Formative Germany experiences

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Five alumni, five questions: question 4

What was the most formative experience for you during your stay in Germany (professional/private)?

Patrick Opoku

Cultural diversity and are the most formative experiences I encountered during my stay in Germany. Living in Germany offered me a rich cultural experience that broadened my horizon and provided valuable insights into different ways of life. Attending cultural events and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds has contributed to my personal growth and intercultural understanding and the creation of lifelong connections that can not be overlooked or downplayed in my professional and private life. 

Rasha Hanafi

My first long research stay in Germany was when I was a postdoc. The formation I mostly cherish is learning . I took 4 months intensive German in in Mannheim starting A2.1 up to B2.2 as a  step before starting my in Tuebingen. It is a lovely feeling to be a postdoc and sit in a classroom with a teacher, pen and pencil to complete sentences in a workbook, to make role play about your health or your trips! It makes one feel very young especially that those intensive courses gather students from different countries and different age category. It was fun ! Mastering French, English, Spanish and Arabic, I was able to communicate with many students in class during those 4 months in their own language which was fun too! we kept comparing those languages to German and always wondered about position of the verb at end of sentence that makes the meaning of all sentences so intriguing until they end :-).

At the scientific level, each time I had more than 2 months stay in Germany, I had enough time away from teaching and academic responsibilities at my home university to focus and learn a new scientific wet lab or dry lab technique. Instruments may be present in my home university, yet the perfection of the know-how was only possible in Germany due to focusing all day long only on research and having several researchers around who are talking all day science and are willing to share their experience. 

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Olufemi Ernest Ojo

When I first arrived in Germany to attend the Language school, I was accommodated by a very wonderful family that shaped my view of Germans. Their level of hospitality was fantastic. They assisted me in a great way to settle down and feel at home in Germany. They offered me true friendship and I felt really comfortable living with them. We had exciting time together. The family made deliberate efforts to integrate me into their schedules. When I left the Language school, we kept in touch and I often travelled to spend weekend with them. After my postdoctoral research stay and return to my home country, we continue to communicate. On my subsequent visits to Germany, they always invited me to their home and we spent quality time together. They became my adopted family in Germany even up till this day.

When I started my research work in the laboratory, I was motivated by the high level of orderliness and efficiency of operations in the laboratory. There was strict adherence to operational procedures with ample allowance for individual creativeness. At some point in the lab, one of the major equipment I was using for my experiments developed a fault without prior sign. I told my host about the challenge and the consequence it will have on the accuracy of the results from the experiments.  New equipment was ordered immediately to replace the faulty one.  The newly ordered equipment arrived in the lab within 24 hours. All through my research stay in the laboratory, I got all reagents and other laboratory consumables promptly and in abundance.

Pooja Dwivedi

My research in Germany finally gave me that International Exposure; it gave me the confidence to deliver my best work in my research field. The by the was a true opportunity for me to enjoy what I have long strived for - research and full immersion into it, an issue which has interested me for a long time and what is so important to me, my country and our region. It was, indeed, a life in a year for me. A year full of adventures sometimes challenges, and many times amazing experiences, which made it a true cultural immersion.

I worked with people from different nationalities and various streams during my fellowship. It increased my confidence in communicating my research to those outside my field and improved my intercultural skills. I also learned the importance of teamwork and how a healthy work environment benefits us greatly.

Germán Molpeceres

Two experiences define my time in Germany.

Scientifically, the most formative experience was undoubtedly, the moment I realized that I could develop my research line independently. Such a realization came after many small objectives were achieved. When I reached the conclusion that I already had the necessary tools to progress my science, a lot of doors opened and I could focus on the creative part of the scientific job, find gaps of knowledge to fill with my expertise.

On a personal level, the most important experience of my time in Germany was my wedding with my (at that time) girlfriend, whom I met in Stuttgart. At the time of writing this, we are one week away from the birth of our first child, which gives you an idea of the importance of my stay in Germany in my life.

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