I'm really excited to be reporting here for the first time. You will get to know me better and better over the next 12 months, and I will let you participate in my work and in the little bit of free time I have apart from my research. Nevertheless, I would like to introduce myself briefly.
About a year ago I moved to New Haven, USA to work on a cancer research project at the Yale School of Medicine. But I didn't come here all alone.
In addition to numerous pieces of luggage, my husband and our cat also accompanied me. They support me wherever they can, and I am glad that they are sharing this adventure with me.
I want to tell you a little bit about my new residence, New Haven. The small town with about 120,000 inhabitants is not comparable to other university towns I know from home. The gap between the extreme rich and extreme poor is huge here. Yale is the heart of this city--that’s why the center is bursting with historical, well-kept buildings, cleanliness and security personnel to ensure safety. Outside the university campus, however, things look quite different. The houses are dilapidated, broken glass bottles that once contained high percentages of alcohol decorate the sidewalks now, and violence and drugs are also omnipresent.
The number of homeless people begging for food or looking for it out of garbage cans is shocking.
I still find it difficult to deal with these social extremes: on the one hand, young people who enjoy one of the best possible educations, on the other hand, people who grow up in marginal social classes, don't get the same chances and development opportunities as, for example, I do, and they end up getting stuck in them.
From my privileged European perspective, my first time here was quite a culture shock. Things like a functioning social system or a health care system for all can only be really appreciated when you see what a society looks like without these things. And at this point, I want to emphasize that I am here in the USA, one of the most privileged countries in the world. For me, this simply means that we are doing really well in central Europe.
That is why we should do everything we can to continue living in a society in which the best possible safety net exists, in which poverty does not have to lead to homelessness, hunger and disease and people are not driven to the margins of society with no choice but to seek equal opportunities. This is a subject close to my heart, but I would like to conclude my report by saying something more satisfying.
Autumn in New England is famous for its blaze of color. The locals call it "Leaf peeping" when they walk through the deciduous forests and enjoy nature.
Apple picking is another activity that everyone has to do at least once in autumn. I know this concept from home only with strawberries, where you can go to a field and pick strawberries yourself and then pay per basket.
Here you have the same thing with huge orchards, where you can pick apples yourself. Autumn really is my favorite season here, so if anyone is considering a holiday in New England, I can highly recommend doing this in October.
I sadly, however, have very little free time at the moment to do this. My highest priority and the main reason I am here is my research work.
I also had to get used to the work ethic that exists here. Twelve-hour work days are the norm here, and work is also done on the weekends. This, of course, makes it possible for our research to really go much further, and when you see how the work bears fruit, it is all the more motivating.
I am looking forward to giving you more insights into my research in my future reports, and, until then, I will get back to work.
Saskia's report no. 1: What I actually do here in the USA
Saskia's report no. 2: Saskia's work at Yale School of Medicine
Saskia's report no. 3: Tour of the laboratory
Saskia's report no. 4: Home visit over Christmas
Saskia's report no. 5: Plans for the future
Saskia's report no. 6: Current situation in the USA
Saskia's report no. 7: New every-day-life in isolation
Saskia's report no. 8: Yale Campustour
Saskia's report no. 9: Where to begin? What a month!
Saskia's report no. 10: Moving day to New York City
Saskia's report no. 11: The first weeks in New York City
Saskia's report no. 12: Farewell