Our trip to
Slovenia and Croatia
27.05.2013 – 07.06.2013
by Katja Stolze
apprenticeship: office administration assistant
training company: Mobau GmbH Halle
About the project and my ambitions
Facts about Slovenia
Port of Koper
Intereuropa Global Logistics Service
Vocational school for economy Ljubljana
Facts about Croatia
Croatian Chamber of Economy Split
Other project work
This is a picture of our
project group in Zagreb.
1. About the project and my ambitions
The project Azubi Europa is organized by the isw company for
academic advice and service corporation. The trainees have the
possibility to visit foreign countries and their companies. It serves
as a chance to improve the knowledge of young trainees in terms
of their intercultural communication and their foreign language.
The trainees also learn something about the MOE countries and
the importance and possibilities of international relationships and
In this project I expected to gain international experience such as
communicating with people from foreign countries to become
more confident in my appearance and foreign language. My
ambition was also to learn a lot about our 2 foreign countries in
general as well as about their economic affairs.
Our journey began on the 27th of Mai 2013. We met at the main
station in Halle and went by train to the airport in Leipzig. From
there we went on by plane via Cologne to Klagenfurt in Slovenia.
In the afternoon we arrived in Ljubljana, which is the capital of
Slovenia, and immediately checked in at our hotel. That is why
after a short briefing, which also included some words of
Slovenian, we still had enough time to explore the town on our
Here you can see the position
of the countries and towns we
were travelling to.
2.1 Facts about Slovenia
The country Slovenia is located in Middle Europe, has Austria,
Croatia, Italy and Hungary as its neighboring countries and
around 2 million inhabitants. It is a republic and since 2004 a
member of the EU. Since 2007 Slovenia changed its currency to
euro. The capital is called Ljubljana and around 280.000 people
Between 1918 and the Second World War Slovenia was part of the
kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. From 1945 to 1990
it was part of the socialistic Yugoslavia. The Slovenes were not
satisfied with this situation, so they declared their independence
in the year 1991. The result was the invasion of the Yugoslav
troops, which could be successfully repelled within 10 days. That
is why the Slovenian War of Independence is also called the TenDay War.
The towns Ljubljana, Jesenice and Maribor are among the most
important industrial places and the most important industrial
sectors are wood processing and the food industry.
The vocational education is, like in all MOE countries, not
organized in a dual system like in Germany, but it is in a
reorganization process. The vocational education only happens
in vocational schools and practical training most likely only takes
place in the summer months as a kind of internship. The trainees
do not earn money, because they only go to school and the
certificate the trainees get is not very respected in the society.
That is why most pupils prefer studying rather than doing a
2.2 Port of Koper
To get to our first appointment we had to go by bus to the coast
side of Slovenia, better to say to the only town which had a port
in Slovenia and this was Koper. The port of Koper is really
important for Slovenia because it is the only one that exists in
Slovenia and that is why it is the main place for logistics and
international trade. We made a tour through the port by bus and
a guide gave us interesting information about the port.
We learned that it is a very young port, but also the greenest port of
Europe. The port has to be very careful with its noise and
environmental pollution because many people live near the
harbor. We also got to know that most of the harbor is based on
huge pillars. It is as if the port is floating on the water. This is
their technique to conquer their shortage of place.
This port has three piers, a large railway net through the whole port
for transporting all the cargo and lots of different terminals for dry
cargo, liquid cargo and live stock. She explained to us that their
car terminal is the most important because they are the 2nd best
in terms of car trade. We also learned that the wood they store
has a very good quality because in the good climate of Koper the
wood can dry outside without any chemicals.
In the left picture
you can see the
of the wood and
the right picture
shows the pillars
on which most of
the port is built.
2.3 Intereuropa Global Logistics Service
We had our second appointment on this day with the company
Intereuropa, which is the biggest client of the port of Koper.
We got to see a presentation which showed us that Intereuropa is
not only present in all the capitals in the southeastern regions of
Europe, but also the biggest logistic company in the Balkan area.
It is an expert logistics provider and the market leader in Southeastern Europe.
