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A MEMORABLE FIRST INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL – IIT ROORKEE TO GERMANY

Hey, I'm Subhankar Das!! PhD scholar from the Department of Hydrology of Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR). I had been in Germany for two weeks, from August 20th to September 3rd, 2022, to attend Potsdam Summer School 2022.

HOW IT STARTED

April 24th, we received a call from the Head of the Department of Hydrology, IIT Roorkee, to apply for the Potsdam Summer School 2022. It was also said that the Co-PREPARE project would cover selected precipitants' fees and travel expenses. I was very much interested in participating in this international event. So I applied, and a few days later, I received the confirmation of my selection. The feeling was exhilarating. I was excited; however, I was concerned about travel bookings and the visa process, as this was my first international travel. With the support of Prof. Manoj Kumar Jain, Prof. Ankit Agarwal, and my colleagues, everything went smoothly, and I finally got the visa to attend Potsdam Summer School.

TIME TO TRAVEL

August 20th, I and my two colleagues (Nikunj and Sujata) boarded our flight to Berlin from the Delhi International Airport. I was super excited to witness a new country with a different time zone, climate, history, and cultural heritage; it was a dream come true. I couldn't sleep during the entire 8 hrs flight journey as I was eager to write a new chapter in my career. We landed in Berlin at 10 AM. After landing, struggles started coming our way with not having a network on our cell phones, and we had to look for transport to reach our booked hostel in Berlin. After that, we start searching for Wi-Fi in the station. Finally, we bought a new sim card at the station and checked in pre-booked hostel in Berlin. We stayed in the hostel only that day and moved to our booked hotel by the organizer the next day. 12 PM, we reached the Dorint hotel in Potsdam, and Dr. Angela Borowski was there to welcome all of us along with our id cards and schedule for the next ten days.

POTSDAM SUMMER SCHOOL STARTS

August 22nd, after the morning breakfast at the Dorint hotel, we headed towards the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) for our first lecture session. The session started with an exciting introduction among the 41 participants having joined this Potsdam Summer School from different parts of the globe. The lecture series began with a lecture by Prof. Louis Kotze on the Anthropocene, and the day came to an end with a buffet dinner at the IASS rooftop. The program was so well organized that there was no space for making a fuss. We were divided into five working groups depending on the specific interest of the participants. During this event, I was grateful to work with Prof. Matthias Tang on Science Communication and Sustainability. Moreover, the schedule was tight, and I had to wait till the weekend to explore the beautiful city of Potsdam.

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Figure 1: Outside of the IASS and lake near to the IASS

August 24th, we moved towards Telegraph Hill at Potsdam for the sessions. The day started with an exciting guided tour of Telegraph hill. Eva Rahner and Ulrike Sylla were there to guide us. We visited Helmert Tower, Einstein Tower, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), and the Great Refractor built in 1896-99. And then, the session started from the 9:45 AM. The talk on Climate change and knowledge transfer into society by Dr. Renate Treffeisen was very informative and new for me.

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Figure 2: The Great Refractor at the Telegraph Hill, Potsdam

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Figure 3: Session at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

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Figure 4: IIT Roorkee research scholars at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

August 27th, an excursion tour to the Wald. Berlin. Klima was planned by the organizer. After the tour, we went to explore the beautiful city of Potsdam. We went to Sanssouci park and enjoyed a guided tour of the Sanssouci palace, the historical windmill, the Chinese house, and many more historical palaces in the park. After having lunch in German cuisine in Potsdam, we also paid a short visit to the Belvedere on Pfingstberg palace in Potsdam. We witnessed the mesmerizing view of the entire Potsdam from the palace's roof. On the next day, I went to berlin along with friends. Directly I got into a train from Potsdam central station to the Brandenburg tor station and enjoyed the eye soothing view of the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, The Berlin wall, and many more historical places.

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Figure 5: Front door of Belvedere on Pfingstberg palace in Potsdam

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Figure 6: View from the outside of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof central station

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Figure 7: Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin

MOVING TOWARDS THE END

August 29th, just three days left for the end of this year's Potsdam Summer School. The day started with as usual check-in with Dr. Angela and ended with a group discussion with our working group. Our group facilitator had a discussion on the last day's presentation and took everyone's perspective on what case we should present. From the majority vote, we decided to perform a group discussion on the energy consumption issue in Europe during winter and how we could reduce CO2 emissions by switching from shorts to pants during winter, which will save some euros.

August 31st, the last day of Potsdam Summer School 2022. The program for the day was scheduled to be organized at the University of Potsdam New Palace (Sanssouci) campus, so we had to leave the hotel in the early morning lest we miss anything. The day started with an excellent lecture on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Dr. Prajal Pradhan. As the day went on, our turn for the presentation came. We were nine members team and presented our case and communicated our understanding of science communication to the audience. We spoke on science communication and how we could share our research findings with the policy makers or the target audience for their case. Also, we discussed the role of social media in science communication and how we could use popularly used social media for science communication. The day ended with a farewell party organized at the IASS rooftop to the terrace.

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Figure 8: Group discussion of working group five on the last day of Potsdam Summer School at the University of Potsdam

BACK TO INDIA

September 1st, we checked out from the Dorint hotel and moved to the Base camp near the University of Potsdam Golm campus. One of my closest friends, Ravi, was there to host me for the next two days in his hostel. I stayed there and roamed around the University of Potsdam Golm campus, enjoyed the delicious dishes in the campus canteen, and with many more unforgettable moments. It felt like the last two weeks in Germany went by in the blink of an eye. Being a PhD scholar, I felt like this summer school helped me understand the type of ongoing research outside India. Apart this, it also provided me with a further opportunity to collaborate and talk to working professionals and research scholars across the globe on climate change and its sustainable transformation. My heartiest thanks to Prof. Ankit Agarwal and the Co-PREPARE team for giving me this wonderful opportunity and being by my side.

September 4th, I came back to India.

Well, this was my first international trip.
Danke,

Subhankar

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Figure 9: buildings of the university of Potsdam Golm campus