Friday, March 18, 2016

UL SPIE in Wrocław

You might have seen some pictures floating around Facebook. But do you know what it was really all about? 
The event as seen on Facebook. #ULSPIE
Just a little while back – from the 26th to 28th of February –, a handful of UL SPIE chapter members set out to visit our colleagues in Poland – SPIE and OSA student chapters from Wrocław University of Technology – to exchange ideas, experiences and strengthen partnership between the chapters.

Sightseeing in Wrocław.
In a flock of 10 lovely enthusiasts (not to be confused with a herd) we squeezed into 2 cars (a Mazda3 and a Volkswagen of the Golf series, in case you wondered) – 5 people in each. Whether any of us asked for it or not, the other 4 people in one’s car became a family for approximately 13 hours. Turns out Poland is quite big. After what seemed an infinite amount of gas station stops and a few rounds of Ballējam, neguļam*  we finally arrived in Wrocław around 9am. Our first activity together as a chapter delegation – catching up with sleep for a couple of hours. 

Girls and fiber lasers.
After this very productive activity, we finally met up with Mateusz – the main organizer from our colleagues' side. Mateusz kindly took our flock to the University, and showed us around. The Laser & Fiber Electronics Group were kind enough to tell us about their advances in fiber laser development and show around the laboratories – an amazing work and lovely people. In the evening we went out to see the beautiful city center with all the old buildings and gnomes hiding around every corner and get to know the Polish chapters better. 

Saturday began with a small breakfast and then we were all ready for the soft-skill training workshops. Within hours of arriving we had already walked on a rope, found out what are our strengths and weaknesses in a team, what our perfect city would look like and who can build the best spaghetti tower. Needless to say that the group of people who glued their spaghetti to the wall did have the highest structure, even though not self-supported. Sort of makes you wish that people could build huge towers gluing scraps of metal and concrete to the sky.

After a very insightful day meeting and getting to know everyone (and ourselves as well), we went out for a friendly game of Laser Tag. If you have worked with lasers as well as ever played any first-person-shooter game, you know the thrill and excitement of getting to blast someone’s light-sensitive chest-piece with a huge laser-beam also known as the anti-tank gun. The guys relived their childhood fighting in the backyard, the girls were thrilled to hold guns. All in all everyone had a blast (pun intended). The evening ended with another great mixer between our delegation and the Polish chapter members.

Unfortunately, one of our little families (the 5 person car-set package) had to be leaving Sunday morning. And so it happened – half of our delegation set out for another thrilling 13 hour ride of endless gas-station stops whilst the other half went on to self-improve further in “How to make real work in the project?” workshop.

Dealing with the aftermath of these amazing social event is never easy (maybe you have heard of the term “Social-hangover”), but now, looking back at it all, our team has become stronger and better organized, we've established new connections and really hope to welcome our Polish colleagues to Latvia sometime soon.

*latv. – Party, don’t sleep

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