Intern Abroad

Kategorie: ‘Slovenia’

Unexpected chance in Slovenia

June 6th, 2023 | by
  • Architecture M.Sc.
  • Slovenia, Ljubljana
  • Arhitektura Krušec
  • 10/2022 – 03/2023

Living in Ljubljana

My internship in Slovenia happened by pure, lucky coincidence. During my last internship in Sevilla in the spring of 2022 I met some Slovene people, among them a university professor for architecture of the university in Ljubljana. I told him that I still needed some more months of internship and he suggested to apply at his office. Since until that point I did not know anything about Slovenia and I really liked the people I met, I decided to take that chance and applied.

I arrived to Ljubljana in the end of September 2022 and had one week to explore the city before the work started. In this week I had the great luck to meet some Erasmus students that came to study for a semester in Ljubljana. Through them I continued to meet new international people during my whole stay, which was truly amazing!

I lived in an apartment right in the city centre, two minutes walking from the Prešeren square. It was in a beautiful old building that I shared with five other students among them also some Slovene students that also became really goof friends of mine. Apparently, I was lucky to find a room that I didn’t have to share because after my arrival I found out that it is a very common concept in Slovenia for students to share rooms. Because of its great location we would often have gatherings at my place.

In the architecture office I had eight colleagues plus the bosses (plus the office dog, an amazing Border Collie). The atmosphere in the office was really good, like they are all friends, and half of my colleagues were more or less my age, which was also very nice for me. They tried to speak a lot of English to include me but to each other they obviously would speak Slovene, which I – surprise – did not understand at all. You do not really need to speak Slovene to live here because most people speak English perfectly, but I wanted to learn at least the basics. For a reason that I don’t know there is a lot of videos on YouTube about Slovene Grammar. If you want to learn this language and have no experiences with Balkan languages, I recommend watching those. Another thing that really helped was getting a book, that I know very well in German, in Slovene. That made it much easier because I didn’t have to look up every word. After the six months of internship, I am still very far away from being fluent in Slovene, but I can read a lot and understand more basic conversations. If you come here, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

The work in the office was diverse. They gave me a lot of different tasks, which I am very grateful for. I was participating in the design phase for new projects, make models, draw execution plans, edit renderings,… I learned a lot of things that I will be able to apply in the upcoming years of my studies.

Apart from the work I had a great time in Ljubljana. Slovenia is very small but has a very diverse and beautiful nature. You can do a different trip every weekend and not run out of nice places to visit. And since Ljubljana is located basically in the centre of the country, all the destinations are reachable in like two hours by car. Very fascinating are for example the Soča Valley, Zelenci Lake, Velika Planina, Bohinj and the Vintgar Gorge. The nature is so abundant and I recommend exploring it even if it is just for a vacation!

Ljubljana is the biggest city in Slovenia and has a population of roughly 280.000 people, which means, considering it is the capitol, it is very cosy. But it is not only the comfortable size that makes it cosy. The centre consists of old but mainly well-preserved buildings, everything is clean and green. Also, the centre is free of cars which is amazing for pedestrians. There are always people on the streets, even in winter people would sit outside of the cafes and restaurants to drink their kuhano vino, mulled wine, next to the fire.

The original plan was to do an internship of three and a half months. But I soon decided to extend it and stay in the office six months. Even after finishing the internship, I will stay six weeks longer now to explore more of this country, enjoy the city and see the spring.

I will keep taking unexpected chances like this one – they might hold something great.