A cultural and academic experience

A cultural and academic experience

By Yenifer Yiseth Suárez
Doctoral Student in Law
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Taking part in the summer school at Giessen University was an enriching and gratifying experience. In June this year, I was lucky enough to receive an email from Instituto CAPAZ granting me a scholarship to take part in the program. At the time, I wasn’t fully aware of what this would mean to my academic, professional and personal training.

In the first place, it was about venturing into a new culture, which meant that I was learning from the very first day. The program was also aimed at students of all ages, levels, and cultures, meaning that every interaction was an exchange of culture, language and knowledge.

Six Colombian women, including myself, had the chance to take part in the program, fostering a scenario of participative dialogue, which, in turn, allowed me to interact with professionals from different areas and universities, which I had not been able to do before.

I want to mention that I took two courses: one in the area Constitutional Law and the other in Ethics and Human Rights. On the first course, our three professors from Germany, the United States, and Colombia, allowed me to broaden my knowledge in constitutional law in an in-depth comparative perspective as a significant aspect to my professional career and my doctoral program.

With the above, it is worth highlighting that the academic activities planned by the school’s organisational body were relevant to make the theoretical knowledge received practical and visible within the German culture.

The Ethics and Human Rights course provided an approach to the social and legal responsibility of business actors in state contexts, and States’ responsibility in the pursuit and reduction of impunity. These aspects are especially important for the peacebuilding process currently in place in Colombia, which we are all part of.

Finally, having had the possibility to go on an intensive German language course, allowed me to come closer to the language and culture and it afforded me the possibility to share experiences with those that were part of the biotechnology program, in turn, bringing me closer to new disciplines. Despite the complexity of the German language, this approach motivated me to continue to learn it in order to have the chance to return to the country in the future.

Having been granted a scholarship for the summer school program at Giessen University was one of the best experiences of my life. On the one hand, I can put everything I learnt at the disposal of Colombia’s consolidation in the context of peacebuilding, and, on the other, having had the opportunity to meet people with whom I hope to consolidate academic and personal relationships is very important to me.