From time to time, one curious Whyttester goes to our Serbian colleagues to experience their vibe, way of working, culture and maybe teach them something and vice versa.
2 weeks apart and some words later, the man has something to tell! Enjoy!
Hey there! My name is Mircea Olteanu and I am a Quality Assurance Tester for (of course) Whyttest. When I am not at work, I usually just kick back with my passion: music, which I love to listen, collect and sometimes even play in my hometown of Roman for the amazing people there. When it’s not that, I will most often turn to video games and going out with friends.
But enough about me, you most probably clicked this in order to read the experience I had during my (sadly short) stay in Serbia, right at our sister-company from Belgrade. When I was presented with the offer to go there and assist our colleagues there, I have to admit I was not sure I was up to the job, although thankfully, my friends and co-workers encouraged me to do so and get out more, whatever that means. I guess I just didn’t expect that I would be stepping so much out of my comfort zone and travelling alone to another country, by plane no less, which would mark my first trip with this mode of transportation. I have to admit, the room was getting hotter by the second just thinking about it, but I was determined to face this whole challenge with my chin held high and as prepared as I could be for the experience I was about to have.
I arrived at the airport (my first checkpoint in this high difficulty game) way too early, just because I was afraid there was a chance of losing the flight. I did my best to navigate through Bucharest’s Otopeni Airport, asking everyone around what my next step should be for reaching the gate through which I would be boarding the small airplane. I had no problem waiting around for about an hour and a half, my trusty headphones and Spotify didn’t let me down one bit and so I managed to get to the seat of one of the things that once terrified me, without any problem. The takeoff and landing were the worst parts, as I have been warned beforehand, but I have to say it was a real eye-opener that airplanes aren’t really that bad.
After getting my luggage, I was greeted with a cardboard that had my name on it by the owner of the amazing apartment that I would call home for the next two weeks. I have to say, I underestimated the roads and how Serbia would look, it astonished me how much the way from the Tesla Airport and into Belgrade reminded me of Romania and our views and buildings. Coming as a surprise, exiting my temporary home and getting to the office took one minute on the clock, it was amazingly close which fortunately for me, meant something important: more sleep! With instructions from the owner, I went to a shop&go and of course, went straight to cereal, sandwich ingredients and of course, to test out the local sweets and snacks.
My second checkpoint, aka “Day one” saw me entering the office shyly, trying to figure out where the team I was sent to help was and of course, what kind of “battlestation” awaited me. Getting introduced with everyone was kinda fun, mostly because apparently, “Mircea” can be a hard word to pronounce for my soon-to-be friends, so for a while, my nickname was Mitch. Seemed easy enough.
Getting set up took a while, so I had a talk with the team’s coordinator about how they do things there, just so I could better find the hidden points I was to focus on, beside the ones I was asked to help out with in the first place. During breaks it was real fun seeing everyone gathering at the foosball table and cheering for their colleagues or staying on the couch, booting the PS4 and having some MMA matches before going back to work.
To be honest, the first week flew by me, mostly filled with work, getting to pair up every day with other colleagues so I could better get to know them and their individual ways of doing things, helping them out on the project and with the database in which we submit all of our bugs, which sometimes has quite a few shenanigans up her sleeve. Most of my nights would be spent in the apartment watching movies and series, or playing video games. Sunday I finally felt ready to go solo through the streets of Belgrade (checkpoint!), even though I got up REALLY late.
I started going in the opposite direction than where the office was and following the boulevards or the skyline, basically things that caught my eye. I loved the old buildings I managed to see in this process and the new ones as well. They had near downtown these cute little streets that I could swear were ripped out of a movie filmed in New York, combining at the same time with all of the older communist-style ones, really reminding me of Bucharest, antithesis was everywhere!
During my second week, being already acquainted with the team, their work flow and so on I could focus better on my job there and making friends in the whole process, which could only make me happy. On that Tuesday, I was invited to go with them for some indoors football (yes, soccer), but me being a bigger basketball fan opted to just joining them for some drinks and conversations, which went swimmingly and managed to get so interesting that after so much talking almost made my throat sore.
Thursday I planned that I would go out with an older friend from the office after work, so he can show me around a bit more and act as a guide. Luckily, their local fortress, the Kalemegdan, had a huge park, was in really good shape, so we decided to go and visit it. After going to a shop&go for snacks and drinks we made our way there through a really busy pedestrian area (it was still rush hour), all the while talking, having fun and of course, judging people. Having reached the fortress, I appreciated that it was bursting with tourists, the huge display of cannons and other weapons from the wars and Partizan Belgrade’s own basketball practice court right inside the whole thing, which really made me miss the sport. After walking through the park for a while, we decided to go up and sit on the wall and just talk about anything, which was amazing because the fortress is exactly at the confluence of the Danube and the river Sava, making for an amazing view, the fortress being surrounded by the huge park and their amazing waterfront had lots of clubs right on the water, where most of their high-class nightlife was and multiple bridges, one even resembling the Golden Gate of San Francisco!
Unfortunately, that Friday meant my last day in Serbia, so I had to say goodbye to all the guys and girl in the office, which was a bit sad, but at that point I kinda wanted to get home as well. The owner took me back to the airport, apparently happy (hopefully because I was a good tenant) and managed to embark safely on my second flight ever, this time back home.