Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Latvian and Polish students established an Indian Tribe Predisposed to Physics

One of the main key factors of having great success and remarkable achievements is an ability to make a strong networking between like-minded partners, therefore the University of Latvia SPIE (UL SPIE) and OSA Student chapters organized the International Experience Exchange with the Wrocław University of Science and Technology (WUST) OSA and SPIE Student chapters in Latvia from April 28th to May 2nd, 2016.
Participants of the International Experience Exchange in Latvia

At the beginning Polish guests were invited to a tour through the new-built University of Latvia Academic Center of Natural Sciences to introduce with our scientific environment and student life. Historically, The University of Latvia Faculty of Physics and Mathematics has an old tradition to celebrate the Physmats Days (Physmat = student of physics and/or mathematics) at the end of April. The last event was a Boat trip in the River Abava. Nowadays it has become quite a popular activity: as we were only a 11-member team of the 250 members in total. So, the next three days and two nights were spent into the wild - everybody had an amazing opportunity to feel the strength of nature, relying only on the support of their team members, consequently we had an entertainment and hard work on water. As all of us were well prepared and a part of a well organized crew, we were awarded as the best designed and decorated team (see the indian themed team picture). Needless to say that thanks to the very good spring weather, all the outside activities were even greater and more enjoyable. 

Our team - the winners of the Best Team Design

Here is an opinion and future ambitions of our Polish colleague Mateusz Szatkowski: “I personally strongly believe that the strength of societies like OSA and SPIE lies in people. That’s why as Wrocław University of Science and Technology OSA Student Chapter president I try to encourage members to take a part in activities that will allow us to become more and more integrated, to become a real team.
Few months before we’ve started collaboration with the University of Latvia SPIE Chapter. This International Experience Exchange, organized by UL SPIE Chapter was the next step of this collaboration. Talking about collaboration, we as scientists often expect it to be a scientific project between chapters. Whilst International Experience Exchange created the opportunity to meet each other on completely different ground and train our personal skills in survival area. The more important is the fact, that the time we’ve spent together with our friends from Latvia really tested how our chapter work as a team, what our strenghts are and what we should improve in the future.
I really enjoyed this event from both professional and social point of view. I’m sure that these two meetings that our chapter had together is just the beginning and I really hope that it would be a longtime collaboration.”

Chapter presidents: from left - Matiss Lacis (UL SPIE) and Mateusz Szatkowski (WUST OSA)

As well as Zuza Lis, a member of the WUST OSA Student chapter, has shared her impression: “Taking a part in Boat trip during Physmats Days was incredibly enriching experience. Not only could we relax and distance ourselves from our everyday life and problems, but also we gained knowledge that couldn’t be conveyed in any other way. This was a unique opportunity to strengthen bonds within our Chapter and with our Latvian friends. We were all familiarized with Latvian culture and nature as well as our friends’ everyday routines and life on campus.”

Uniting element - Indian design and love to optical sciences:
 from left - Marcelina, Karola and Zuza

To describe the activities of the International Experience Exchange from Łukasz Gołacki, a member of the WUST OSA Student chapter, point of view: “Physmats Days is something that definitely is a perfect way for celebrating student life. Organizing aspects, atmosphere, people and landscape created unique experience which I won’t forget in my whole life. From each day to another we were more close to each other, better organized, better known. This is the best way to build a team, understand each other and connect in the field of work and fun. Hope to join this event again in the future.”

Task for team work - looking for check-points: from left - Martins, Joanna and Łukasz

Also, Matiss Lacis, President of the University of Latvia SPIE Student chapter, replied and shared his opinion: “It is necessary to be in touch with your neighbours and what is better than experience non standard situations each other? This is why we decided to return the favor of the Wroclaw University of Technology SPIE and OSA Chapters when they welcomed us to their Leadership workshops and organised a team to take a part in a Boat trip together as International Experience Exchange.
The time spent together solving unusual challenges like synchronous paddling and building a suitable fireplace for soup has showed us how to work as a team. We had a dress code of native Americans so everyone was feeling as a part of the team rather from another SPIE chapter.
I am very pleased with this event, because we had an opportunity to make a few plans for our collaboration as well as the chance to know each other better from different angle than scientific conferences and seminars.”

During a little break

Thanks a lot to those five brave Polish youngsters who went all the way from Wrocław, Poland, to spend time together with us. As well as, thanks to the team of the UL SPIE Student chapter who organized, participated, collaborated and enjoyed time together. Awaiting for the next coadventurous events. Last but not least, we highly appreciate the support from SPIE and OSA, as well as the support from the University of Latvia and the Wrocław University of Science and Technology - without those organizations such events would not be possible.

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