativa Sociale Kara Bobowski. I've been working as ZNI intern during 2 weeks. Before finishing my work practice, I would like to share with all of you a list of 10 things about my experience:
1. It has been a beautiful experience.
2. It has helped me to improve my English language.
3. It has helped me to integrate in a job's world.
4. It has been my first time abroad alone.
5. I have worked in the ZNI office as an intern where I was doing administrative work.
6. Yesterday, I went to the Carnaval in Ptuj where is a city near Maribor. It was a beautiful and exciting event due to the fact that I found out a different culture.
7. This experience has helped me to improve how to use the public transport by myself.
8. I have had the opportunity to visit Maribor and its surroundings.
9. This experience has helped me to learn how to walk around a city.
10. If I could, I would do an another work experience like this.
An international internship isn’t equal to just “work practice”, it is equal to meet new people, get to know more about the country you are living in and about their culture and language and much more. Personally, I believe an international internship is equal to find something that you like and make it bigger. When I came to Maribor, I had a huge purpose: look for something which I could learn and enjoy it during my free time in Slovenia. I wanted to try a variety of activities that I’ve never done before.
ZNI is always cheering us up to do new things and explore Maribor a little bit more, as the city offers a lot of cultural events. Ewelina, ZNI mobility coordinator of the participants from the project TLN Mobilicat through Asociación Mundus, told me about a Photography Analog’s Session with Gregor Salobir, who works at GT 22 which is an artistic community and education laboratory.
I’ve never taken a photo with analog camera before. It was heavier than I thought it would be. Even though Gregor told me how to use it, I was worried about using the camera the wrong way and break it. Those were my fears during the first 15 min shooting, then I started feeling camera as a part of my hand. We walked around Maribor taking photos during a pair of hours, then we came back to GT 22 to reveal what we had taken. Gregor showed me the chemical process to get the photos.
During the photo session, the phrase “We will see, you never know” came up many times. And It’s totally true! You never know how the photo actually looks when you take it using an analog camera. That’s what I liked the most. Maybe we can say something similar about mobility: You never know how it is actually going to be and that is the magic because it will surprise you in many ways!
FOT. Gregor Salobir Mar Romero Feliu
I’m Martí who is a Biologist and a Wildlife Manager. I came to Maribor through the project TLN Mobilicat by the hand of Asociación Mundus. I’ll stay in Maribor for 4 months and during this time, I’ll work in different companies. I would like to introduce you one of them and shed light upon its functionality on society. It’s called Mladinski dom Maribor.
Mladinski dom Maribor is a Youth Center that works with children and adolescents aged around 8 to 18 who have emotional and behavioural problems and cannot live with their parents for a variety of reasons. They usually have low self-esteem and have difficulty integrating into a normal environment.
In particular, I will work in the unit of Slivnica where they perform a project of education based on Social and Therapeutic Horticulture. In other terms, the process of using plants and gardening to improve their physical and mental health, and also improve their communication skills for the purpose to include them in the society. The programme helps them to find their vocation or to fell valuable for themselves. My tasks will be based on teaching how important is the nature, how to take care of it and how to take profit from it in a good way.
Finally, let me introduce you one of the workshops that youths perform in the Center called “Get to know vegetables and their seeds”. This workshop has three steps, the first consists of discovering the names of the vegetables in English language and in any language that is important for the participants. In our case, we translate them from Slovenian to English, Spanish, Catalan and Korean.
The next step is discovering how vegetables grows. Also, learning about vegetables and their own and unique type of seed. Lastly, they will perform a seed germination test in order to know the growth viability of the seeds. It consists on covering the bottom of a petri dish with cotton soaked in water and put the cotton on a counted number of seeds, and let it grow a few days (6-8). When the days have passed, they will have to count how many seeds growth and make a ratio calculating what percentage of the total are viable.
That is just a little thing from the whole activities they perform. I hope you found it interesting and If you want to know more about what this company does, just take a look in their website http://slivnica.mladinski-dom-mb.si/.
We went through the forest and all the trees and also the pathway were covered by ice and snow. Personally, I’ve never seen something more beautiful and I’m so glad that I could enjoy it until May.
This picture was taken by Mar Romero
Bled is a nice place for a day hike. If you want you can walk around the lake. It takes 1-2 hours to complete a round. We did around 20km of walking, so I advise you to take a good pair of shoes ;)
If you have time, you can go to Bled island by rowboat. You can rent one for 25 euros per hour. Me and my group loved the paddling experience, since we’ve never paddle before. We were really excited about it!
On the island you can visit the Church of the Assumption (the main point is to ring a bell and make a wish) and a small museum for 6 euros. On the way to Bled Castle stop to visit St. Martin Parish Church: it’s a Gothic Revival structure, built from 1903 until 1905.
Jesumine is our participant from Lithuania. He is doing work practice in Maribor and is staying here from the end of June until the end of September. He is working at Permakulturni inštitut, which is an NGO operating in field of regeneration of the environment, food quality increasement, care for the planet and its living and non-living systems.
Jesumine is accommodated at student dormitory in Maribor, where he made new friends. He spent a weekend with his friend's family and he is veery excited about the time they had together at Carinthian region. K-24 is the name for the most difficult Carinthian mountain challenge - the route is connecting the five most important Carinthian peaks. They climbed this mountains and Jesumine loved the view, as they were there very early in the morning to see the sunrise.
They visited Carinthian Regional Museum where they currently exhibit the rich cultural heritage of African cultures - from objects from Pharaoh Egypt to contemporary creations by African artists. The Slovenian Ethnographic Museum is systematically documenting all forms of connection between Slovenes and Africa, which have been around since the 19th century. Jesumine found this museum and specially the African exhibition very interesting.
In Maribor football is the most important sport for many of the inhabitants, so Jesumine also attended a football match between Maribor and Ljubljana at Maribor stadium "Ljudski vrt". The match ended with 0:0, but we are sure Jesumine enjoyed it anyway.
We are very happy to see that Jesumine is enjoying his stay in Maribor and are eager to hear about his upcoming experiences!
Hi, my name is Greta, I am 17 years old and I come from Italy. I am participating in an Erasmus in Maribor, Slovenia. I decided to take this path for a better future in my life.
Participating in this type of project has many positive aspects. First of all, I decided to participate to learn better the English language that is now spoken all over the world. Then, being a girl who adapts to everything, open and looking for adventures and new experiences, I left to learn about new cultures and the differences in the world of work. Having already participated in similar experiences, I met and got to know people from all over the world, and coming here is another opportunity to meet new people and open my mind more for other cultures and have a different mentality.
Another reason for which I participated, in addition to a personal experience, which will help me to be independent in the future, is that this will help me improve my CV and look for work abroad, without remaining in my country.
I like travelling a lot and unfortunately, I don't have the opportunity in my family, and when opportunities like this arise, I take them without thinking.
Being a young girl, I still have various fears, which I don't consider negative, because we all have them; one is that of not being able to understand or make myself understandable around or at work, another is to find myself missing my new friends from abroad when i come back. But this is absolutely not happening, we are a group of 8 people, plus the tutor, in a few days we have done a lot, they want to do many things and they are all really very nice. The tutor is always very helpful and is always there for everything and helps us, cares and protects us like a mother.
When I return to Italy, I hope to have become a more mature and independent girl and to have learned new things in my work and personal life, to learn how to better manage money and to live outside of the home walls of my parents and with a great desire to leave again for another similar experience.