In the month of February, every year there is a workshop which is attended by the entire COSSE family and the extended family (alumni, affiliated professors, etc). The workshop is aptly called the COSSE Workshop and is held in the cities where the partnering institutions are located. This year the workshop was in Berlin and organized by the authorities at TU Berlin.
As the first semester ended, this workshop was something I was looking up for next. Being a second-year student I was supposed to give a talk on the literature study I have been doing for my master’s thesis. Spread over the course of three days, the workshop had talks from the professors of all three institutes and some alumni. Along with them, there are people from industry and externals invited to give talks and shed light towards the development of research in their respective fields.
The first day started with introductory speeches from Prof. Michael Hanke, the co-ordinator of COSSE program and Prof. Reinhard Nabben, the COSSE coordinator at TU Berlin followed by some Alumni presentations. I really enjoyed the alumni talks as they not only presented their research but also shared their experiences on life after the program and thus, highlighting the opportunities and possible alternatives post graduating. The day ended with us going to an Italian restaurant where the organizers had arranged for a dinner. It was a cosy evening where all of us bonded over talks of each of our experiences along with some nerdy math conversations!
Next day all the second year students gave their talks. My talk supposedly went well as I was appreciated by the spectators later. It was a good experience as I had some inputs which will help me prepare for my thesis. This workshop is not just about talks but also about experiences! We were taken to an excursion that afternoon to this museum called STORY OF BERLIN near Kufurstendamm. They have one of the cold war bunkers designed to protect the citizens of Berlin in case of a nuclear attack. It was well spent 3 hours where we had a guided tour of the evolution of the city of Berlin to its present state. Even though I was in Berlin for a year, I never saw this museum. Now, I got to visit, and I would highly recommend it to someone visiting Berlin.
The dinner that day was planned at a German restaurant named Dicke Wirtin. It was a great night filled with lots of laughter, drinks and unending conversations. I ordered a schnitzel here, though I have eaten it before but not at an authentic German restaurant. Boy, little did I know what I was getting into 😊 the schnitzel was so huge. As it got served, the joke was “Hey you are so short. You can’t finish it” Not to boast, but I somehow made it to the end and there were other guys stronger than me who just left half of it! That night all the COSSE students decided to have some good time together… We did some bar hopping around in Kreuzberg… until we returned back to our hotels safe and sober (may be)! Haha!
The final day was short with just a couple of talks. Out of them all, there was this one from an ex-student of TU Berlin who completed his PhD and started his own start up called Paper Hive. That was probably the only non-math talk of the workshop. This was interesting and I was surprised that with such a degree there are many possible alternatives I can opt for.
That evening I returned to Delft with a renewed sense of confidence and energy to complete my master’s thesis and decide on my next career path.