Six members of the SB Passau visited the IEEE Region 8 Student & Young Professional Congress in Krakow from August 5th 2014 till the 10th.
Our journey started in the early morning hours of August 5th in Passau. We loaded two cars with our luggage, and Student Branch members of course, and drove through Austria and the Czech Republic to Poland. After a long drive and some detours we finally arrived at the hostel in Krakow during the early afternoon. The hostel was conveniently located on the campus of the university. After checking into our rooms we walked towards the city center to exchange Euro for Sloty. Returning to the hotel, we ran into a familiar face - Christian Schmid, Region 8 Student Representative - who welcomed us with a cold beer. Later that night, we joined Maciej Krol and other congress visitors in a nice, small restaurant for dinner.
The following day, was used by all Student Branch members to do some sight seeing in Krakow. In the evening, the conges's opening gala took place. We used the streetcars to get from the hostel to Wawel castle, the former residency of the Polish royalty. Unfortunately, we had to wait quite a while in front of the castle before the opening ceremony started inside the castle's beautiful arcade court. Afterwards, the schedule promised a reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. We were quite disappointed to find a very small buffet that was almost immediately empty. Therefore, we decided to set off towards the city to get some food and drinks together with the other congress visitors.
Thursday's schedule was filled with many events: After breakfast, we walked across the big campus to attend the plenary session. Following lunch, the first round of workshops took place. Unfortunately, the schedule was very tight: Therefore, we had to hurry back to the hostel in the evening to quickly get dressed for the gala-dinner. Before the dinner, we walked down a very long staircase into a former salt mine. Our tour guide showed us huge caverns decorated with sculptures chiseled from rock-salt. After this impressive tour, we arrived at the gala dinner hall at a depth of 130 meters. The hall was decorated beautifully and the food was delicious. During the dinner several awards were handed out to different student branches. Fortunately, we used an elevator instead of the stairs to get back to daylight after the dinner.
Friday began with a plenary session, followed by workshops held by the sponsors. In the late afternoon, the poster session took place: Each student branch presented themselves and their activities on a poster. Every conference visitor could cast a vote for her favorite poster. For the evening, the schedule mentioned a BBQ. We traveled through Krakow by bus to arrive at a breathtaking location: A fortress on a mountain with a beautiful view over all of Krakow. Before the buffet was opened, a group picture of all participants was scheduled. After the photographers finally managed to get the perfect shot, people rushed to the buffet. At the same time a small presentation was given on the history and renovation of the fortress. Later, a wine-buffet was opened on the fortress's walls. After enjoying the nighttime view of Krakow from the fortress, we traveled back to the university campus. The party continued in a club on the campus until the early morning hours.
Due to the extensive partying on Friday, some conference participants missed breakfast and visits to local technology companies. After traveling through Krakow in a hot and crowded bus, we finally arrived on the outskirts of the city. Here Nokia and Motorola have their offices. During the tour we learned about the company, its products, engineering practices, and even managed to take a look at some unreleased projects in their lab. In the afternoon, one more workshop took place. However, we were all excited about the multicultural evening that followed. This is one of the most anticipated events of every congress. Every visiting country set up a table with local delicatessen. The Germany Section offered a well-cooled 30 liter keg of beer, obatzda, Jägermeister. Many congress visitors stopped by and enjoyed the food. Unfortunately, the multicultural evening was ended too early by the organizers. Therefore, the party continued in front of the hostel until sunrise.
After breakfast on Sunday, the closing ceremony took place. During this event, the winners of the Best Poster Award were announced: The IEEE Student Branch Passau achieved the third place. In the afternoon we started the trip back to Germany. We arrived in Passau at about 20:00 and ended our exciting trip with dinner at Va bene.