PhD candidate at the University of Oxford in the Oxford Robotics Institute.
“The direct contact with both students and professors was crucial. If you ask me, that is the value of the Challenge Programme.”
IDEA League for me was always about the people. That is the first thing that comes to my mind. Many of us are still friends. We call often and still share a WhatsApp group. Here’s why.
It was in Zürich, the last city we visited, where I spent most of my time sick in my hotel room. We had all gotten to know each other quite well. Beyond our similarities, it were the diverging thoughts and discussions about things that mattered to us that forged a human connection. Upon arrival, I was shown around some of the robotics labs at ETH Zurich. We toured the ancient city, ate local food. It had been a good, long day. Back at the hotel I drew myself a bath and fell into a deep sleep. When I woke up three hours later I was shivering, cold, I felt my weekend was over.
The rest of the time I spent recovering in my room. No laptop. Nothing to do but stare out the window at the backdrop. The waterfront and the old town, its spires and in the distance a clear sky over the mountains. Every now and then there was a knock on my door. One of the students would come to see if I was okay and bring something along. They did this separately, nothing seemed coordinated, there was just this wonderful sense of fraternity.
“These were happy, inspirational moments that certainly influenced my perspective on life. Human experiences that will never cease to inspire.”
During those sick days in my hotel room, I took a few pivotal decisions in my life. The new environments and wholesome moments we shared together made all the difference. These were people I had travelled from Delft to Milan with, from Aachen to Gothenburg and finally to Zürich. We had seen impressive labs, followed courses from inspirational professors. It was an exciting and valuable time.
The direct contact with both students and professors was crucial. If you ask me, that is the value of the Challenge Programme. There were moments during our visit that proved to be both exceptional and essential. Like in professor de Bruijn’s class. The contact with the staff, other students and the structure of those weekends with IDEA League is beyond anything you would find on the internet.
At the end we made posters for all the students full of picture and quotes. It was a kind activity wrapping up a great programme. These were happy, inspirational moments that certainly influenced my perspective on life. Human experiences that will never cease to inspire.