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Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

My summer sojourn in Berlin was an amazing and enlightening experience from every sphere of life. From the moment I set my foot in Deutschland, I could only appreciate and admire various aspects that struck me. Be it cleanliness, punctuality, safety, work culture or engineering, Germans are really good at them all.

In the initial few days, the handouts provided by FUB International Office did prove handy to help us feel like a denizen in this new environment. The accommodation at Studentendorf Schlachtensee was a comfortable one, especially due to it's proximity to popular markets - ALDI and Reichelt, to a beautiful lake - Schlachtensee and easy connectivity via transport. Language is not much of an issue in Berlin but it's fun to learn a few German words as they may prove handy. Berlin never ceases to amaze you by it's vibrant and vivid cosmopolitan atmosphere. One does get impressed by the range of experiences it offers, be it cultural diversity, range of options for food and drink, connectivity and punctuality of transportation, vivid nightlife, exquisite art and architecture, fashion, rich history, sports, and the list never ends.

I worked in Dr. Jens Rolff's evolutionary biology lab at FUB. I must admit that I have never experienced or imagined a lab to be so diverse and well coordinated in it's approach as this before. This was truly an international lab with a global community as my labmates were from France, China, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, Egypt, Cuba and of course Deutschland. I was definitely impressed by the work culture of this place. I found cooperation, coordination, professionalism and a sense of responsibility among people, in every walk of life. There was a lot to learn, be it from my subject, during lab meets and discussions or about people and place, during casual conversations at barbeque parties. We also had the opportunity of attending the grand dinner and get together held as part of FUB's International Week at the place where legendary Noble laureates like Tagore, Einstein and many more used to meet.


The research project was an extension of the work I had been doing in my previous summers. I worked on Tenebrio molitor (Mealworm) as a model organism and tried to answer interesting questions pertaining to the field of ecology and evolution by running pertinent assays, using tools of molecular biology. It helped me understand and appreciate the role of a model organism and grow as an experimental biologist. I learned how to handle and maintain them from initial stages such as larvae to ultimately getting out required inferences from them as data for our experiments.

I enjoyed the working days and during weekends, either I was ready for action, playing my innings as a wicketkeeper batsman for a local cricket club or was lost in the charming beauty of European cities and countryside. Being an ardent lover of art, architecture, music and natural beauty, I enjoyed exploring places like Dresden, Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle, Amsterdam, Prague, Innsbruck and Antwerp.

Interestingly, the UEFA Champions League 2015's grand finale, which was held on 6th June at the Olympiastadion, drenched the entire city in a festive mood with fans of Juventus and Barcelona pouring in, chanting and cheering for their respective teams wholeheartedly.

Loaded with experiences from my first international exposure and with the sight of magnificent Brandenburger Tor etched into my heart, it was time for me to say "Tschüss" to this amazing city and country.

I would like to thank DST and FUB-Center for International Cooperation's team headed by Mr. Ulrich Podewils for providing a valuable forum for Indian students and a comfortable stay.

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Jayjit Das


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