As the Embassy welcomes aboard new trainee Hannah Kvamsdal, a student in social anthropology, she has shared with us highs and so far no lows of working and living in Belgrade.
For Hannah, the Belgrade episode started on a high note — by listening to gunfire and watching the fireworks on the Orthodox Christmas Eve on January 6. Having a BA in social anthropology and specialization in religion, this was a very special and interesting evening for her.
The following days continued to bring new and exciting experiences. She says that every day at the Embassy is different. “As a trainee, your job description is not as specific as the other employees. You are kind of like a potato, and will help out where you are needed. This means that you get to try a lot of different things.” Already in the first two weeks she has been to meetings with organisations like EU and UN. “I don’t think I am ready to contribute to the discussions in these meeting yet, but it is interesting to see how it works.”
Her first task in the embassy was to compare German dual education system to the Norwegian model, and then to see how the Norwegian model could contribute to the Serbian one. This is not something she knew anything about, but she is learning on the way. “A lot of the work at the Embassy is not about knowing how to do it, but knowing whom to ask and where to find the information,” says Hannah.
When applying for the internship, her main motive was to learn more about the country, its political scene, but also culture. Her only touch with the Balkans was a summer job in Croatia in 2015. She says she truly enjoyed it and wanted to explore the region more. And she did not regret it.
Belgrade has also met her expectations and she already has a favourite place — KC Grad. “I really like the vibe of the city. There is always something happing here, and people are really nice and helpful,” Hannah explains and adds that she is hanging around with a group of interns from other embassies. “It is almost easier to get to know people when you don’t know anyone”.
However, it is not always all that easy. Sometimes she mixes up the few Serbian phrases she learned so far, and instead of apologizing and she ends up saying “Thank you” or “Good morning”. She has also gotten lost several times wandering around the city, or by taking the wrong public transport. Luckily, the locals have been very helpful towards her on these occasions.
She hopes her stay will continue to be challenging. “It’s been only two weeks but I did not have a boring moment so far,” Hannah admits and looks forward to new tasks and exploring Belgrade.