This summer, I attended the Berlin Summer School in Social Sciences. The prominent Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences and WZB Berlin Social Science Center are the host organisations of this summer school. The summer school aimed at “linking theory and empirical research.” Furthermore, it included different methodologies and its limits, qualitative and quantitative methodology debates, and also feedback on our own research!
Before the journey started, there were tons of reading materials and the most worrying part is to finish them! Also, the participants had to prepare a poster of their research and a presentation for the second week. As a result, it took me some days to prepare for the tasks!
The intense course started with two lectures on the methodologies in the morning. Afterwards the participants were divided into small groups and discussed the contents of the lectures in order to formulate questions. After the lunch break, participants had roundtable discussions with the lecturers. In short, participants learned from the lecturers and soon used the ideas they grasped in the morning session to construct questions and had some reflection. Later the participants could raise these questions to the lecturers to have further discussions on the methodologies and research.
As for the second week, the participants were divided into four groups. Each group had its focus; for example, I belonged to the group of “citizenship, migration, and identities.” During this week, the course started with a lecture as well. However, then participants had to present their research papers or projects. In addition, each of us also became the discussant of one of the presentations. The highly interactive discussions happened in each presentation. Overall, the second week provided us chances to dig deeper into our research.
Besides the academic part of the course, Berlin is also a city worth exploring! The city is so unique that I felt I could always find another face of it. It can be a serious city with lots of government bodies and all kinds of monuments representing the past and the transitional justice. On the other hand, it can be entertaining and a lot of fun! Visitors can’t miss the party culture here. And there are also some different ways to explore the city. For instance, the summer school organised a tour with the refugees in Berlin to see the life of refugees and the problems they face here. Moreover, I went to the LGBT festival of 2018 and it is a pity that I couldn’t attend the Berlin Pride.
It was really a fantastic experience to attend The Berlin Summer School this year. From the academic perspective to the life experience, it was so exciting that I already missed it now!