Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Workshop "Preparing for a Doctoral Project" 2015

Preparatory workshop for international candidates
June 1.-3., 2015 in Munich

The workshop 'Preparing for a doctoral project' organized by the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies in June 2015, proved to be a truly valuable source of information, inspiration and academic excellence. Gathering in Munich in early June, seven students from different countries and disciplines with keen research interests in Eastern and Southeastern Europe were given the possibility to work with experienced researchers on their ideas for a doctoral thesis.

Through the morning sessions, the participants were given worthwhile insights into the Graduate School's structure, requirements and admission procedure. The afternoons were reserved for individual discussions on both research proposal development and CV/cover letter's structure and content. The Graduate School's post-docs provided not only an abundance of guidelines on translating our research interests into a successful PhD proposal, but also on German academic standards, writing a formal application letter and avoiding common mistakes that candidates tend to make. By the end of the workshop, most of the participants agreed that it was indeed a privilege to spend hours working on the research proposal with post-docs whose detailed, engaging and helpful feedback went way beyond formal requirements. Their constructive and elaborated comments and suggestions stimulated our academic curiosity and opened new perspectives for our research, while the diversity of backgrounds, proposals and approaches emphasized the interdisciplinary character of both the workshop and the Graduate School.

Overall, the academic as much as the organizational structure of the workshop illustrated well the efficient, comprehensive and result-oriented nature of the German academia. The immediacy, patience and meticulousness of the researchers running the workshop ensured a steady progress of each participant's research ideas, academic competence and German admission procedure know-how. Finally, the opportunity to present the state of our own research at the beginning and at the end of the workshop showed not only the achieved progress. It also proved to be enriching in terms of suggestions, ideas and questions raised in the discussions - particularly since the feedback came from scholars of different academic fields encouraging us to think further about and develop interdisciplinary perspectives in our projects.

Impressed by the research quality of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies and of German academia in general, each of the participants departed from Munich hoping to be back soon. We are grateful for the new perspectives, methodological tools and concepts as well as the profound understanding of the German PhD application procedures which the workshop helped us to develop. - Jovana Vukčević (Podgorica)

German report by Ayan Huseynova (Newsletter)