Why did you choose Germany as a research destination?
I found the offer of the University of Göttingen as part of the Excellence Initiative as very attractive. The position was offered as tenure track favoring academic career. The newly established multidisciplinary research centers allowed junior professors to network and establish collaborations with members of various faculties. The positions were endowed with generous start-up research funds that enabled me to develop a medium-term research agenda. Finally, the program offered support with childcare, which was fundamental for me to re-start working after maternity leave.
What was your first impression of Germany, the German culture and its people?
I was surprised by the openness of German people. Sure, it is not as in Latin America, but my reference point was Scandinavia, where I was living before. In comparison, the weather is milder too. I enjoy living in a university city surrounded by young students and top researchers.
Did you encounter any difficulties while settling in Germany?
Language is the main barrier I still struggle with. This is also a barrier when dealing with administration that I find rather bureaucratic and inflexible. I also expected to find more and better public transport.
Do you have tips for other international researchers who are thinking about coming to Germany?
Plan in advance! It is not easy to find a place to live so start the search as early as possible. Consider that childcare for kids younger than 3 years old is very limited. Germany is a bike friendly country try to make this your daily mean of transport.
Short and crisp: What is your favourite...
- Word: Elf. It means eleven, but I always think about the little fairies.
- Dish: Krustenbraten with Knödel
- Piece of German culture: Kraftwerk
Find out more about Marcela Ibánez-Díaz and her research project at the Latest Thinking website: www.lt.org