A multidisciplinary and international environment was experienced during the 2nd meetup organised by SIC Welcome Office on 8th July 2020. The event attracted 35 foreign researchers from many different nationalities who are working in research organisations based in Central Bohemia Region or Prague, such as ELI Beamlines, HiLASE, BIOCEV, the Astronomical Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Technopark Kralupy and the Czech University of Life Sciences.
Physicists, Astronomers and Life Scientists from various scientific fields and backgrounds living and working in the Czech Republic met again after our 1st meetup in February 2020. The purpose of these meetups is meeting, networking and sharing experiences or ideas within the constantly growing international community of researchers.
The program included a presentation of the scientific activities of the French Institute in Prague by Mrs. Lauriane Labourel responsible for scientific mission, followed by a presentation with the name “India and Science” by Samuel Paul David, from HiLASE who briefly introduced the main areas of Indian science, shared important scientists from India and their contributions to the world and explained why Indian scientists are not very well known outside of India. The last presentation was about “Cultural Thought Patterns” presented by Maciej Zapiór, from the Astronomical Institute. Maciej shared with others an interesting figure taken from the article called “Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-cultural education” written in 1966 by Robert E. Kaplan and showed that a language influences our way of thinking more than we would believe.
The presentations were followed by team activities where researchers were divided into teams of 5 people to discuss and answer two important questions 1) what to advise to other researchers relocating to a foreign country and 2) reflect on the current public health crisis and mention the most serious consequences in terms of public health, society, economy and international research, as well as any potential benefits resulting from this crisis. The answers to the first question were, among others, visit the country before you move in; get to know the culture, as well as health, education and tax system; be aware of the visa regulations; know more about the research organisation you will working on; if possible get in contact with local groups for first-hand experiences, learn the basics of the language, but if you are staying long term learn the language. As for the answers to the second question, besides the negative consequences, such as loss of lives; economic crisis; social isolation; mental health issues and even limited research activities among women scientists caused by the necessity of taking care of children, the participants mentioned some positive consequences, for example, self-care; environmental impact (blue skies and rivers); valuing time spent with the family and how science can contribute to a better life.
To end the evening, fruitful exchanges and networking continued during an informal cocktail served in the cafeteria of the French Institute. The next meetup is planned for Autumn 2020 and we hope to meet the familiar faces and new ones once again. Are you interested in other Welcome Office events? Follow our website and FB group.