Our researchers in the time of the pandemic /

Researchers of the month

MARCH 2021

Glaúber Pontes Rodrigues

Do you have any idea or suggestion for our community/what we could do in this time?,

„We live in times of denial of scientifically based facts (anti-vaccine and anti-mask protests erupt around the world). It is necessary for us researches to make a self-assessment and think about alternatives to disseminate scientific knowledge in a more accessible way to the population. It is not enough to take information, but to know how to transmit, because so much information we receive daily, many think they are “specialists in everything”. Research is not an easy task, it can be frustrating many times, but we must seek strength in these adversities. In addition, we must be in solidarity with those who do not have the opportunity to be in privileged places that we are now (as an internationally known University, for instance) and without access to basic dignity at a time when the pandemic showed that the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest only increases.“

Glaúber Pontes Rodrigues

Age: 28 years | Nationality: Brazilian | Field of study / work: Hydrology (PhD student at Institut für Umweltwissenschaften und Geographie)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

That was hard because I cannot choose one place in Potsdam (and I am glad I saw everything with and without snow): Park Babelsberg, Park Sanssouci, the Neues Palais campus (which is in my way from home to the Golm campus), Alter Markt, the bridge over the Havel near the Filmmuseum…

The most surprising thing about Germany?

Several things surprised me. The first was the friendliness of the German people and the effort to help. The cliché of the severe and rigid German no longer makes sense and has fallen apart since the first moment in the Airport. So far everyone has been genuinely nice to help me catch a train, for example, or to give me information. However, in the supermarket, things change a bit… In Brazil, I considered myself someone who packs my own purchases fast, but the Germans do this as if they were already taught since childhood! It is not uncommon to go to the market and receive looks disapproving my packaging speed. Also, the prices of things surprised me positively, the basic items are really cheap (and so is the beer).

My advice for fellow scholars:

Try to talk about your research subject with your colleagues and even with people from outside your work environment. Some excellent contributions to your research can come from everywhere. Also, don’t feel intimidated by the language (but don't underestimate it). Surround yourself with German, listening, reading, speaking... German grammar can give you a headache, but over time things start to flow. Try to organize weekly schedules, daily goals, for example, always keeping in mind that it is not easy at all and trying to learn everything fast can create traumas and blockages.

My future plans:

My internship in Potsdam only lasts one year, so I must return to Brazil to develop my last year of the PhD and defend my Thesis. I hope to find a much better place than the one I said goodbye in January and share the knowledge acquired in this short period in Potsdam. In the short term I intend to improve my programming skills (for my research and because it is something very well seen here in Germany). In the medium term, I intend to write a relevant article about my research (which covers evaporation in reservoirs in the Brazilian semiarid and climate change scenarios). In the long term I plan to return to Germany, as a post doc, who knows... Returning or not, I expect to contribute to the development of my region with better understanding of the hydrological processes in the Brazilian semiarid region.

Where were you during the first months of the pandemic?

I was in my city (Fortaleza, northeast of Brazil), where the first Covid cases arose in March 2020.

How did the lockdown affect your (professional) life?

At the beginning of the restrictive measures, I was conducting my experiment in a lake located in the neighbouring city. It was hard because the restrictive measures made travel less and less frequent and we had to remove the experiment from the lake. Luckily, we collected enough data, and I came to Germany with that already recorded. So, from now on I don't need to go to the field anymore, a laptop with the programs I need and an internet connection are enough.

Was there also a positive outcome for you during these months?

As I could no longer attend the university restaurant at the Brazilian university and spend all day at home, I developed skills in the kitchen; in Germany I realized that I could manage with (almost) any culinary ingredient. In addition, in Potsdam I am riding more bicycle than I have ever been in my life, and this is great even for mental health.

Is there anything you are appreciating more now?

I am enjoying more time alone. It is difficult, but necessary, mainly because PhD research is somewhat solitary. I am able to entertain myself (and speaking English and German out loud alone, I recommend it to anyone who is learning languages).

