CGA Buddies: Daniel Dávila and William Bradshaw

Daniel, what did you imagine Germany being like before coming here in fall 2017 and how did it turn out to be by now? 

I had the impression that Cologne was a vibrant, multicultural and strategic city for scientific research, and indeed, Cologne is a dynamic city that it can easily become your new home.

What do you consider the most important challenges?

The language. However, the Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research (CGA) and the University of Cologne offers multiple German courses that help you to rapidly be part of and enjoy the city.

In which way did your CGA buddy Will from the class 2014 facilitate your integration?

Will is a great CGA buddy! Since he was the CGA student representative at that time, he really knows about all aspects of the graduate school and gave me important advice on how to start my PhD and how to manage my student life in Cologne.

What do you feel is the biggest advantage of the buddy programme?

The main advantage of the buddy programme is that at the moment you arrive in Cologne, you immediately feel prepared and well supported to start both your research project as well as your new life in Cologne!

Will, why did you decide to sign up for the buddy program? 

Moving to a new country and starting a PhD can both be overwhelming experiences, and as someone who did both a few years ago I wanted to help new CGA students adapt and settle in. I also knew we would be getting a new grad school student in our lab and wanted to make sure he was comfortable and happy working with us. 

What do you like most about it and how do you benefit from being a buddy? 

It's great to be able to support Daniel and pass on some of the things I learned during the first few years of my PhD. It also helps me keep in touch with what's going on in the graduate school and stay part of the CGA community. 

What do you feel is the biggest advantage of the buddy programme? 

The buddy programme puts new students into regular contact with more experienced students in the CGA. This not only provides emotional and practical support, but also helps strengthen links within the graduate school’s community. It also hopefully means not everyone has to re-learn the same tough lessons on their own!