Sarah Godfrey, Business Development Manager at DDC OS UK, shares some insight from her recent trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia.
This week I had the pleasure of accompanying some prospective clients on a site visit to our Sarajevo offices, as part of their selection process. They were keen to understand more about our site and our teams, and also about Bosnia as an outsourcing location.
Often, I’m met with the same question when I tell people that we have an office there and that our UK team regularly travel there… is it safe?
Whilst the war is and will always be a huge part of its history, Sarajevo is now a thriving city benefitting from so many languages and cultures that its people have brought home with them following the war. Every time I visit something has changed; the most noticeable this time was that the tiny little ruined house across from the hotel is now a shiny new banking headquarters.
DDC Outsourcing Solutions UK (DDC OS) are more than ever looking at how our UK based clients can benefit from a location such as Sarajevo and visiting exemplifies the extensive benefits. Many of our team were raised and educated in nearby European countries giving us a wealth of language skills, and almost all of our team are either studying or are already University educated. Their passion and eagerness to not just understand our clients and their projects, but also to learn more about them to exceed their expectations, is amazing to see. Their enthusiasm is clear for all to see and they really love what they do.
Something else my travel companions wanted to understand was more about the country itself. A walk around the old town and its beautiful churches shows that Sarajevo is a place where various religions provide a melting pot of culture – just around the corner from a beautiful Mosque is a stunning Greek Orthodox Church, and further on is a stunning Catholic cathedral. It is truly wonderful to take in the atmosphere with its sights and sounds. River Milijacka runs through the centre of the city, and in the evening the road alongside it is closed so that it can be used by families teaching their children to ride bikes, and by cyclists and runners alike.
A few miles away are the stunning mountains that the whole city is surrounded by and perhaps this is where the ‘old meets new’ feel of Sarajevo is most prominent. In 1984 the city hosted the Winter Olympics – with Mount Trebevic being the location for some of the main events. In April this year the cable cars destroyed during the war were reopened; the views from the top are nothing short of breath-taking. Many people choose to walk back down the mountain and this is where you find the bobsleigh track; reclaimed in part and transformed by local graffiti artists, it is something to behold. You can walk the track top to bottom – it is like walking another small piece of Sarajevo’s history.
Sarajevo and its people are so easy to fall in love with, the vibrancy and outlook of its people and the changes that these people are creating, mean that it has a very bright future ahead. I look forward to visiting it again soon.