Glaúber Pontes Rodrigues

Do you have any idea or suggestion for our community/what we could do in this time?,

„We live in times of denial of scientifically based facts (anti-vaccine and anti-mask protests erupt around the world). It is necessary for us researches to make a self-assessment and think about alternatives to disseminate scientific knowledge in a more accessible way to the population. It is not enough to take information, but to know how to transmit, because so much information we receive daily, many think they are “specialists in everything”. Research is not an easy task, it can be frustrating many times, but we must seek strength in these adversities. In addition, we must be in solidarity with those who do not have the opportunity to be in privileged places that we are now (as an internationally known University, for instance) and without access to basic dignity at a time when the pandemic showed that the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest only increases.“

JANUARY 2021

Mitali Damle

Was there also a positive outcome for you during these months?,

„Certainly! Just like every dark cloud is laced by a silver lining, there have been quite some positives for me. Working from home meant I saved commute time and in general, had more time which was available for other things. With the gyms and other sporting facilities being shut, going outdoors for a daily run became a routine for me. In the process, I was able to discover quite many hidden, beautiful spots in my neighborhood (which I, otherwise, might have not had the chance to explore). I also started sketching again, started reading books more regularly and experienced a renewed interest in cooking. I guess, over the course of past few months, my mental strength has increased a bit and I now feel less terrified when I think about the uncertainty that accompanies this pandemic.“

Mitali Damle

Age: 29 years | Nationality: Indian | Field of study / work: (2nd year) PhD student in Astrophysics

 

Where were you during the first months of the pandemic?

I had just returned from a trip from my home country, India, when the news of a possible lockdown started surfacing here in Germany. During the initial couple of months of lockdown, I was holed up in my apartment in Potsdam and was entirely working in home office.

How did the lockdown affect your (professional) life?

Though, thankfully, the pandemic did not directly affect me or my near ones, overall, it certainly had a significant impact on my professional life. Firstly, coming to grips with this sort of a situation and the accompanying unique restrictions took some substantial amount of time for me. Luckily, my field and topic does not require any specific work setup; a laptop and a good internet connection is all I need to get on with my work. However, the nature of a PhD usually means working individually most of the time and therefore, chatting with your work/group colleagues over a coffee break or lunch fulfils a much-needed requirement for social interaction. With COVID-19, all of these were replaced by much less frequent Zoom meetups, which, though a good alternative cannot completely mimic real face-to-face conversational setups. Lots of conferences were cancelled, a ton of others were postponed and consequently held online. For an early-stage PhD student, conferences are not just an important way to get to know the work of peers and experts of the field and interact with them but to also present your own work to the community. Nonetheless, the coming year is likely to have quite a few of them in online format which would certainly compensate for the lack of networking for a lot of PhD students like me.

Is there anything you are appreciating more now?

Reading daily news about the strenuous job of healthcare workers across the world, people who had jobs that required them to travel even in such circumstances, many others who had lost their jobs and so many more who had lost their near-dear ones to this virus has made me appreciate the fact that I have a stable, well-paying job and that my family is safe as well.  

Do you have any idea or suggestion for our community/what we could do in this time?

Well next time we have to find out how to help the weakest students. We lose them more or less right way.

Maybe it could be possible to differentiate so those seminars with few students could be in real life at university and we still could keep up all Corona conditions.

Mitali Damle

Was there also a positive outcome for you during these months?,

„Certainly! Just like every dark cloud is laced by a silver lining, there have been quite some positives for me. Working from home meant I saved commute time and in general, had more time which was available for other things. With the gyms and other sporting facilities being shut, going outdoors for a daily run became a routine for me. In the process, I was able to discover quite many hidden, beautiful spots in my neighborhood (which I, otherwise, might have not had the chance to explore). I also started sketching again, started reading books more regularly and experienced a renewed interest in cooking. I guess, over the course of past few months, my mental strength has increased a bit and I now feel less terrified when I think about the uncertainty that accompanies this pandemic.“

