Daily blog: 8 november – Almost There

Written by: Jeroen Vollenbrock, Travel Coordinator USB 14.0

A study tour is an odd thing. When you join the University you are usually expected to study, and perhaps partake in some activities. Then all of a sudden, you’re walking arround as one of the travel coordinators for the new study tour. It seems like a lifetime ago, however cheesy it may sound.

To be fair, it HAS been over a year since our committee was formed on the 6th of June 2013 and a lot has happened since then. Long before we met most of the participants, we were already having heated debates about our theme, name and destinations. We’ve asked many professors what would be interesting countries to visit and what kinds of Smart Surroundings they are developing there.

The second step was getting all of the participants on board, while Kaspar also started to prepare the research. 2014 came around and we decided on who we would bring on our travels, giving Robin all the necessary information to get started with the task of arranging all contract research assignments in order to get a positive cash flow going.

As travel coordinators, we have had the advantage of our work starting last, and the disadvantage of our workload steadily increasing. In January of this year, we made a first start with all travel related tasks for our tour. We started to set up visits by using our slowly expanding network in the destination countries. After a while, we also started contacting companies outside of our network. This often required us to stay awake till early in the morning, as the time difference between us and the companies could be as much as 9 hours.

Our evenings were mainly filled with calling, sending e-mails, improving our schedule and keeping up our good spirits. Whenever we tended to fall into a routine we would inevitably get an e-mail from another company we wanted to visit, or find an e-mail in our inbox announcing a cultural visit had been confirmed. Only when a company confirmed our visit, we would finally be able to fall asleep while feeling great!

Time was racing toward us and while most of the participants were working on their CR assignment, we got down to business to defeat the still empty spots in our schedule. Aside from organizing company visits, we never got to catch our breath with more and more tasks heading our way, such as booking transfers, accommodation, dinners and cultural trips, and not to mention the creation of the travel guide.

With less than 5 hours left before departure, i’m now finishing up this post. This will allow me to get a few hours sleep before i will have to wake up, grab my luggage, and the box containing all travel guides, travel scripts, name badges, emergency recovery plans, travel vouchers and all other required documents. Then, i will head towards the spiegel where we will all depart. As you’re reading this we’ve probably already departed, and are on our way to what hopefully is going to be the greatest tour of our life.

Oh, i almost forgot to mention: the tour schedule can now be found here.