Monday, September 28, 2009

Good times in Switzerland

Grüezi mitenand!

When I left North America in August, I did not anticipate how productive I would be and how much fun I would have. At the Eawag Institute in Zurich, I was warmly welcomed by the Aquatic Ecology/Evolutionary Biology group. The students and professors have helped me with my work and encouraged me to share my research skills and experience. There is a lot of communication amongst biology graduate students in Switzerland and many students form collaborations. I've had several opportunities to learn from others. In my 5 weeks here, I have participated in a student workshop on host-parasite evolution (my research area), I am a member of a reading group, and I am writing a biological model with a Swiss PhD student. With so many opportunities to talk with grad students, I am learning more each day and coming up with new ideas for experiments. As an aspiring scientist, I thrive on these interactions. Switzerland seems to be a hotspot for research in evolutionary biology!

I am also having a lot of fun outside the institute! I have hiked in the beautiful Alps (I enjoy seeing the cows with bells), and toured Bern and Zurich, both on my own and with Swiss students. When travelling, I try to learn and use new words in Swiss German. I have even ordered food, train tickets, and beer in Swiss German. Many people in Zurich and other big cities speak english, but I think they appreciate any effort to speak bits of their language.

My time here has been filled with professional and personal adventures (as well as yummy chocolate), and the best part is....I still have 6 weeks left!


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