They were all really accommodating.

-Nikola Mirković,         Ministry of Economy

During their stay in London we talked with Miljana Golubovic that works in the Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications and Nikola Markovic that works in the Ministry of Economy.

Miljana and Nikola were interns in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in London for six weeks thanks to our Professional Development in the UK 2013/2014 programme.

We organise this programme in partnership with the Republic of Serbia European Integration Office and with support from the British embassy in Belgrade.

Miljana and Nikola told us of their experiences after a few weeks in London

Miljanja: BIS covers the areas that the Ministry of trade is in charge of i.e. consumer protection, competition, market oversight, e-trade, services etc… On the other hand the group in which we were placed works on similar things as Nikola does in the Ministry of Economy. Before we came to London, British colleagues really studied our CVs and connected us with sectors in which we could learn the most.

What were your impressions when you entered a British institution for the first time?

Nikola: The first impression I had was of the working space itself – it was open space; they are all sitting in one big office, including the manager who has the position of our secretary assistant. The other impression was of their kindness and openness that I knew and heard of before, but it’s not only superficial. You can see the effort they are putting in trying to help us learn their way of doing things and answer any question we have, because we didn’t know how their administration worked at first. They were all really accommodating.

Miljana: My first impression was of the environment, which is completely different than back home. It’s really quiet in the office, everybody is doing their own work, they are concentrated on what they are doing and you can’t feel tension at all. Also, I don’t even know what the official working hours are here. The colleagues are coming and going at different time, simply, everything is adapted to the schedule that is most convenient to an individual, so in that sense, the working conditions are really good. Everything is somehow adapted to the people who work here so that the working hours are used as productively as possible.

How does your work in the BIS look like?

Nikola: In the beginning we were getting introduced to the institution, the internal organisation of it and the way thing work around here. We met a lot of people that work here so that we could have a clearer picture as to what the work is, who is in charge of what – so that we could know whom to consult on different topics. After that, in accordance with what we do in Serbia, we were given two concrete tasks.

Miljana: We can always talk with our mentor and his superior. Our mentor is the one that introduces us to different people, sends us meeting and seminar invitations. He is in charge of us, so we work with him the most.

How much will the contacts that you gained in London help you when you go back to Belgrade?

Nikola: I’ve already announced some questions about the application of different directives that are the object of discussion for us. The opinion of member countries is really important for us; especially of on one such as Britain which has a long history of industrial development and experience in the application of such directives. I think it will be useful for us to learn about their opinion of the EU, their cooperation with other member countries, how they gain allies for their ideas in the Union.