DECEMBER 2020

Ariane Sasso

Age: 33 | Nationality: Brazilian | Field of study / work: Digital Health and Personalized Medicine - Hasso Plattner Institute

An international researcher gives an insight into her experience in Germany during the pandemic

NOVEMBER 2020

Denish Otiene Odanga

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„The beautiful transport system! You can plan with it and meet all your appointments without a struggle. And the biking culture. Back at home bicycles are getting replaced with motorcycles and I realized how that is a bad idea. l have seen senior citizens ride bikes and I think this helps in physical fitness. Oh, and Germans hardly open up!“

Denish Otiene Odanga

Age: 30 | Nationality: Kenyan | Field of study / work: Literature and Cultures

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

l love being in Park Sanssouci and the historical structures in Platz der Einheit. l am yet to explore Berlin. lt is the next stop.

My advice for fellow scholars:

Settle down as soon as you can and get going with your project. You have to achieve your goal and time consciousness is key. But your main goal should not make you fail to explore this new place. You have beautiful things around you, explore! Also, purpose to learn German language. Doing so will not only make your life easy but also help you understand and appreciate the German culture.

My future plans:

I plan to continue researching in my area of interest (literatures and cultures of the minority in the cosmopolites) and to help fizzle out the phobia that characterizes our interactions.

 

Denish Otiene Odanga

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„The beautiful transport system! You can plan with it and meet all your appointments without a struggle. And the biking culture. Back at home bicycles are getting replaced with motorcycles and I realized how that is a bad idea. l have seen senior citizens ride bikes and I think this helps in physical fitness. Oh, and Germans hardly open up!“

OCTOBER 2020

Hans Krab Koed

How did the lockdown affect my (professional) life?,

„I just gave my lectures virtual by Zoom. I did already do a lot of digital teaching in Denmark, but of course it was disappointing not being able to be on spot in Potsdam, not being able to socialize and exchange thoughts and ideas with colleagues. Sad not to mee the students in real life. It was my luck, that I already had been as an Erasmus dozent twice and therefore had so good contact to some of the professors. They did help me a lot with practical matters. Especially dr. Dirk Schuster was a great help.“

Hans Krab Koed

Age: 70 years | Nationality: Danish | Field of study / work: Department of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies

 

Where were you during the first months of the pandemic?

In Denmark. Borders were closed and it was not legal for my husband to go to Berlin, as he afterwards would be quarantined at his work in Denmark. And there would be no insurance. Well all my lectures had to be virtual ZOOM online, which meant it does not matter where you were.

Was there also a positive outcome for you during these months?

Yes I got much more experience in using Zoom and I did learn how to get more close and deeper into the texts we did study, as I did share the text on Zoom right while I was giving those lectures.

Is there anything you are appreciating more now?

Yes, being close to students and colleagues in real life. It is like no propose in studying how to live together and understand identities if you are just absent and keep distance.

Do you have any idea or suggestion for our community/what we could do in this time?

Well next time we have to find out how to help the weakest students. We loose then more or less right way.

Maybe it could be possible to differentiate so those seminars with few students could be in real life at university and we still could keep up all Corona conditions.

Hans Krab Koed

How did the lockdown affect my (professional) life?,

„I just gave my lectures virtual by Zoom. I did already do a lot of digital teaching in Denmark, but of course it was disappointing not being able to be on spot in Potsdam, not being able to socialize and exchange thoughts and ideas with colleagues. Sad not to mee the students in real life. It was my luck, that I already had been as an Erasmus dozent twice and therefore had so good contact to some of the professors. They did help me a lot with practical matters. Especially dr. Dirk Schuster was a great help.“


My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin/ surroundings:

Kuhhorn an der Havel. Like so much the rivers and lakes around Potsdam and Berlin

The most surprising thing about Germany?

The very polite manner between students and teacher. As a Dane I do like it a lot. Its relaxing and a professional attitude and relationship. Well of course you also can miss the informal relation as we have it in Denmark.

