It was time to meet with my international colleagues for the next phase of the ERMI (European Response in Migration and Integration) transnational KA:2 project. I was pumped up for my first experience on the other side of the Black sea. I had no other expectations than having a productive meeting with optimal results for the following phase. I had no idea what an impact this business meeting would have on me...
We landed in Georgia, Tbilisi after a long and exhausting trip and we were taken to our hotel by our Georgian hosts. The atmosphere so far was nothing different than what I had seen before across Europe. However, in the morning of the first day, when I went out of the hotel for a breather, I was blown away by the dynamics of the Georgian work life - long and annoying traffic congestions, people getting on buses, irritated, people walking on the sidewalk not making 1 smile. It came across my mind that in Georgia the driving was worse than in Italy and Greece, but better than in Turkey. The people however were barely smiling, especially the girls.
Nevertheless, we were welcomed there kindly as guests. On the second day we visited the Technical university of Tbilisi, where we met with part of the teaching staff and some students and discussed on the topic with them. We exchanged good contacts and hope to meet again. We also had the opportunity to work in open space - out on the streets. We put ourselves in the shoes of the locals who can’t find a job but need to. I was a bit anxious at starts, but since my colleagues, who were not so good with English, initiated conversations, I was supposed to be the one to continue and end them. It turned out a surprising success - we managed to organize a phone interview at one place, which was never held (obviously).
With my colleagues we used our spare time for cultural and gastro exploration - it was worth it. We barely had such a taste of the magic of Georgia, that there would always be a reason to go back there - one could just never have enough of it.
by Zahari Vaklinov
KA2 ERMI - Workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia