We enjoyed being with the Basel folks again today. After breakfast we met in our groups and continued our discussion. We broke for a coffee break a couple hours in and the met briefly as a whole group to learn the details about our visit to the Swiss Embassy in a couple of weeks. We met back in our group hashing out a skeleton of our presentation that we will continue to refine via Google Docs prior to our meeting in Blacksburg in a couple of weeks.
The Villa treated us again to a fabulous three-course lunch with asparagus salad, pasta, and fruit-compote with ice cream. I can’t say enough about the cooks and the Villa. We said our goodbyes to the Basel group as they headed back home and gathered our notes and thoughts together before our research topic meeting.
Each of us had picked a topic that directed our thoughts and questions as we visited different universities. Mine was about rewarding excellence in teaching. We gathered as a group and each of us had 15 minutes to present what we learned on our topic and have others give us feedback or add to the conversation on the topic. Although it took several hours, it was really fun to hear each of us share what we had learned.
We had planned on a closing reception together in the garden, but because of rain we met in the library room. It was bittersweet to reflect on our time together and for me especially. I was struck by the fact that after leaving this group I will no longer be a graduate student. It has served as my identity these last 5 years and I will be leaving that title with this trip. I walk into the unknown now. It has been an incredible journey where I have made life-long friends. It hasn’t been easy, but overall being a graduate student has been incredibly rewarding. We had another incredible dinner in the Villa and then it was time to celebrate our last night together. We headed to the local spot where on Wednesday nights they do karaoke. We had a blast singing, dancing and enjoying being together.