1. What do you miss most about home?
I come from rural part of the Liptov region, wedged between the High and Low Tatra Mountain ranges. What I miss the most about home is the view of the mountains and opportunities they provide to let off steam during weekends. In this environment, I enjoy hiking and mountain biking, both of which are trickier to pursue here in Belgium.
2. What have you found rewarding about working in such a multinational environment as SHAPE?
The experience working amongst experts with diverse backgrounds is very humbling. While I have spent my university studies abroad, there were not that many opportunities for me to live, work and interact with people from 30+ nationalities on daily basis. Since I am also both a civilian in a predominantly military environment and a recent university graduate in senior headquarters, SHAPE is for me a uniquely heterogenous environment. This cultural diversity together with a professional setting that is goal-oriented and enables potential is the greatest strength of SHAPE. It makes tackling of everyday tasks a more rewarding experience while it also motivates me to improve my knowledge of different cultures and make new lifelong friendships.
3. What is something unique about Slovakia that others might not know?
Despite being a landlocked country, Slovakia is famous for its water. To be more specific, for the mineral water and thermal springs. We have 21 spa towns plus some thermal spas and parks, with the most famous ones likely being Piešťany, Bardejov and Trenčianske Teplice.
Besides, water also forms spectacular natural formations of which there are plenty thanks to the relatively mountainous terrain. Slovakia has, for example, over 7,500 caves of which 20 can be easily visited and 6 of them are included on the UNESCO world heritage list.
4. During normal non COVID times how would you usually celebrate this national day?
The Constitution Day or 'Deň Ústavy Slovenskej republiky' commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the country's constitution on September 1, 1992. This event preceded the peaceful dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic which ceased to exist on December 31, 1992.
We usually mark the event by visiting cultural sites, events, and commemorating the history of the country. The Constitution Day serves also as a reminder, examining our past and promoting discussion on how as a society we can move forwards by building stronger institutions and improving the democratic rule of law.