When I first heard of scientific retreats at Institut Curie (Twitter here), I was surprised. But then I kept thinking of how would a scientific retreat work out. I mean, it would inevitably fall into a retreat or a scientific event. It would either be (1) a very pleasant experience to relax and get to know people, something like vacations from work with work peers (which could turn into us talking about work and then no vacations from work) or then (2) a scientific event just like any other. The two things at the same time? Quite unlikely, I thought.
With some exceptions, 2018 was a hell of a year.
The year was going just fine in my academic and professional life. I had obtained some nice results for my masters and managed to get very interesting advancements at work. In parallel, at the beginning of the year, I had applied to a PhD position, though I had little hope to be selected. Months passed due to the lengthy process, and I kept following what I had planned for the year. For a week in May, the institute funded all applicants that reached the last stage of the selection process to come to Paris for several interviews, among other activities. By this point, I was already happy, regardless of the result. The experience allowed me to open my eyes to several subjects that I today deem very important and it also gave me an opportunity to meet some amazing people. I’m sorry if I’m missing some country, my memory is not the best, but if I recall correctly there were people from the United States, Chile, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China and Taiwan.