My future plans:

To follow up in Denmark on theories of identity based on with nationality and religion. To give lectures about Dr. Dirk Schuster’s studies on the connection between Christianity and antisemitism, and to do more research local in Denmark about religious communities like in Professor Hans Hafner’s work. “Glauben in Potsdam.”

My advice for fellow scholars:

Try to visit the university before you apply for your scholarship. Get some contacts before your stay. Its much easier in the short time of 6 month to get a good result out of your stay.


SEPTEMBER 2020

Fadi Alhomoch

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings,

„The historical identity of the place means a lot to me. It is not possible to limit the huge number of places that can be visited especially for nature lovers and meditation. For me, I love standing on The Glienicke Bridge across the Havel lake, which was the checkpoint between two countries that later united. Also, visiting the Cecilienhof Palace in the New Garden in which the Potsdam agreement in 1945 was signed was very emotional.“

Fadi Alhomoch

Age: 45 years | Nationality: Syrian | Field of study / work: Food science-Milk quality (PhD candidate)

 

The most surprising thing about Germany?

The variety in bakery sparks a lot of my curiosity. Excellent traffic system. The equal opportunities system for children in education. Germans keep distance and don’t make a friend quickly, but when you have a friendship with German, it is precious.

My advice for future scholars:

Being very surrounding and prepared with the aspect of your research, through soft-relevant skills of your field. Very crucial thing which will make a big difference in your life is learning the German language.

My future plans:

I would like to continue in the field of research to be a dairy technologist. Also becoming involved in organizations that support small scale sector farmers and livestock keepers in Syria.

 

Fadi Alhomoch

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings,

„The historical identity of the place means a lot to me. It is not possible to limit the huge number of places that can be visited especially for nature lovers and meditation. For me, I love standing on The Glienicke Bridge across the Havel lake, which was the checkpoint between two countries that later united. Also, visiting the Cecilienhof Palace in the New Garden in which the Potsdam agreement in 1945 was signed was very emotional.“

AUGUST 2020

Karen Jacob

My advice for fellow scholars,

„In the beginning things might seem complicated, but with a little patience you discover a rich and interesting culture. The university has a lot of helpful facilities, and I would advise you to take the opportunity to learn the German language.“

Karen Jacob

Age: 43 years | Nationality: Israeli | Field of study / work: Philosophy (PhD candidate)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

In Potsdam: The Havel area, and all the ancient historical monuments.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

Germany is rich with natural flora, and water resources which gives a feeling of peace, quiet and serenity.

My future plans:

I plan to travel and tour Germany and the neighboring countries.

 

Karen Jacob

My advice for fellow scholars,

„In the beginning things might seem complicated, but with a little patience you discover a rich and interesting culture. The university has a lot of helpful facilities, and I would advise you to take the opportunity to learn the German language.“

JULY 2020

Timothy O. Tella

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„The tuition-free universities and the freedom of scientific researchers really amaze me. Although I am awed by the warmness of most Germans, I am surprised that it really takes time to make friends with one.“

Timothy O. Tella

Age: 31 | Nationality: Nigerian | Field of study / work: Sedimentology / Stratigraphic Forward Modelling (PhD Candidate)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

I love the serenity and aesthetics of the Park Sansouci and I love to walk along the Freundschaftsinsel near the Hauptbahnof.

My advice for fellow scholars:

The availability of most of the facilities required for research also puts a time-constraint on how much can be done. I think the most important factor in the discharge of your research is time. Spend your time smartly on your research but also plan to enjoy Germany. Make friends, make memories, and make impact.

My future plans:

I plan to work in the georesources industry bringing in my training as a geoscientist and as a researcher. While doing that, I hope to find a way to impact my locality practically through the establishment of a quality community school for orphans and destitutes. Maybe (just maybe) I may get into politics one day too, but it is not on top of the list.

