Scientific work: Step by step
The first thing that attracted my attention about the Summer school in Cambodia was its title “Scientific work: Step by step". As a PhD student I met a lot of colleagues from the same degree, ones who are about to start one, or ones who are facing many obstacles while publishing a paper, writing a master thesis, or even presenting some work at a scientific conference or giving any kind of public speech or presentation. There is a real need of bringing this topic closer to those who found their way in academic or scientific work. For those people, this knowledge is necessary in order to facilitate their jobs and all work which has to be done from initial preparation of scientific work until the final stage of publishing and presenting it.
Besides the topic of huge importance, I was attracted by the Kingdom of Cambodia, as a place where the summer school was about to take place. From earlier travel experience in Southeast Asia, the place of big poverty and huge potential for development, I had the opportunity to witness the amazing spirit of very ambitious young people, who are eager to work hard for the improvement and prosper of their own country and providing the better life for the upcoming generations.
Two mentioned facts were more than enough for me to apply for participation in the summer school, and before its start, my expectations were high. I was curious up to which level students who are coming from two completely different cultures will be able to interact and in which way the project leading staff will motivate them to break the ice and make them learn as much as possible.
Summer School program and its content surprised me positively, especially from the point of teaching and kind of information that was provided to students. From some personal experience, while attending different seminars and lectures about the same topic, I realized that the lecturers in Cambodia are mostly talking about "book definitions" instead of giving real examples, which students can easily apply in their work and the examples that are making the scientific work easier. Lecturing during the Summer School was very well organized, showing the students really step-by-step procedure through the scientific work. I am sure that, not only for me, but for all the participants this Summer School was very useful. It was not hard to follow; all the procedure was explained very well supported by the personal experience of the lecturer. Some working tools that I did not know exist were explained and now I can say that using them, my work is much easier and less stressful.
Besides the very well organized theoretical part, students had the opportunity to do some practical work in the center of the city of Phnom Penh. That was very useful and interesting part which students enjoyed the most. While sightseeing the city students talked with random tourists, collecting the data in form of a questionnaire, which later was presented in form of a poster at the student scientific conference in Denmark.
This Summer School fulfilled my expectations in all aspects, from organization and lecturing to final application of collected data. I have to say that after the summer school program some Cambodian students were up to coming to CZU for continuing their studies. That was one of the proves that it was a successful, well-organized and useful project which has to be continued in the future, for more students to participate in it and to get motivated and encouraged to give a step forward to their lives and their careers.
Even though the time was perfectly organized, and a combination of the practical and theoretical part was in perfect ratio, I wish for the future participants to have some days more of summer school program. Beside the professional purposes of the program, one of the most important experiences one can have is meeting new people and their cultures, understanding the different points of view, and enriching themselves while interacting with others. Those experiences cannot be showed numerically, explained statistically and even sometimes, it is hard to explain them. Nevertheless, I am very sure that those experiences support all our knowledge and skills gained in the life, and in many life situations, they are of most importance and can be of crucial meaning in order to succeed. If future summer schools can be prolonged, at least for a few days, that would make students from CZU and RUA to get know each other better. That would surely make them feel free to ask some questions and to open the topics which they would never dare to ask or discuss at the beginning; and all of us know that without discussions, debates, critical thinking, questions and answers, there is no improvement of this “global village” where we live and that we call the planet Earth.