About the original plans and my actual experience of a three month research stay.

Within our doctoral program, we get the great opportunity for a research stay abroad. Therefore, I was searching for possibilities, which would support my modelling experiences in hydrology with WaSiM. After some research, I recognized that my model was mostly used in Germany. Therefore, I was a bit reluctant, since going as a German to Germany for my stay abroad from Austria did not sound like the fanciest opportunity. Nevertheless, in the context of research it definitely made sense! Moreover, since I have never lived in Munich or in Bavaria, it was a new experience as well, since Bavaria is called a foreign country within Germany ;-).

I was lucky finding a nice flat quite easily, which is very uncommon for Munich… I also had a good start in the working group at the Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management at the Technical University Munich, very soon I got to know the daily process with lunch at 11:30 :-). At the beginning, I had the idea to finish my leftovers from Graz very soon (finishing my first paper) to start with the new topic for which I could get good support from the working group in Munich. But then, as always, it took much longer and it was quite hard to focus on two different topics and model setups. I sticked to my first task and worked on the first paper. For this, I could also get some good input from my colleagues in Munich and learned more about this specific model. Even though I did not find the time to work closer on the planed work, I felt quite successful getting closer to the first paper submission.

Beside my own personal work, which was very similar to my work in Graz, I was fascinated how different it is to be in a disciplinary (hydrological) working group. The group still is very diverse, but everybody is working in the field of hydrology. Nevertheless, they also feel sometimes to be the only one in their specific discipline. I guess it always depends on the viewpoint… However, for me coming from the very interdisciplinary working group in Graz with in the DK climate change and the Wegener Center of Climate and Global Change, it felt totally as the same discipline. It was nice to see and recognize the differences, e.g., I could easily follow the presentations from all my colleagues and the invited guests. Everybody was talking “my hydrological language” ;-). It was very different for me to give a presentation in such a context, but also very fruitful. Thanks a lot to my colleagues for all the longer and shorter lunch and coffee conversations!

Getting the opportunity to spend some time of your research abroad is great! You will get a lot of input from another working group even though you will probably realize some of it only when you are back home ;-). However, keep in mind you will most probably not finish the ideas for which you went there. It is all a flow!