"Our Future, our Career"

2nd Retreat of Major Cancer Biology - 11.-12. June 2016

(report by Rana Fetit, class of 2015)

© dkfz.de

The Location:

© Internationales Forum Burg Liebenzell e.V.


Internationales Forum Burg Liebenzell – a modern convention center fitted into a scenic castle dating back to the 12th century


The Theme:

© dkfz.de


Career Planning - that was the theme of the retreat organised by both junior and senior students from the Major Cancer Biology.


Through an intense yet exciting and interactive program, the students spent the weekend of 11th - 12th June in Bad Liebenzell, a town in the Nagold River valley in the Northern part of the Black Forest.


(download the full program brochure by following "more")

The Program:

© dkfz.de


... took off with an outdoor team building activity, under the supervision of 'TeamParcours' in Monbachtal, only a few kilometres away from Bad Liebenzell.


Students were divided into three groups and were expected to overcome three challenges as one team.


The challenges ranged from climbing lodges and walking across ropes that stretched five-meter above the ground in pairs to collecting items in the forest while being blindfolded. Helmets on the head, ropes on the waists and partners in had: off they went!


Communication, trust and support amongst the members were the three pillars the students relied on to overcome these challenges.



After a good four-hour challenge in the forest, the students headed to Liebenzell where they checked in the 'Internationales Forum Burg Liebenzell'.

A round of pretzels, cakes and coffee to refresh and re-charge was next, followed by ice-breaking games to get to know one another.


Now they could get started with ...

The Objectives of the Retreat:

© dkfz.de


"Our future, our career"

Scientists from both the fields of academia and industry were invited to talk about their individual career paths.

It was a chance to peek into the journeys that laid ahead.

It was an insight into the different paths one could take; the pros and cons, and most importantly, an insight into what each and every student wanted to achieve.


The talks allowed students to think into their own future and offered a platform to exchange thoughts, doubts and questions with one another.

The Social Events:

© dkfz.de


Putting the concerns of the future aside, students, together with scientists and professors got together in the evening for dinner and drinks.

It was time to socialise!


Junior students carried a round of speed-dating to ask the seniors as well as the professors and guest speakers whatever questions they had in mind:

  • Academia or Industry?
  • Phd or not?
  • What are my options as a scientist?


One question after the other, they seemed endless.


It was then time for some other sort of questions:

a pub-quiz!


The Next Day:

© dkfz.de


The following day kicked off with morning Yoga (for the early birds who could wake up for it!).


This was followed an interactive workshop on team building.


The workshop focused on the concepts of

  • team work,
  • structure,
  • communication

and most importantly,

  • dealing with conflicts!



After that, several talks were given, shedding the light on many aspects and dimensions of the scientific career.


The Résumé:

© dkfz.de


A final round of coffee and cake wrapped up the day; it was time to head back to Heidelberg...


In our minds, the future images of ourselves indeed were rather clearer when we left, less blurry than when we first arrived.

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