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‘Being back in Heidelberg was like a dream for me!’

Dr. Ana Beatríz Franco-Cuervo
Dr. Ana Beatríz Franco-Cuervo

Dr Ana Beatríz Franco-Cuervo, Political Science Lecturer at Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá/Colombia

Research stay at Heidelberg University’s Institute for Political Science from September 2015 to July 2016


Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University as a visiting scholar?

Because I earned my doctorate at Heidelberg University 20 years ago (1995).


What were your experiences in Heidelberg?

I spent nearly 10 years in Heidelberg as a student; I learned many things, met people from around the world and made a few very good friends with whom I still keep in touch. Being back in Heidelberg without the stress of having to write my doctoral thesis was like a dream! To be able to study and research whatever I want, and in this great location: the countryside, the libraries, the still familiar faces and friendships. Plus, being able to ride a bike without getting stuck in a traffic jam, spending hours in the cafeteria and so many other things – that’s just priceless!


What did you like best about your research stay, and where do you see room for improvement?

I loved all of it. It was a really good opportunity for me to tackle a long-planned project: writing a systematic textbook about elections and electoral systems in Colombia. There’s a lot of discussion about this subject, but it hasn’t really been explored academically. Where do I see room for improvement? I would love to get another invitation to come back to Heidelberg for research in a few years!


How do you rate the German scientific community compared to your home country or other countries in which you have conducted research?

I still think the German scientific community is better than others, where teaching is seen as nothing more than a profitable business. There are greater differences with respect to the German scientific community than there were 20 years ago. Much has improved, but unfortunately, we’re also observing the influence of the so-called ‘academic neoliberalism’.


How much importance do you attach to international exchange for scientists?

I think it’s very important. Science is a human activity that must include contact and dialogue. Technological advances are only tools; they can’t replace direct personal relationships.


Do you recommend a research visit to Heidelberg University to your students or to colleagues in your scientific network?

Yes, of course! Some of my students went to German universities and others are already completing their doctoral programmes. Some colleagues of mine also have academic dealings with German professors, and I always recommend Heidelberg for these exchanges.


How do you rate the opportunities offered by Heidelberg Alumni International and the Research Alumni Network?

The HAI network offers many benefits to its members. You can avoid a lot of red tape, and even small inconveniences pose no real problem. The HAI team are very friendly and supportive and offer alumni many opportunities to learn about and enjoy life in Germany and to reconnect with the country.

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Latest Revision: 2017-03-01
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