We also learned that this company specialized in finished vehicles,
too, because Slovenia is very good at trading with cars. There
are two direct weekly container services from the Far East to the
Adriatic, so Koper has a direct connection to China which boosts
Intereuropa offers continental services, intercontinental services
and also a small percentage of finding logistical solutions.
At the end of the presentation we were allowed to go outside on the
roof of their HQ office in Koper to look all over the town. It was
The left picture reveals the
car terminal of the port of
Koper and below you can see
the view over the town Koper.
2.4 AHK Slovenia
All of us were glad about this appointment because it was with the
Chamber of Foreign Trade of Slovenia and that meant it was
held in German language.
Mister Pöpperl explained us the bad economic situation Slovenia
had. It had a weak domestic demand and together with the
collapse of the building companies this led to the permanent
crisis in Slovenia. The amount of business crashes was
We learned that Germany is one of the main export countries of
Slovenia and also that 98% of all German foreign trade are
operated over the AHK. The AHK offers many opportunities like
the boost of German foreign trade, giving advice in marketing
and holding fairs and advanced trainings in Germany.
2.5 Vocational school for economy
This was the most exciting appointment for me. Although the
weather was not on our side this day, we were welcomed very
warmly in the vocational school and brought to their big and
This picture shows our
group sitting in the
library of the vocational
school for economy
Ljubljana and listening
to a presentation held
by their pupils.
At first we learned some general facts about this school from the
school principal and then pupils showed us a project they were
working on. The pupils explained to us, that lots of people in
Slovenia like drinking coffee and so they decided to develop an
app with which you can buy coffee very fast and easily. It was
amazing what those pupils established in such a short time on
their own and how they were supported in this school to achieve
After that the youngest professor in Slovenia held a lecture for us.
He really had a rousing and exciting way of speaking. He
clarified, that you do not need much money or famous parents to
be successful. Everyone can be prosperous because the only
thing you need is a good idea!
He illuminated with many examples that if you only have a good
idea the rest, like the way of putting it into action, will come on its
own. The method, how the pupils are encouraged to just do
something, although it may turn out bad, is just amazing.
In the end we held a presentation about our school and the dual
system. I would have been happy, if we had had stayed longer in
this school to listen to everything they had to tell us, but we had
to go to our next appointment.
Here you can see
picture in front of the
school. As you can
imagine, it was
nevertheless I like it.
2.6 DB Schenker
After a longer bus ride we managed to reach our second
appointment that day: the logistic company DB Schenker.
We learned in their lecture, that DB Schenker is the strongest
network in South East Europe. It is present in 130 countries and
has around 95.000 employees. They have the leading position in
rail and land transport. DB Schenker offers the full range of
logistic services including warehousing and distribution and their
warehouses are located in Ljubljana and Maribor.
They not only gave us some presents, but also a short insight into
their warehouses. It wasn„t really tidy and the safety standards
could have been better, but it was the first time for me to see a
warehouse at all. That is why nevertheless this tour was
interesting for me.
On Friday our journey went on by train to our next destination in
Croatia. It was the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. There we had one
appointment, stayed over the weekend and on Monday went on
south to the coast to Split. Unfortunately two of our three
appointments, that we should have had in Split, were canceled.
That was really sad because I was so excited to see the port of
Split to get a comparison to the port of Koper, but there was
nothing we could do against it.
Nevertheless we did not have more free time. That means we did
more project and group work in Croatia to improve our
3.1 Facts about Croatia
Croatia is located in South East Europe. It is often called „country
of islands“ because it has more than 1.200 islands. The capital
Zagreb has around one million inhabitants and is the cultural and
academic center of Croatia. They will join the EU on the 1st July
2013 and so they also still have their own currency, kuna.
The important steps in Croatian history are connected with
Slovenia. Between the 10th and 11th century there were the first
Croatian colonies. Croatia was like Slovenia part of the kingdom
of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and after that under Yugoslav
occupation until 1990. They also declared their independence in
the year 1991, but it took them four years to finally fight back the
Yugoslav troops. This war from 1991 to 1995 is called “War of
The Croatian population is mostly settled on the coast region,
alongside the Adriatic Sea, and around Zagreb. It is a Catholic
country because 88% of the population are Roman Catholic and
that is why you can find many churches there.
