Can you imagine a place where 70 nationalities come together to learn from specialist scientists and from each other? A place where contacts are established that last a whole career and new friendships forged? It might sound Utopian, but this vision became reality this summer, for the ninth time, at Radboud University. Programme coordinator Sophie Gersjes explains what Radboud Summer School is and how it went this year.
What is Radboud Summer School?
Radboud Summer School is a four-week international, academic event aimed at students, PhD and post-doc students and professionals. Participants are given the chance to develop personally, acquire new skills and meet people from all over the world while feeling part of a close-knit community. This year, more than 50 courses were offered in a variety of professional areas, including Brain & Behaviour, Health Science & Healthcare, History & Culture, Language & Communication, Management, Politics & Law, Skills & Program R, Social Research Methods and Sustainability. With this broad range, Radboud Summer School offers an international learning experience with the focus on making an impact on society through international knowledge sharing.
A new group of around 200 participants starts each week. They dive into specific subjects, in the course led by an expert. Participants from several countries are motivated by the interesting course subjects to spend a week of their summer at Radboud University.
From classroom to pancake boat
Social events are also organised to encourage networking and coming in contact with different cultures. All participants can register for a welcoming dinner, a quiz evening and a boat trip on the pancake boat. We hear from participants that these activities were important for both their personal experience and the group experience. And getting to know each other in an informal way leads to a good and safe atmosphere in the classroom too.
Accessible and approachable
The Radboud Summer School team worked hard on the event for a year. They are the ones who make all the processes run as smoothly as possible and take all the hassle out of things for the participants and speakers, so that the focus is where it should be: on gaining new knowledge, contacts and experience. The team found it important to convey the accessibility of the university, through an informal atmosphere where there's always someone ready to help you with any questions you might have. For example, there was a lunch desk every day, you could ask questions through WhatsApp and there were always staff members walking around the campus to help where needed.
A repeated success
When we look back on this edition, it's fair to say that the Radboud Summer School was once more a success. All the hard work was awarded an average score of 8.7 by participants. A few of them shared their favourite moments.
‘My favorite aspect is meeting all the different people from different countries and different specializations and topics. So addictive to hear what everyone is up to. Fascinating.’
‘My favorite aspect of the Summer School is the chance to learn from renowned experts and academics. Summer Schools often invite distinguished professors and professionals to deliver lectures and workshops. Being exposed to cutting-edge research, gaining insights from experienced practitioners, and engaging in intellectual debates can be intellectually stimulating and inspiring.’
‘Networking during social events that gave me the opportunity to discuss with people from different places/backgrounds, etc. my study and create connections in different parts of the world that could bring me into contact with people that work in relevant to my topics of interest projects.’
A glimpse of the future
The team is already hard at work on preparations for next year. They're currently charting points for improvement. And the transition to the renewed website is also scheduled. That will be a good opportunity to improve the online visibility and user friendliness. If you have suggestions for how to improve the Radboud Summer School or an idea for a course, please send an email to radboudsummerschool [at] ru.nl (radboudsummerschool[at]ru[dot]nl).