In addition to the intellectual stimulation, the summer school provided plenty of other wonderful opportunities. What I enjoyed most was the chance to interact with so many international colleagues, many of whom I am sure I will meet again and again throughout our careers. Through poster sessions, workshops, group presentations, and shared meals, I felt that I had the chance to chat with the majority of the 70 or so participants. As an American, I am fascinated with how other countries manage everything from healthcare to funding graduate students. Thanks to the fact that everyone there was more than fluent in English, I was able to learn a great deal about how many European countries function and to share my experiences in the US with my foreign colleagues.
And of course, it is impossible to visit Switzerland and fail to be awestruck by the country’s beauty. While I had been to Grindelwald once before, I forgot just what a spectacular scene the sheer rock walls bedecked with glaciers formed behind the folds of verdant hills flecked with sunflowers, cows, and Swiss chalets. Having spent several years working in the American ski industry, which always seeks to emulate the Swiss ideal, I realized just how off the mark our resort towns are! And as an amateur gardener, I was humbled by the prolific gardens that filled the valley with varicolored blossoms and monstrous vegetables. The window boxes alone would put most other flowerbeds to shame.
The destination for our excursion: the perfect place for apero
I am glad to be back home after what has been a long summer of travel, but I feel very lucky to have attended the NCCR Climate Summer School, and extremely grateful to ThinkSwiss for supporting my participation. Through these informal conversations over dinner or while strolling through the beautiful scenery of the Alps, I forged important relationships with people who I look forward to collaborating with in the future. I also learned a great deal about people whose work differs vastly from mine, but is invaluable in the multidisciplinary effort to understand and prepare for the effects of climate change. Although we discussed many challenges that will prove difficult problems for the scientists and policymakers of the next century, I am encouraged by the existence of international gatherings like this summer school and the open, collaborative attitude that the instructors and participants bring to it. Climate change is a global issue, and will require many countries to come together in unprecedented ways. I am glad to have met some of my international colleagues so early on, and feel confident that we will work together on these important issues in the future.