At the end of March, our offices were filled with stories from colleagues who had just returned from Germany. As we listened to their adventures, we realised that words simply weren't enough to convey all the impressions.
We didn't believe them when they told us Conan's real name. We were interested in his irresistible stories about the parallels between Karlsruhe and Paraćin.
There was also the story about the biggest burger in Brath. And of course we can't forget the stories about the flamingos that woke them up at night. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Now that we are back the answer is - no 🙂!
All these stories made us hungry for adventure. We couldn't wait to hang out with our German colleagues, explore the city of Karlsruhe and experience what it's like to work in Germany, even if only for a week. But even in our wildest dreams we could not imagine... what kind of trainers Zoran will have for paintball 🙂!
Before we set off, while we were systematically packing, certain expectations were born in each of us. Chila thought about the stories of her colleagues from the previous group. She wondered if there would be as much partying this time. And then she was secretly happy to find out that she had found her new friend, a pensioner. She was also looking forward to spending more time with colleagues she did not see every day in the office and hoped to get to know them better.
On the first day, we gathered outside the Digital Hive. As we all woke up around 3am that morning, one of the most common phrases was "I can't wait to get there".
The flight went by quickly, although the turbulence added to the excitement. After landing, a truly German experience followed - the change of transport. From train to bus, each change was a mini-adventure in itself, gradually introducing us to the rhythm of life in Germany. But if it hadn't been for that - Ivana wouldn't have her new best friend today (by the end of the text two) 🙂 .
Karlsruhe welcomed us with its simplicity and elegance. A city that is a perfect combination of classic German precision and a tranquillity rarely found in urban areas. The streets were clean and the architecture was fascinating with its contrasts between modern and traditional buildings.
We were all pleasantly surprised. Although colleagues who had been there had shared their experiences, the feeling itself was different when we arrived. Adam says that the first thing that "caught his eye" was the unusual architecture and way of life that we are not used to in Serbia, as well as the approach of the people.
People were friendly. Despite the language barrier, as many do not speak English and I do not speak their language, they tried to be friendly.
The city itself had a slower pace, less stressful and much more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of larger cities.
A hotel near the station was our first stop. We settled in and immediately went to the office to have a coffee with Hans. But as good company usually does, the coffee quickly turned into beer. This word will appear a lot in the following text, so maybe we will get a Google ranking 🙂 .
The office welcomed us in all its splendour - spacious, with high ceilings, wooden floors and the inevitable red motifs. Tidy and serious, but at the same time strict and formal, it made us want to add a bit of "our" warmth.
This warmth and spontaneity will later be reflected in the decoration. What is certain is that the office will suit everyone - those who need a modern desk and plenty of space, as well as those who prefer to work from a comfortable sofa.
Particularly attractive is the "wall of memories" with our photos. On the way to the kitchen, each colleague stopped to reminisce about the moments we had shared together.
As we laughed and shared stories, we knew this was just the beginning of an unforgettable week.
Our destination was Heidelberg, a city that perfectly combines history and a vibrant academic scene. The view of the city from Heidelberg Castle, which we climbed up the old stone steps, was enough to understand why many consider this city to be the heart of German Romanticism.
Climbing the castle was more than a physical activity - it was a journey through time. The walls whispered stories of centuries gone by, while our footsteps broke the silence that had kept the secrets of this monumental building for years. The view from the top of the castle gave us a panoramic view.
Chatting and getting to know each other flowed along with jokes and photos, and then we headed into town for a well-deserved rest and refreshment at a local pub. Traditional German dishes were served on large wooden tables, and our hosts made sure we sampled no less than four types of beer. One of them, with an impressive 33% alcohol content, quickly drew laughs and puzzled looks.
Heidelberg even managed to surprise my colleague David, who has been to Germany several times - which undoubtedly puts it on the list of one of the most impressive cities in Europe 🙂 .
On our return, we spent the evening playing cards in the hotel. While some were learning the rules of Uno, others were showing off their poker skills. Hans, who was the official champion of the evening, could not match Ivana's bluffing skills with his German tactics.
The staff agreed that this day was more than just an outing - it was a day when we, colleagues from different countries, really bonded.
The week brought new challenges and one of the most exciting was paintball. The paintball field was like a real training ground.
The female members of the team used dangerous tactics, but of course the souvenirs were the many colourful bruises.
The most memorable moment for Aleksandar came at the end of the second round, when he and Ivana were the only two players left. After three long, adrenaline-filled minutes, Aleksandra emerged victorious. But even after that, her luck ran out, leaving her with some blue and painful bruises. But Alexandra says it was worth it.
And Bojan points out that he didn't like being in a rival team against girls - he was particularly afraid of Chile and Sarah. From the beginning, he realised that he had a natural talent. At least we know where the next team building will take place if the decision is made by the female team members 🙂 .
We had the afternoon off and it was the perfect time for individual adventures. The shopping group went on a fashion hunt, while the nature and animal lovers decided to visit the zoo.
This zoo is very different from the ones we have visited before. A lot of attention and detail has been paid to the areas where the animals live, so that they resemble their natural environment.
We welcomed the evening with stories, weaving between paintball anecdotes and animal encounters. This day, although physically demanding, strengthened our team spirit and showed us how different our interests are, but also how we can enjoy different activities together.
For us, Monday was the day of new business victories. The office in Germany gave us a warm welcome, and the new faces that have now become part of our professional circle were particularly warm.
Working with the German colleagues was easy, as if we had been working together for years. Exchanging ideas, exchanging views and setting common goals was done with such energy and enthusiasm that we overcame the language barrier.
