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International culinary delights while doing your PhD in Cologne

“At which Faculty do you do your research, Camilla?” Thirza inquires. Thirza came to the University of Cologne from the Netherlands to work on her doctoral dissertation at the graduate school of the collaborative research center “Patterns in Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere-Systems”. First things first, thinks Camilla: “Cheers! Salute! Or Prost, as Cologners say in German when they have a glass of Kölsch beer, their favorite beverage,” she replies. Camilla is from Italy and has already completed her doctoral degree in Berlin. She came to Cologne for a post-doc position. “My partner lives in Italy today. He loves Cologne, he did his doctoral degree here himself,” she tells the other young international researchers. 

International doctorates at the University of Cologne

Camilla, Giulia and Thirza at the International Stammtisch BBQ | Photo: Private

This informal get-together to enjoy international culinary treats on campus is part of the offer of the programme “IPaK – Promoting International Doctorates at the University of Cologne” for German and international doctoral candidates. It is financed by the DAAD and offers all international doctoral researchers – such as Thirza, Muhammad, Giulia and Dennis – the opportunity to network beyond their specific doctoral programmes and to take part in additional training offers such as language courses in German and English. The programme also funds the attendance of international conferences or research stays abroad at different academic institutions. Moreover, there are many cultural activities promoting exchange and networking. The funds for the programme were acquired by the Albertus Magnus Graduate Center (AMGC), which also coordinates the project. German courses, workshops and the “International Stammtisch” take place in close cooperation with the UoC’s International Office.

“I see this as an opportunity to train and later on work in research in Germany”

Muhammad from Afghanistan surveys the different delicacies on the buffet: creative salads, rissoles, exotic finger food and a tasty Arabic dessert. He is a doctoral researcher who completed his Master of Science in Hannover with a DAAD scholarship. “This scholarship to come to Germany was a real blessing for me! I worked very hard for it and now, with my Master degree, I have the opportunity to work at the university here in Cologne. I see it as an opportunity to train and later on work in research in Germany.” What about family and friends at home? “They are thrilled that I can be here to make my dream come true.”

Camilla is still talking to Thirza and Giulia, who is also from Italy, about life in Cologne. Giulia is pursuing a doctoral degree in Classical Philology at the Università degli Studi di Genova. She came to Cologne in the framework of a cooperation scheme between the Faculties of Arts and Humanities of both universities. She is spending several months at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne to work with Professor Nünlist on her dissertation project. “He is THE expert in my research area in Germany. There is simply no better supervisor for my dissertation in this country. Giulia also enjoys life in Cologne. “I came here for my research, which is exceptional in Cologne in this area, and because there is a long-standing cooperation with my home university. And I enjoy living in this city!” Her favorite location? “The Rheinauhafen. I love taking a walk along the bank of the river, past the modern crane buildings toward the cathedral. It just makes me happy.” What the two young women from Italy miss most about their home country? They exchange a conspiratorial glance that seems to imply consensus: “food, fashion and family.”  

Rheinauhafen | Foto: Ralfen Byte

Support from the International Office

Photo: Saskia of the AMGC Team with Fadi, PhD student from Syria, Photo: Private

The UoC’s International office assists all international students and guest scholars to arrive and get settled in in Cologne. “The service here was always excellent: fast, helpful and really friendly,” Giulia says. The other doctoral researchers at the table agree. Enjoying the food and drinks, they continue to talk, laugh and exchange impressions until the late night hours.