 

Timothy O. Tella

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„The tuition-free universities and the freedom of scientific researchers really amaze me. Although I am awed by the warmness of most Germans, I am surprised that it really takes time to make friends with one.“

JUNE 2020

Tugce Aral

My future plans,

„I hope to continue to do research and improve our understanding of intergroup relations between privileged and underprivilege groups. I would also like to create opportunities to empower women/children of color in Germany.“

Tuğçe Aral

Age: 26 years | Nationality: Turkish | Field of study / work: Inclusive Education – Diversity in Education and Development

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

In Potsdam: Park Sanssouci
In Berlin: Tempelhof Feld and multicultural neighborhoods (Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Rixdorf), Maybachufer Fleamarket.

My advice for fellow scholars:

The time flies by, and there is so much to get done in a limited time. Choose your advisors wisely; a healthy relationship with your advisors is one of the essential parts of a Ph.D. Try setting short-term and long-term goals and keep checking them whether you are on the right track. Also, take care of your physical and mental health; they matter the most!

I would also suggest fellow scholars learn German, especially the ones who are doing their Ph.D. in social science departments. Because learning German will help you to better understand the social structures in German society and be a more active member of your scientific community.

 

Tugce Aral

My future plans,

„I hope to continue to do research and improve our understanding of intergroup relations between privileged and underprivilege groups. I would also like to create opportunities to empower women/children of color in Germany.“

MAY 2020

Hind Emad

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„As a resident of Potsdam, I am amazed by the historical and cultural monuments, each one tells a story about Germany.“

Hind Emad

Age: 34 | Nationality: Sudanese | Field of study / work: Molecular Biotechnology (Visiting scientist)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

I am impressed with potsdam gardens and palaces. The historic architecture and abundance of greenery are very pleasant.

My advice for fellow scholars:

Germany is a great place for research. Become part of a large international research community and benefit from the excellent infrastructure, a wide variety of disciplines and well-equipped research facilities. Be patient to achieve your goals and keep going.

My future plans:

I will keep on working as an assistant professor, delivering lectures and conducting research to understand how plants respond to environmental stresses and finding a way to develop stress tolerant crops. I believe, there is always more to learn, discover and opportunities to be of service to one’s community, country and the world.

 

Hind Emad

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„As a resident of Potsdam, I am amazed by the historical and cultural monuments, each one tells a story about Germany.“

APRIL 2020

Noon Bushra Eltahir

My future plans,

„I will keep working on research and teaching in the university. Therefore, I will improve myself in modern and top scientific methods at the molecular biology and animal behavior. In addition it will promote the very interesting evolutionary and conservation research. Moreover, I am looking to publish my research and transfer this knowledge to my students and colleagues who are engaged in the same field of study in my country. I will keep conducting scientific research as I am convinced that; a scientist’s journey has no end.“

Noon Bushra Eltahir

Age: 33 | Nationality: Sudanese | Field of study / work: Animal Behavior and Molecular Biology (PhD candidate)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

Germany has many beautiful places to visit. I was amazed by the beautiful landscapes and the architectures of the historical places especially in Potsdam.

In Berlin: The Museum of Natural History, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall and Zoo are the most attractive places I have ever visited.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

The uniqueness of the community and culture here. People are kind and always ready to help. In Germany, you can find people from different nationalities. This diversity gives people the chance to get exposed to different cultures and traditions. Especially during the pandemic of coronavirus, I realise that the society deals with it in a serious manner. People are well organized, united and committed to rules.

My advice for fellow scholars:

Laboratories, instruments and up to date references are within your hands. Hence you are here for a limited period of time; you can get the most out of all these facilities available for you. Moreover, you have to be patient with all the circumstances you might face and try to learn German language.

