by Julia Mayer
For the first time the EAN regional teaching course “travelled” to Montenegro, to the lovely town of Budva, at the coast, just one hour from the capital Podgorica.
The course was organised by Professor Slavica Vujisic, President of the Montenegrin Neurological Association, and her team from the Clinical Center of Montenegro.
As responsible EAN Head Office person for the RTCs over the past years, it was about time to visit one of these courses myself and see how local organisers deal with the task of organising a 3-day course beside their work-life, and what obstacles they have to overcome scientifically, politically, or simply organisational tasks. I learned a lot, have a better understanding now and found out what works well, what could be improved from both sides and what needs to be changed in the future.
The welcome to Budva could not have been nicer, knowing that the following days would be under bad weather conditions. So we enjoyed very much the sun and warmth, the hospitality and the views to the sea.
For me personally, it was nice to meet the faculty, as I did not know everybody yet. The next day, we started early to finish all preparations for the participants. During the opening ceremony, we heard brief welcoming words by the EAN “godfather” of this course, Professor Theodor Landis, but also by Professor Vujisic herself and the Minister of Health of Montenegro. After that, a local group performed a traditional dance with music which was just beautiful to look at with the colourful clothes and the songs we did not understand but that was not important when you saw the men and women swirl around. After that the course started with the first day programme on the topic of “Epilepsy”. I briefly visited the session and listed for a bit, but since I am no scientist, I was able to see the town a bit.
In the evening, the faculty and some participants visited the nearby mountain-town of Cetinje, which used to be the capital of Montenegro until 1918, where we had a tour of the museum of King Nikola Petrovic. That was very interesting, as he had numerous kids who were married all over Europe back then, so he was the “European father in law” and also the interior of his living quarters was fascinating to look at. We finished the evening with a hearty dinner at a local restaurant, serving typical food of that region. More on this beautiful little country can be found here.
The 2nd day programme had the topic “Peripheral nerve disorders”, where I again started to welcome everybody and listened for a bit. Then Professor Stefan, speaker of the previous day, organised a tour to “Kotor”, a small town just a 30 minute drive away, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and everybody encouraged us to go and visit, despite the rainy weather forecast. Well the rain did start in the end and we almost did not make it back down from the mountain, where Antonella Macerollo (from the EAYNT) and I decided to go up to have a look over the entire countryside…
But the view was well worth the adventure!
In the evening, a dinner with participants and faculty was on the programme, and with local live music we even started dancing in the end.
The last day had a variety as topics and lecturers, and after the last one the attendees could participate in a multiple choice test for which they had 45 minutes time.
I helped the organisers, Prof Vujisic and her colleague Sanja Vodopić to correct them all during the lunch break, so everybody could have their test results and certificate before leaving. Well, my head steamed after all that!
After 4 p.m., when everyone had left and only a few who travelled back the next day stayed, it was time to relax and finally enjoy the hotel and its facilities a bit, before we headed to or last dinner in the old town of Budva. We found a small and simple place with terrific food and local beer and wine, so that was a nice way to end this journey (we tried not to think of the departure time the next morning, at 5.30am…).
I really enjoyed these days with the people I met, I talked a lot and got to know people I only knew by email contact before and this will help my future work tremendously.
Thank you Slavica Vujisic and Sanja Vodopić for giving me the chance to see an RTC first hand from beginning to end! I will come back to Montenegro!