Those who have read the previous posts about my BeNe trip (by the way, despite the modest visitors, the geography of my readership is expanding daily!) might be intrigued to know what I did during the Days 2,3,4 and 5 in Amsterdam. I’m going to disappoint some of you: I wasn’t lavishly indulging in the “legalized pleasures” this city is associated (at least in my home country) with during those days. As a reasonable person (or at least, considered one), who besides paid money which could have been spent on trendy outfits, by the way ;), on the Day 2, I took a tram to Vrije University – the venue of the Ent-Ex Amsterdam programme.
“Well, the first thing I was expecting of the programme. Let’s see what comes next”, I gladly murmured to myself after the initial “ice-breaking” coffee-break with representatives of at least 10 nationalities. Actually, that was one of the reasons (if not the primary one) why I decided to cut off the “fun” part of my vacation and attend the programme instead, which, despite the saturated schedule and competitive spirit “reigning” among the participants, turned out to be fun, too.
Honestly, what I anticipated could more fit in the “speakers-lectures-questions and answers- follow-up- farewell party” frames. However, our programme coach Steve, did his best to bring us out of the “comfort zone” (almost a cliché, but a really pivotal skill for a entrepreneur, as all the speakers kept claiming). Interviews- team discussions- conclusions- and final presentations interrupted by coffee breaks and lunches- mini networking and cultural exchange events- this was what all of us would be going through. A very serious, almost 9-to-6 endeavor, indeed).
Well, first I was very reluctant to these rules of the game. “Siri the Quitter” part of me was rebellious: “Hey, Steve, it’s been a tough year and I’ve just gone through the whole stress of the first-time solo travel. Are you serious? Am I going to rack my already drained brains over interviewing the speakers and making a huge presentation?”. “Yes, you will. And, besides, no one is to blame for your recent workaholic schedule”, the verdict was made by the “Siri the Reasonable Girl”. So, here I was: together with my smart and sweet team mates (who also seemed to be a bit reluctant at first) – Robert (Germany), Camilla (Italy) and Gargi (India)- I gradually fought the laziness and, surprisingly, fatigue, and plunged into the process!
Despite really intense schedule (almost 9-to- 6) -both for us and programme managers-I found my “second breath” opening over a delicious beer at the Dam Square or walking around the Red Light District until late evening (Special thanks to UniPartners Amsterdam for the sightseeing and partying events, and again waking up in the early morning to go to university (I found out I missed it!).
Actually, on the day of final presentations on “Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs” which each of the 4 teams diligently crafted after interviewing the speakers, I was already missing the whole friendly yet competitive atmosphere of the workshop. New friends from all over the world, possible future business contacts and, new theoretical skills that will help many of us build our businesses – and all this happening in one of the most multicultural and friendly cities in the world: I couldn’t believe my luck! I may sound the PR agent of the programme, but I do recommend the Ent-Ex to:
a) aspiring or current entrepreneurs
b)employees who want to be more effective at their 9-to-6 jobs as entrepreneurship skills are nowadays required everywhere
c) those who just want to relish “the only real luxury, the luxury of human communication” and celebrate the difference of cultures and mindsets in one of the wonderful European cities of the programme. Honestly, I a bit envied Steve, Alice (programme coordinator) and my favorite teammate Camilla (who was skillfully juggling her duties of an intern at EIIL and programme participant) who would travel afterwards to Barcelona and Porto to go on with the programme. Thank you all for your efforts and time!
P.S. To whom it may concern: I may gladly share some of the newly acquired skills over a coffee or beer 😉 If bribed properly, I may also share the presentation 😛 (read- a joke: I will never do that ;).