After her visit to Karlsruhe, Sara still sums up her impressions and points out that the connection with her German colleagues is now even stronger.
Now we have new, shared experiences that unite us. And I am sure that this will have an impact on our work and that we will be able to communicate with each other even more easily.
The personal contact had a significant impact on strengthening the trust that is the basis of cooperation.
Vladimir and Goran agree, although they draw their conclusions from very different circumstances. On the one hand, during our visit, Goran was working on a project with colleagues from Serbia and did not have the opportunity to work closely with colleagues from Germany. However, honesty and openness in dealing with German colleagues had a significant impact on building trust. On the other hand, Vladimir did most of his work in direct cooperation with his German colleagues. However, he also emphasises that trust was strengthened during informal meetings with them.
The working day passed quickly, with coffee breaks inevitably turning into mini-strategy sessions. The satisfaction of productivity was palpable among us as we walked back to the hotel. But after hours, it was time for another get-together - this time around the table. Pizza night was the perfect way to unwind before new work challenges.
We picked up where we left off the day before, now fully adapted to the new workspace. The synergy between the teams was evident at every turn, and the positive energy in the room was contagious.
In such an environment, productivity could be nothing short of extraordinary. We jokingly concluded that the combination of German precision and our spirit was a winning formula that should be patented.
Vladimir suggested that we adopt something else from our German colleagues - the culture of drinking beer 🙂 .
Work was left behind as we headed for Baden-Baden, a place famous for its thermal springs and, of course, its casino. The casino is a true architectural masterpiece, an oasis of luxury and elegance that evokes the spirit of yesteryear.
We tried our luck at various games, from roulette to blackjack, and some even tried strategies they thought they could never fail. But, as we quickly learnt, the copy-paste system did not produce the expected results.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? Sarah tried her luck at gambling for the first time in Baden-Baden. She even managed to hit the roulette number, she says, but points out that stopping after that was a real challenge. Still, she was sure that if she continued playing, she could lose everything.
At the end of the evening, Darko reminded his colleagues that this was just a nice experience that should not become a habit 🙂 .
Day 6 began as it usually does after a night at the casino - with jokes about last night's adventures and more than usual looks for another cup of coffee. "After Casino Math" became the phrase of the day, with laughs and stories about how we could have split our roles better.
But the highlight of the day was the information about the new project. Getting this kind of information while working in Germany was a special experience for Chile because she felt proud to be part of this company. She worked online with her German colleagues every day, and on this day they were able to celebrate the results of this year-long collaboration live! Her excitement was palpable as she ran from table to table telling each colleague the good news.
After work, everyone was free to do as they pleased and Zoran decided to visit his family in Stuttgart. It was a special day for him because he only sees his family twice a year. It was also an opportunity for Zoran to experience the hustle and bustle of a larger city, see its impressive architectural landmarks and escape for a moment from the peace and quiet of Karlsruhe.
Some members of the team decided to indulge in another form of therapy - shopping therapy. They laughingly commented that "after the casino math", they were inevitably a little more cautious when it came to shopping adventures, with a particular focus on prices and discounts.
The evening brought a kind of relaxation for the football fans. Gathered around the TV screen, some of the guys enjoyed watching football matches and sharing their impressions of the game, and for a moment, work and responsibilities were put aside.
And then came the packing. The preparations for the return were not sad, but rather a quiet rest after a rich feast of experiences. We packed our bags, but also our memories, looking forward to sharing all those stories with those back home. And to those of you who made it this far 🙂
Day seven of our German adventure was filled with business energy. It was expected that the day would be filled with final work tasks, but one particular task stood out from the rest - the filming of a commercial with Hans, our charming colleague who has become synonymous with the spirit of German enterprise.
It was agreed that the shoot would take place in the city centre, and we couldn't wait. But as if Karlsruhe didn't want us to say goodbye. A downpour hit the city just as we were about to start filming. Soaking wet, we returned to the office, joking at our own expense and drying our clothes on the radiators, adding another unplanned but fun element to our last day.
When we were finally ready to leave, the news came that the flight had been delayed by two hours, a small blow to our patience, but nothing we couldn't use as an opportunity for some more socialising. However, David's inspiration in the form of a joke about an even bigger delay, with "a new departure at half past three in the morning", caused an instant panic.
Confused looks turned to indignation and then, when everyone had come to terms with "fate", David discovered that it was a joke. Although the initial reaction was one of shock and disbelief, laughter soon filled the airport waiting room. In the end, it was the perfect joke to symbolically end our journey - a journey full of surprises and good humour.
We were ready to return home with new memories and anecdotes that will surely adorn many future conversations.
Each day of our trip was filled with different experiences, from work commitments to relaxing in the casino and friendly card games. But what really enriched this adventure was not just the activities we planned, but the people we shared them with. Colleagues who became friends, cities that became stages for our little adventures and laughter that became our common language.
We leave Germany with bags full of souvenirs, but more importantly, with hearts full of memories that will last. The stories we'll share, the jokes we'll repeat, and the lessons we'll learn about collaboration and culture will strengthen our team and contribute to our personal and professional growth.
We returned home with more than we brought - new perspectives, renewed enthusiasm for our work, and a sense of being part of something bigger.
And to colleagues who have yet to experience the charms of working from a German office, we say...
Be open to new experiences! Connect with colleagues as much as possible and adapt, even if it is not always in your comfort zone. Make the most of your resources and above all, enjoy every moment.