University in the spotlight: Heidelberg University
Situated in one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, Heidelberg University is Germany’s oldest university and an important center of modern research and teaching. With over 160 study programs, Heidelberg offers a range of subject combinations nearly unparalleled in Germany, thus creating a perfect setting for individualized and interdisciplinary studies.
From its very beginnings in the year 1386, the University has welcomed and profited from the international perspective students and scholars from abroad bring to its academic and cultural life. Today, Heidelberg University is tied into a worldwide network of research and teaching collaborations and has a distinctly international profile.
The University’s international prominence is also reflected in its student population: close to 20 percent of Heidelberg’s more than 31,000 students and a third of the enrolled doctoral candidates come from abroad. http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/index_e.html
DIALOGUE BEYOND TRADITIONAL DISCIPLINARY BOUNDARIES
The University places special emphasis on initiating and maintaining a dialogue across traditional subject boundaries and developing new forms of interdisciplinary cooperation. The following are four of Heidelberg University's outstanding research areas, the so-called Fields of Focus (FoF):
FoF 1: Molecular and cellular basis of life
FoF 2: Structure and pattern formation in the material world
FoF 3: Cultural dynamics in globalized worlds
FoF 4: Self-regulation and regulation: individuals and organizations (Ger)
The two clusters of excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" and "Cellular Networks” represent additional research foci.
Another strength of Heidelberg University lies in its numerous collaborations and alliances with non-university research institutions such as the German Cancer Research Center or the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. These institutions, working alongside the university, form an internationally competitive research network, providing a wide assortment of contact and cooperation possibilities for Heidelberg University researchers and students.
Studying and Living in a Cosmopolitan Atmosphere
Heidelberg’s lively cosmopolitan and student-friendly atmosphere is one of the city’s distinguishing characteristics. Both the city and the university offer a huge variety of sports and leisure activities, as well as numerous theatres, renowned film and music festivals and a large number of museums, creating a sophisticated and diverse cultural atmosphere. Popular sites include the world-famous Heidelberg Castle, the historic streets and alleys in the old city and the Philosopher’s Path, one of the most beautiful mountain hiking trails in Europe. Learn more about studying in Heidelberg.
From our EuroScholars student: Andrew Goldfarb
July marks my sixth and final month with the Euroscholars program in the Netherlands. My time here in Leiden has been nothing short of life changing, both personally and professionally. Each morning I hop on my bike with Dutch style and navigate around canals to get to the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). At the LUMC, I dedicate eight hours of each workday to the Human Genetics Department, where I research exon skipping as a therapeutic strategy for CADASIL Syndrome. CADASIL is a heritable vascular dementia and stroke syndrome.
Why did I select this research project? Back at The College of New Jersey, my home university, I study Biology and am passionate about genetics. Specifically, I am interested in developing genetic engineering therapies as a tool to treat the untreatable, genetic disorders. When searching for a research project through Euroscholars, the CADASIL project in Leiden was exactly what I was looking. And since then, the project has exceeded all of my expectations. Throughout my six months of research, I was able to design and test new exon skip strategies to treat CADASIL Syndrome. I also had a great opportunity to present my research at Leiden Univeristy’s annual Biomedical Sciences Symposium. Despite being meant for Master’s students, the symposium allowed me to present the results of my research project to an audience of Dutch undergraduate students.
While my contributions were significant, the impact my Euroscholars experience has had on me is greater. My time abroad spanned the Spring semester of my sophomore year until the end of July. I am honest when I say that I have learned far more in the research lab than in the lecture hall. Rather than sitting in a classroom and studying for exams, I have found that learning from my accomplishments and mistakes is a much more meaningful learning experience. In the scope of my future, Euroscholars has also benefitted me in many ways. This unique, long-term experience unquestionably contributed to me being named a Goldwater scholar, and it will help me stand out in my effort to apply to a MD-PhD program.
Outside of the lab, I have experienced my fair share of Dutch culture. If you ever find yourself in the Netherlands, make sure you eat their stroopwafels and pancakes. Lekker! (Tasty!) Spring in the Netherlands means celebrating King’s Day and enjoying tulip season at the Keukenhof flower gardens. In May I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Leiden Half Marathon. To train in the months before, I often explored the surrounding Dutch landscape on foot, passing through open fields, herds of sheep, and sandy dunes. Amsterdam is just a short train ride away, and being able to cheer on the Dutch team in the World Cup on a huge outdoor screen was an experience to remember. Spending six months in Europe also means many opportunities to travel to other countries. My favorite visits include Prague, Barcelona, and Rome.
It’s with much sadness that my time in Leiden is coming to a close, but my Euroscholars experience has definitely proven to be the defining experience of my college years.