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Coming to Cambridge from abroad

Coming to Cambridge from abroad: an international perspective

We have welcomed, and will to continue to welcome, Postdocs from around the world. Last summer several of them wrote about their experience of moving to the UK.

Dr Arne Jungwirth, SNF Early Postdoc Mobility Fellow

Came to Cambridge from Switzerland

Dr Arne Jungwirth“To the incoming postdoc, Cambridge is a strange place - all those traditions and the confusing structure of the university with its colleges, schools, departments, groups, committees, partner institutions etc. can be quite overwhelming. In this jungle, it is nice to have a safe haven in which Cambridge can be understood in a bottom-up way. For me, this safe haven is the Department of Zoology. The supportive and inclusive atmosphere of the department is carried by all, be they students, support staff or academics. Even with Brexit on the horizon, I am not too worried - I trust that Zoology will help me to achieve my goals, including support in such mundane matters as visa issues, a thing currently unknown to EU citizens.”

Dr Kiyoko Gotanda

Dr Kiyoko Gotanda, FQRNT Postdoctoral Fellow

Moved to Cambridge from Canada

“I had not moved cities or countries in 18 years, and I also completed my undergraduate and PhD at the same institution. The thought of a new university, new city, and new country was quite daunting. However, I received excellent guidance and assistance from members of the Department of Zoology that ensured a smooth transition. The Departmental Administrator, and the HR and Grants Administrator, knew which visa I would need based on my fellowship and helped guide me through the necessary steps for obtaining my visa. Upon arrival to Cambridge, within one day, I had my email account set up, my access card, and all necessary documents taken care of. Beyond the logisitics of moving to a new university and country, the department has made me feel very welcome. The departmental induction and the university induction helped me understand the inner workings of University of Cambridge (the Colleges baffled me when I first arrived), and a variety of events organized by the department has allowed me to easily and quickly meet members of the department. I am grateful that my transition was quick and smooth, and allowed me to quickly resume my research, and this was possible through the support offered by the Department of Zoology!”

Dr Mario Krapp, Research Associate

Moved to Cambridge from Germany

Dr Mario Krapp“A couple of months back I thought applying for a job at the University of Cambridge is a save bet given that we are all EU citizens, me coming from Berlin, Germany. People from the department were very supportive, welcoming, and kind helping me and my family to settle. Still, as for many Britons, the outcome of the Brexit referendum came as a shock for us. However, because of the encouraging support of the department and the university, I personally don’t see any unresolvable drawbacks in the near future, and I’m looking forward to my work here at the department. (A small anecdote: My supervisor is Italian (Andrea Manica) and from the ~10 people of our lab, one is British. He’s from Scotland, though).”

Dr Corina Logan, Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

Moved to Cambridge from the US

“I am from the US where it is very difficult to obtain funding for animal behavior research - there are very few grants/fellowships that one can apply for and the success rates are extremely low. The UK was very attractive for me because so many more funding opportunities exist that allow one to start an independent research group. The Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge is one of the friendliest departments I have ever come across. I easily found collaborators to support my Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship application, and the grants administrator and 

Dr Corina Logan

Head of Department helped with the processing. I arrived to a warm departmental welcome. The support staff are outstanding; they actually make my job easier rather than more difficult. The academic community here is amazing: when I’m writing papers, all I have to do is walk down the hall to consult with experts in my field. People here keep their office doors open and there is daily communal tea time, which facilitates communication, collaboration, and integration. There is a constant throughput of researchers visiting from all over the world to give seminars so I end up being exposed to a much broader range of research and there are ample opportunities to meet with the visitors formally and informally. The department has thriving graduate and postdoc communities, which are primarily international so it is a great opportunity to meet people from different places and learn about different cultures. Cambridge is a very special place and I feel lucky to have been able to experience it.”

 Dr Jonas Geldmann, EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow

Came to Cambridge from Denmark

Dr Jonas Geldmann“I started my fellowship in the Zoology Department’s Conservation Science Group in March this year funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships program. Both before and after, the department has been extremely welcoming and supportive, offering invaluable assistance with the application process as well as helping to make me feel welcome, and overcoming the inevitable challenges of moving to a new country. In the application phase the administrative staff as well as fellow academics were extremely supportive, helping with everything from the technical details of the grant to valuable input on the actual project. I would not have been able to successfully complete the application without their assistance. After starting, I have experienced nothing except an open, friendly and academically stimulating and collaborative environment where everyone is keen to help and get involved in each-others work. This is truly a fantastic place to work, and being located in the David Attenborough Building with hundreds of other conservation scientist and practitioners only adds to the already great environment of the university.”