Strasbourg Day 3: Course Day 2

21 09 2010

So…today I woke up to Strasbourg Day 3…As is normal with me I woke up a few minutes before the alarm was to ring (at 8am haha)…got up slowly, prepared for the day, had breakfast at the hotel and off I went. Since I was a bit early and the weather is being so nice I decided to go on foot. I took my camera with me (photos later…not in the mood to upload them), and made my way to the other side of Strasbourg whilst taking photos.

One thing that we have all been saying about Strasbourg is that it is such a manageable city. You can go nearly anywhere on foot within around 30mins. Since I am staying in quite a central part of the city I can get most places quite quickly. However even the other participants (most of whom are staying farther away) are able to walk around.

At the course today we had a MUCH more interesting day. Today we were discussing water aspects of climate change. First up was Caroline Gregoire from ENGEES. She explained about Continental hydrology, climate and water circulations, characterisation of extreme events and the ecology of humid areas. This was followed by Pascale Joannot from the Museum of Natural History of France. She explained about coral reefs and how they are affected about climate change…we could all see her enthusiasm for the subject and her vast knowledge and it was really enjoyable.

Then LUNCH WEEE…the other Maltese guy and myself went to lunch with 3 French students, Marlene, Marie and Alexandre (I think). They took us to what they described as relatively cheap place but very good food…surprise surprise it is where I chose yesterday…so I do have good instincts hihi…I had Chicken with fries and salad mmmm.

Session 3 followed by A. Sadowski, again from ENGEES, who spoke about Water cleaning networks. The French students said he is one of the best in the field in Europe, and we could see he knows his subject. One problem…he does not know English :(…however he said his slides are in English and told us to ask questions…hmmmm…slide 1 and problem 1…the slide had just pictures and he talked and talked. After a couple of slides, the Armenian guy looked at me and we started giggling. Then our dear translator from yesterday offered to translate…so it was much better.

Last session of the day: Jean Baptiste Bardiaud again from ENGEES, who spoke about drinking water. After working in this sector for the past 1.5years, it was really good to get to know more about this area.

At 5pm we were ready and I went walking around. I met up with the other Maltese guy and we went to La Petite France. This is and old picturesque part of the city.

La Petite France

La Petite France

We then parted ways (he wanted to buy presents for his wife and son) and I went around some shops and some other parts of Strasbourg, went to eat (Salad with bacon, eggs, tomatoes and Goat’s cheese on toast mmmm…I went to the same restaurant as yesterday cos I saw the salads and they looked really good), and I am now here updating you all.

Strasbourg Day 2: Course Day 1

20 09 2010

Today I woke up bright and early (OK 8am so not so it was bright outside ūüėÄ but it was not early), put on my clothes, had some breakfast (Croissants with nutella¬†mmmm) and off I went to make my way to ENGEES, where the course was to be held. I was around 1 hour early (we started at 10am, but I decided to go walk around after finding the place). Whilst looking at the place I saw the other Maltese guy. He was talking to an Azerbaijaini guy who was also attending. We chatted a bit and then went to the room…hmmmm…why were all of the people French?

We went in and waited…then we noticed it was a course for French students, but other Europeans are invited. Well here we are. Other ‘foreigners’ came in and we are a total of 6 foreigners (2 Malta, 2 Armenia, 1 Turkey, 1 Azerbaijan) and around 20 French students.

We had the introductions and surprise no. 1. The course was supposed to¬†be held in English. But they told us…2 of the discussions of the week are in French hmmmm…well whatever, here we are.

We had the first talk…Jean Pierre Massue¬†was the guy…what can I say about him…he love his experiments and his fire :D…the talk was a bit lengthy and basic…I doubt anyone learned much new after the 2hours were up. But it was OK, and it was supposed to be an introduction. After this…LUNCH :D. Then back for the next session with Max Schvoerer, where he discussed climate change and cultural heritage…it was one of the two sessions in French…but a kind participant went up to translate…wippie. I really like how he discussed the way that e.g. we could monitor climate change through cave art in the Sahara…where the oldest cave art contained elephants and other big animals…this was followed by cows…then goats and then small animals…as a result of increasing desertification.

A talk by a Maltese guy…S Busuttil from the Malta Foundation (neither the other Maltese guy nor I have any idea who he is) was cancelled, cos he could not make it. So at 16:30 we were FREE. I went around a bit…the Cathedral, the beautiful roads, some shops. However I was tired, so I came to my apartment to catch up on emails etc and rest, then went out to eat and now I am back.

Well…what are the points to mention after today:

  1. French students are disciplined…when we got a 5minute break, they came back into the room after 5mins…that would NEVER happen in Malta
  2. The lecture room is really cute cos it is round hihi
  3. These professors have no idea about presentation skills and colour choice in their presentation…half of the slides were unreadable
  4. Food comes out really quickly here…you order and within 10minutes it is on the table (even when ordering meats)

Well…overall a great day…will keep you updated ūüėÄ

September…Trip 2

19 09 2010

Well, September is proving to be a busy month. I had a total of 3 trips planned. Trip 1: Denmark, Trip 2: Strasbourg, Trip 3: Dublin (to start the rest of my life). Well this afternoon I will be starting the September trip 2. I will be going to Strasbourg on a 1 week course called:

European Master Course on Climate change: impact on health, human environment and water


It is organised by the Council of Europe (COE)¬†European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement¬†in collaboration¬†with University of Strasbourg – Faculty of Medecine and the National School for Water and Environmental Engineering of Strasbourg (ENGEES). I had seen this course advertised on the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) a while ago, when I entered the website on a whim…do not even know why, and since the topic interested me a lot, and I knew I would have been off work I decided to apply. Within a few days I heard that I was accepted for the course, and also for financial assistance. I would not have been able to go without this financial assistance grant, so I am very grateful to the COE for this.


Therefore this morning I have woken up and packed (30-45 mins packing time…weeee), and am now updating all of you :D. In a few hours time (5hours or so) I should be at the airport and off I go (at least I hope so…they bought my ticket themselves and misspelled my name…missed an i GRRRR…I informed them and they said they contacted Air Malta and Lufthansa who said all is OK…so will see :D).¬†

September…a Busy Month :S

23 08 2010

Well, September is proving to be a busy month. Originally it was supposed to be a quiet month prior to starting my PhD studies…however the weeks are rapidly filling up. Although I will be off work (this is my last week WIPPIE!!) I am getting busy haha.¬†In the first week, I will be going to Denmark with my mum, to meet my sister and her bf at her bf’s parents house and then also going for a few days to Copenhagen. Sometime in the following 2 weeks, my Master’s Viva is tentatively scheduled. I just heard about this today, because I emailed my supervisor to ask him about it, since my days are quickly getting full, so I wanted to know what they are planning. Everything seems to be fine…will wait and see when the final confirmation of date comes in.

Then in the following week I will be attending a course entitled Master-level course on Climate Change: impact on health, human environment and water, organised by the COE, and held in Strasbourg. I just heard about the last item today. I applied last week on a whim. Yesterday I heard I got recommended. Then today I heard I have been accepted to also receive financial support, for which I am really grateful. I doubt I would have gone without the financial support…so THANK YOU!

Today I also emailed my PhD supervisor, and she confirmed that I should soon receive my PhD contract and formal acceptance from the University. Tomorrow I should also be sending my accommodation contract for the 1st semester of my PhD….all in all…a day of tying up loose ends…Hope all goes well!