 

Noon Bushra Eltahir

My future plans,

„I will keep working on research and teaching in the university. Therefore, I will improve myself in modern and top scientific methods at the molecular biology and animal behavior. In addition it will promote the very interesting evolutionary and conservation research. Moreover, I am looking to publish my research and transfer this knowledge to my students and colleagues who are engaged in the same field of study in my country. I will keep conducting scientific research as I am convinced that; a scientist’s journey has no end.“

MARCH 2020

Francesco Belli

My advice for fellow scholars,

„Be patient with bureaucracy and red tape stuffs, everything will be fine.“

Francesco Belli

Age: 33 years | Nationality: Italian | Field of study / work: Cognitive Neurosciences

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

 Babelsberg and Dutch Quarter in Potsdam, Spreepark and Kreuzberg in Berlin.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

The surrounding sense of movement, construction and constant changing, that you can literally breath in.

My future plans:

I would like to keep on working in research and university, hopefully take up a fruitful academic career.

 

Francesco Belli

My advice for fellow scholars,

„Be patient with bureaucracy and red tape stuffs, everything will be fine.“

JANUAR 2020

My advice for fellow scholars,

„I know that we are all busy with our research projects, however, I would like to suggest that you invest some time on learning the German language. Learning German will get you to know more about the German culture which is worth exploring, you will get to understand the German humour which does exist and you will get yourself engaged in very interesting conversations.“

Nada Abdel-Hak

Age: 30 years | Nationality: Egypt | Field of study / work: Geosciences (PhD candidate)

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

I like the natural landscapes in Potsdam. Walking by the water bodies and seeing the architecture of the trimmed trees is my favorite activity.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

Germany is highly international and diverse; I have met people from almost all the countries of the world, from different cultures and backgrounds. This diversity gives people the chance to experience different cultures, to see one's own culture through the eyes of other cultures which is always surprising and amazing, moreover, to question many of the stereotypes one have in mind through meeting actual people.

My future plans:

I have been working in teaching and research at the university for the last 9 years. And my future plan is to continue my journey in science.

My advice for fellow scholars,

„I know that we are all busy with our research projects, however, I would like to suggest that you invest some time on learning the German language. Learning German will get you to know more about the German culture which is worth exploring, you will get to understand the German humour which does exist and you will get yourself engaged in very interesting conversations.“

DECEMBER 2019

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„I come from a place where people love wearing bright colours so the lack of this in German everyday fashion was surprising to me. The people here seem to prefer dark clothing.“

Alexandra-Selene Jarvis

Age: 36 | Nationality: Trinidadian (from Trinidad & Tobago) | Field of study / work: Fluid Systems Modelling (PhD candidate) 

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

Neuer Garten, Potsdam; KaDeWe and Kurfürstendamm in Berlin

My advice for fellow scholars:

Maybe you are here for a limited time, so take the opportunity to learn as much as you can both inside and outside the academic environment. While Germany offers some of the world’s best educational and professional opportunities, it also affords you a myriad of cultural experiences that is native to Europe. Berlin grants easy access to all other European nations so take advantage to travel especially when you need some away from your project to relax.

My future plans:

Work in the renewable energy storage and recovery field and share my knowledge as often as possible. Travel the world, take photos to immortalize unforgettable moments and share them. I have spent the last 14 years working, studying and travelling abroad. I have been fortunate to have won a series of scholarships and fellowships, enabling my academic achievements. I would like to implement a scholarship program in my native country to assist young people from underprivileged backgrounds, especially young women, to achieve their academic goals.

 

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„I come from a place where people love wearing bright colours so the lack of this in German everyday fashion was surprising to me. The people here seem to prefer dark clothing.“

NOVEMBER 2019

My future plans,

„I hope to publish my research in a book and to return to my country to impart the knowledge to my students, university community and affect my environment positively. I also hope to establish a private university in Nigeria in the near future. Tall dream but supremely realizable.“

Prof. Dr. James Tar Tsaaior

Age: 49 | Nationality: Nigeria | Field of study / work: Cultural Studies/Postcolonial Studies; Stand-Up comedy and Nigeria's postcolonial imaginary

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

Not just one place, actually but a couple of places, for their serenity and peaceful ambience. The Potsdam Garden close to the Hauptbahnhof; the Wannsee River; Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Potsdam.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

That is the widespread bicycling culture despite the efficient public transport system. In my country, bicycles are metaphors of poverty.

