A little over a year ago in early September, whilst we were in the middle of preparing the annual recruitment project I was offered a choice – staying in Bucharest to interview potential VIP members – the people who would, within a year take VIP to the next level – or going for a week in Poland, to a project about Project Management. It was a tough call and I remember putting down the pros and cons of it – on the one hand – this was my chance to handpick the people with which I would be working with for an entire year or more, the people who would eventually take our place and lead the organisation. On the other – it was a chance to visit a foreign country, something which I hadn’t done in over 2 years at the time, a chance to take part in an interesting project and to come into contact with a totally different culture. I chose the latter and I didn’t regret it one bit. Not only did I have a shot at all that which I mentioned – but so much more. I discovered the beautiful city of Krakow and all that it has to offer – bookshops (so many books that you can’t find in Romania), the industrial district which I found, despite its controversial appeal, absolutely fascinating, the castle in the middle of town, Tesco – which I visited purely out of professional interest.

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And after all that there was the project itself – called Successful Leadership, Improving projects’ Quality. It was interesting – as we not only focused on the factual part of it but also on the cultural dimension – involving some teambuilding games which I rather liked. The organisation in charge was obviously a Polish one, based in Warsaw not in Krakow. They were very nice to us, took really good care of us and even indulged me in my pleasure of learning how to count and say a couple of useful phrases in Polish – properly.

The part that marked me most though was my visit to Oswieçim; or – as it is more commonly known – Auchwitz. We visited the Auchwitz museum in our last day in Poland – as it happened it was a cloudy, grey day – something which helped the surreal atmosphere we found there. But it was the final point that truly made me realise this was not a trip wasted. It was a lesson learned.

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