I found myself at the heart of a unique 10-day experience in the serene town of Niš, Serbia, seamlessly blending technology, nature, and revelry. ‘Niš Tech Trek,’ as it could aptly be named, transcended the conventional boundaries of academic pursuits, offering an immersive journey where the joy of learning intermingled with the thrill of exploration and the unspoken bonds forged among diverse individuals on a common path.
My adventure began on a tranquil Saturday, arriving earlier than my fellow participants. This early arrival granted me the opportunity to partake in a small BBQ get-together with BEST, another electrical engineering association. While the BEST attendees mostly kept to themselves, my EESTEC friends and I formed a tight-knit group, spending the evening getting to know one another. As the night unfolded, more participants trickled in, setting the stage for what promised to be an exciting venture.
It wasn’t until the following day, when our group was finally complete, that the real excitement commenced. Eager to foster a sense of camaraderie, I took the initiative to organize get-to-know-each-other games, setting the tone for the days ahead. Meanwhile, the event organizers diligently ensured the smooth flow of activities, from the engaging games to the delightful dinners that followed.
The official commencement of the Academical on the subsequent day marked a turning point. Welcomed by professors and teaching assistants, an interesting short introduction set the stage for me and my fellow participants to dive head first into the enriching academic program.
Amidst the academic pursuits, the evenings took on a different character. Embracing the role of the unofficial maître d’ of merriment, I poured local spirits as freely as the Danube, fostering an atmosphere where every throat was as warm as the hearts gathered around campfires. The hikes through Serbia’s rugged countryside, a revelation to my Swiss sensibilities, unfolded as narratives of history, each trail a captivating story, and each vista a living painting.
The camaraderie among us continued to strengthen, echoing the warm amity shared between Zurich and Ljubljana. It became a poignant reminder that good company can transform even the coldest Serbian nights into the warmest of memories. ‘Niš Tech Trek’ wasn’t merely an event; it was a celebration of the interconnectedness of knowledge, nature, and human connection. From BBQ get-togethers to academic pursuits and spirited evenings, this experience became a harmonious blend of diverse elements, creating lasting memories and fostering connections that transcended the boundaries of a conventional academic endeavour.
And since this Review is written later this year, I can confirm that the relationships I built during that week last. I have visited almost every city of the participant, being hosted, and cherished by everyone I met again. See you soon, somewhere around Europe.