My advice for fellow scholars:

The research experience affords an infinite bouquet of opportunities and possibilities for academic work and intellectual networks, cultural understanding and friendships. So while we conduct our research which is our primary concern, scholars should also invest their time and energies in the pursuit of these other legitimate concerns which can enhance our common humanity, promote cultural understanding and build a better world for our generation and posterity.

 

My future plans,

„I hope to publish my research in a book and to return to my country to impart the knowledge to my students, university community and affect my environment positively. I also hope to establish a private university in Nigeria in the near future. Tall dream but supremely realizable.“

OCTOBER 2019

My advice for fellow scholars,

„Keep an open mind. Forget about what you have heard about PhDs, supervisors or the community in which you are doing your research, and give yourself a chance to define and enjoy your own personal experiences.“

Obed Kambasu

Age: 35 years | Nationality: Uganda | Field of study / work: Political Science

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/ Berlin / surroundings:

I love the water bodies around Berlin and Potsdam. I have taken boat trips around the Spree, the Havel, Müggelsee, and the River Cruise "Tour of 7 Lakes" from Wannsee to Potsdam. Apart from taking boat tours and canoeing, I also love fishing on these water bodies.

The most surprising thing about Germany?

The friendliness of the people. One of the less talked about traits of German people is that they are humble, kind and always looking to help others. I was for example surprised to see that nearly everyone is happy to offer their seat on public transport to elderly people and children.

My future plans:

To work as an international development consultant, using my research to advise governments and international development partners.

 

My advice for fellow scholars,

„Keep an open mind. Forget about what you have heard about PhDs, supervisors or the community in which you are doing your research, and give yourself a chance to define and enjoy your own personal experiences.“

SEPTEMBER 2019

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„Amalgamation of Lernfreiheit (Freedom to learn) and Lehrfreiheit (Freedom to teach) One of the central attributes of the German education system is freedom, provided both to the students and the teachers which enables a great degree of autonomy at both end of the spectrum. Students have the freedom to ask questions, freedom to develop, and to solving problems. This core attribute, in my opinion, is what differentiates the German education system from others thereby making Germany a ‘knowledge-based economy’. “

Ankit Agarwal

Age: 28 | Nationality: Indian | Field of Research: PhD in Hydro-Climatology

 

My favorite place in Potsdam/Berlin/surroundings:

Wannsee lake and nearby forest

My advice for fellow scholars:

Focus on key-skills courses offered by either your respective institute or POGS. They are incredibly important and helpful. Most of the German universities have many key skill courses such as communication, collaboration, networking, slide preparing, scientific writing etc. The integration of these courses in academic (mostly research) curriculum will indeed boost your self-confidence.

My future plans:

Recently, I have secured an assistant professor position at IIT-Roorkee in Hydrology Department. My joining is due on the 1st of October, 2019. With the growing recognition and need to global actions to tackle the climate crisis, my research team and I will broadly focus on deciphering the complexity in Indian Monsoon, its prediction and technical felicitation mechanism through teleconnections. In achieving the solutions to these research problems, I deeply acknowledge the importance of partnership and international cooperation, partnerships and other collaborative forums. My long-term goal after going back to India is to keep the bi-lateral relationship alive and explore opportunities to send new talent to Germany for study and research.

The most surprising thing about Germany,

„Amalgamation of Lernfreiheit (Freedom to learn) and Lehrfreiheit (Freedom to teach) One of the central attributes of the German education system is freedom, provided both to the students and the teachers which enables a great degree of autonomy at both end of the spectrum. Students have the freedom to ask questions, freedom to develop, and to solving problems. This core attribute, in my opinion, is what differentiates the German education system from others thereby making Germany a ‘knowledge-based economy’. “