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Project in Uruguay: impressions and challenges shared by Romualdas, our Project Manager, straight from sunny South America

 We will be working on a modern pulp mill in Uruguay for several years, so there will be no shortage of news about the project. We have already completed 17% the works to be carried out there: everything is going as planned. Romualdas Jurevičius, Project Manager, who has been working on this project for a long time, has visited Uruguay to ensure that the tasks are properly coordinated. This recent interview is to share his impressions from the business trip.

– You have been working on projects abroad for quite a long time now, which has helped to empower your competencies. How has your career progressed at PASSER SIDC?

I have been working in foreign projects since 2015. I started as a welder, later became a foreman, then a supervisor, and now I am a project manager.

– Let’s talk about the current project in Uruguay. How long did the trip to this country take?

The travel from Klaipėda to the site takes about 60 hours.

– Did you have some spare time to get to know this country? What are your impressions about Uruguay?

Montevideo (the capital of Uruguay) did not leave much of an impression, except for the driving culture of the locals, which cannot be compared to what we have in Europe. For example, cars in Uruguay start moving without showing any indication of this intended action, while taxis and motorcycles ride as they wish, and the streets are narrow. Special transport vehicles (ambulance, police) always ride with the siren alarm lights on, which was very strange for us. We asked the locals why this was the case, and they explained that the way should be given to this kind of transport only when audible alarm is on.

The capital itself is quite gloomy, not very tidy. Still, I really appreciated the hospitality of the local people.

North of Montevideo, in the city of Durazno where I stayed, was much quieter, not so much rush and stress. On the way from Montevideo to Durazno, most of the surrounding areas are plains and wide fields where oxen and other cattle graze.

– Did you feel like working in a very distant country?

In Uruguay, very few people speak English, which immediately made me feel like I was in a distant country.

– As you travelled to Uruguay during the pandemic, what travel arrangements had to be followed at that time?

First, a permit to enter Uruguay has to be obtained, which requires a certificate of no criminal record and other notarised documents. A negative Covid-19 test certificate valid for at least 72 hours before arrival to the country is required prior to departure. Upon arrival, a 14-day self-isolation is mandatory, which can be shortened to 7 days after you take the Covid-19 test and the test result is negative.

– What other memorable things happened during the business trip? Have you noticed certain differences in living standards or other differences compared to Lithuania?

I had a curious situation at the airport where someone collected my suitcase (it was of the same design). It wasn’t until I opened the suitcase that I noticed that my stuff wasn’t there. I’m glad I managed to get my suitcase back in an hour.

And in terms of differences, the standard of living in Uruguay is similar to that in Lithuania. On arrival, I stayed in a 4-star hotel – in Europe such a place would correspond to a 2-star hotel.

In brief, a project in Uruguay is full of challenges, and certainly not every employer provides an opportunity to gain experience and work in such an exotic country. I am glad that my competencies and growth are noticed and appreciated by the company where I work.

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