The most important trade partners of Croatia are Italy, Germany,
Slovenia and Russia and the most important sectors of economy
are tourism, which makes up 20% of their GPD, the
transportation industry and the food industry.
Croatia is a very good trade partner because they have a very
modern infrastructure system and also the investment climate is
In the left picture you can see the currency
of Croatia. It shows nearly how much kuna
you get if you change 50 euros.
3.2 Cargo Partner
At first we had some trouble, but after a long journey we arrived at
our first appointment in Croatia, which was with Cargo Partner.
They held a presentation at the beginning to introduce their
company. They explained to us, that they have been in Croatia
for just 17 years now. They were the first movers in eastern
Europe and they are family owned. We learned that their clients
were for example Coca Cola and Siemens and that they
combine rail with other transportation methods.
We could also go and see the warehouse. This was a good
opportunity for us to compare it with DB Schenker„s warehouse. I
would say it was much cleaner and better sorted.
3.3 Croatian Chamber of Economy Split
The appointment with the Croatian Chamber of Economy Split was
our last one, but nevertheless it was very interesting. We learned
many things about Split and Croatia in general and of course
about the EEN.
They named the advantages of being member of the EEN and
combined with this the tasks they had to perform. We got to
know, that they organize exhibitions and fairs at home and also
business meetings and business delegations. The Croatian
Chamber of Economy Split coordinates the common interests of
their members and therefore cooperates with foreign chambers.
We also got some brochures about Split and Croatia, which was a
really nice gesture because it included useful information and
Apart from all these appointments with different companies, in
which we gained economic knowledge about the countries, we
also did a lot of project work in our group to improve our
intercultural communication and our English.
One of our tasks was to arrange a sightseeing tour through Zagreb
and Split. It was really funny, I have to admit. First we had to
search for information about the sights, especially Zagreb had a
very friendly and informative tourist information. Then we started
to walk from sight to sight, told the others what we had
discovered and took a lot of pictures.
Here you can see a scene which
is played at the Diocletian's
palace in Split everyday at 12
o‘clock. It shows a ceremony in
which the guards are exchanged
by other guards.
These are all
of Zagreb. On the
left you see the
Funicular, on the
right there is the
of Zagreb and
above you can
see the St Mark‘s
5. Other project work
We listened to many presentations from our coach Miss Kaufhold.
She told us a lot of general facts about the MOE countries and
After that we had to prove what we had learned during our partner
and group work. For example we performed a telephone call,
played a scene and also did a survey with people in Split to find
out about their job, their home country and their school
education. It cost me quite an effort to speak to those foreign
people, but in the end it helped me a lot to improve my English
and to get a direct feeling what kind of people the Croatians are.
This picture shows the presentation
of my partner and me about the
results of our survey. We made three
circle diagrams to visualize our
6. My conclusion
On Friday, the 7th June 2013, we started our way back home,
where we arrived nearly at the scheduled time.
In the end I have to say, that I„m really glad that I did this project. All
the people of our group, and of course our coach Miss Kaufhold,
were really nice and it was great to work together with them. It
was not fun all the time, but it was worth it.
I learned a lot about the MOE countries
and gained a lot of experience in
intercultural communication. I
think, that I will keep all those facts
better and easier in mind for a long
time because I could experience
them all on my own directly in
Finally, this is a picture of me, in which I
recommend everyone, who gets the chance,
to take part in such a project.
All the facts written in this presentation are coming from my own
experience and the appointments we had in our two countries.
Most of the pictures I took on my own.
The logos in the first slide, the group picture in the second slide, the
map in the fourth slide, the picture in the twelfth, fourteenth and
twenty-third slide are taken from Miss Kaufhold.
The flags in the first slide come from the following link:
Croatian flag: http://www.thetripchicks.com/images/croatiaflag_1_.gif
Slovenian flag: http://www.nationalflaggen.de/media/flags/flaggeslowenien.gif