Bericht 2015 Sven Papidocha

Dear Board members,

since I am now already back in Switzerland for almost a month I was asked many times about my summer stay in Israel. I am mentioning that because as I am writing this report now I am facing the same problem as in all these individual cases: How can you summarize all the unbelievable expe-riences of a whole month in a few words? I am going to approach that issue with focusing on some of the most impressive and sustainable memories which I made during this summer camp.

On the day we arrived at the institute I was totally stunned by the beauty of the surroundings and the facilities. Green lawns and colorful flowers welcomed us as we entered the main gate of the Weizmann campus. What is more, this inspiring environment did not cease to fascinate me. Simply equipped with my camera I spent many hours just indulging in the wonderful work of dozens of gardeners and other staff members. Whether trees which produced cotton or others with wound, root-like trunks the singular character of the plants has to be emphasized.

My most valuable memories certainly derive from the experiences which I made with students of other countries. Quite frankly, due to this special selection of young people there was some unique group spirit which accompanied us during the whole period of the camp. Most of the students were fairly mature and open-minded which was perfect for interesting conversations of all sorts. I par-ticularly enjoyed the discussions about astronomy and philosophy for it is quite difficult to find peo-ple of the same age who are passionate about that. The social activities as ping-pong or soccer tournaments, our nightly outings to Rehovot with its inviting bars or at last my four awesome roommates made this stay to a perfect combination of science and fun.

Finally, what I surely will never forget is the fourth week which we spent in the desert. Although the schedule was quite tough it was an unbelievable experience. On the one hand it was a unique op-portunity for me to approach Israeli nature and wildlife. Starting from encounters with black scorpi-ons or griffon vultures to a bath in a refreshing oasis and eventually a night beneath a clear sky of stars: The impact of such a journey on a person who is passionate about nature cannot be de-scribed with words. On the other hand the trip was a very good possibility to intensify the bonds which we formed with each other during the preceding weeks. I want to give an example regarding the night sky experience I already mentioned: Me and two other students from Germany were very keen about photography and firmly determined to better use the few hours sleep for astrophotog-raphy. It was an impressive atmosphere as we were sitting some distance away from the night camp amidst the quiet desert and supporting each other to accomplish as good pictures as we could of the Milky Way. This was just one of all these little experiences which really made our as-sembly of students that wonderful.

The month is over but all the beautiful and inspiring memories rest. I just want to thank you for en-abling our little Swiss science group to be sent to that summer camp. It is a real enrichment and I am convinced that future Swiss representatives are going to share my excitement.

Yours faithfully,

Sven Papidocha

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