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Destination Deutschland

Mahalakshmi Subramaniam  

After completing my postgraduation in Biochemistry, I was working at a research lab for a year and that was when I realised that I was interested in neuroscience. I was fascinated by how cells immediately respond to subtle changes, from gentle touch to pressure and injection. I decided to land in Germany because of the excellent research in neuroscience going on there and also, it is not far away from home.

German universities have excellent research facilities, and people give utmost importance to quality and reproducibility of research. The principal investigators are easy to approach, and we are encouraged to discuss and collaborate with other departments.

There are also summer/winter schools, symposiums, seminars, journal club and various meetings organised for students to enrich scientific discussions and creative thinking. Education here lays emphasis on gaining more practical knowledge, and there are many courses that are taught in English.

In most cases, labs are highly equipped with technologically-advanced instruments and there are also central facilities in every university that provide access to cutting-edge techniques in the respective field of research. Reasoning ability, analytical thinking, in-depth knowledge, commitment and perseverance are the prerequisites for a successful research project.

Cities and people

Germans are very receptive and usually take time to empathise with people from other countries. Once this stage is crossed, they end up being friends for lifetime! They are very punctual, professional, environment friendly and organised. The cities are well connected by public transportation and people obey rules. Emergency services such as ambulance, police, fire services are planned so that they arrive in less than three minutes after they are summoned in most areas. Health and social insurance is mandatory, which enables high-end medical care and good social security.

The country is peaceful and there is absolutely no bias towards ethnicity and religion. Germany has amazing nature (Germans are protective of the environment) and they are champions in recycling and using renewable energy. Germans are die-hard soccer followers (world champions indeed!). Their cuisine is mostly meat-based but there are also options for vegetarians and vegans. Beer, wine and coffee are the preferred beverages. There is a “Saravana Bhavan” restaurant in Frankfurt (for all South-Indian food lovers) and many Indian restaurants. Almost all Indian spices, grocery items, vegetables and sweets are available! When compared to the new generation of Indians, who give least importance to their mother tongue, Germans are passionate about their language; therefore, knowing German is always advantageous!

Detailed information regarding German universities and the funding options can be found on the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) website ( >www.daad.de).

The writer is a postdoctoral scientist (neuroscience) at the Universitatsklinikum, Goethe University, Frankfurt.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:50:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/higher-education-in-germany-is-amazing-writes-mahalakshmi-subramaniam/article6345017.ece

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