Below you can read experiences by course participants
Medical Doctor (currently neurology resident)
The Parkinson’s Disease Summer School was a very outstanding and challenging experience for me. I participated there shortly after my graduation from Medical School and it highly encouraged me in defining and realizing my future research interests and career decisions.
Creating a new research project in a very short time and getting associated leadership training was extraordinarily demanding and rewarding. I was amazed by the inspiring and motivating interdisciplinary work environment.
This atmosphere was still enriched by discovering the fascinating city of Warsaw during the spare free time.
Particularly, I met lots of interesting, talented and dedicated people there. I hope to stay in touch with those for creating further scientific projects, enhancing world-wide information exchange and friendships.
Medical Doctor (2015: Phd candidate)
*Immediately after attendance as participant Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad was invited to continue with us as staff due to his exceptional skills. His publications can be found here.
Not only as an educational event to improve my knowledge about Parkinson’s disease, but also as one social occasion, I found PDSS to be an excellent training opportunity for social and communication skills. Their tailored curriculum is specific and relevant to the needs of our educations where many of them are not targeted or even ignored by conventional educational methods at universities. In addition to increasing my knowledge through
the lectures presenting by the movement disorder neurologists, I practiced and learnt a lot about communication and presentation skills, team working and planning. I really enjoyed their new educational methods together with brain storming, self learning and peer learning. Even more, I received some individual feedbacks for what I practiced which was very interesting for me. More about unforgettable PDSS, being familiar with these energetic team of instructors, international students (and now friends) from different countries and the lovely reflection groups are the other things which are still continuing.
Seyed-Mohammad Fereshtehnejad, PhD candidate; Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
First off, let me shout it at you, I am glad I was part of the 3rd PDSS. It is a brilliant place to learn about Parkinson’s disease with team of dedicated students, and under the guidance of experienced and professional trainers (who later become your friends as well).
I traveled all the way from India to be a part of 3rd PDSS and today I am glad I didn’t have a second thought before registering. The format of PDSS is tailored in such a way that not only it contributes professionally but also towards leadership and personal development.
Working with a team of dedicated students from different healthcare professions and countries towards problem solving and presentations in front of professional experts is an opportunity one cannot afford to miss. All this happens under the guidance of professional trainers who will be around all the time. Who knows, at the end of the Summer School you might find a topic for your PhD or even get a sponsor for your research proposal. And if not, you will be sure in a position to come up with another research topic of your own about Parkinson’s disease or related disorder. But then, it’s not only about the “Work Hard” thing, but on top of this “Play Hard” is equally exciting . Hang out’s till late midnight around the beautiful city of Warsaw will become your routine 🙂
Next to this , I can’t forget to mention about the dorm. We were staying close to metro station in the heart of Warsaw, right on the 16th floor with a magnificent view of the city but more important it was about the typical Polish food we had. Make sure you’re a foodie before you join.
“Looking back at the summer and the roads on which it took me, I can’t really see a coherent picture behind it all… it just falls apart into tens of puzzle pieces that don’t fit together at all, no matter how much you try to put them together. But even so, there is one easy step to start off with… put the one with PDSS in the center of the table and continue from there…
Ideas, dreams and experiences that Warsaw and the wonderful people I met there gave me, haunted my imagination and myself – view from the first minutes I stepped out of the plane, when I arrived back home. And why is that?… Because I learned that you are not alone and running in your intellectual endeavors, whatever they may be. There are many smart and creative minds, which inhabit funny and “culturally-different and all the more reason more interesting” brains (just to make things clear… I’m not a dualist! It’s just a metaphor) with whom you can work, ask, get depressed and anxious, party and collide. These all are contextual synonyms for “being passionate and inspired”.
It’s unbelievable how much you can grow in just 9 days, how impossible and forced feels the request that the trainers will push you day-in & day-out with, at the beginning: “Create an original & great research proposal that maybe could even cure a dreadful disease!” (Yeah, like Leonardo da Vinci was ever under such pressure). Yet it naturally fits in the end into the complex net of information you gathered so far. It’s not at all a chore, it’s stems out of creativity, out of “Aha !” moments, out of the empathy you feel for the patients you’ve met or just read about. Standing in the end in front of a football size amphitheatre, a row of experts and 4 live cameras feels like you’re on top of the world. You and your team worked so hard…and the idea sounds so great… it’s just a matter of time till everybody will see it.
I wanted my testimonial to be more experiential, in the thought that all the other down-to-earth details can be read from the site but it won’t hurt to reinforce them: great food and dorms, fantastic, good-looking city with a chic attitude and a friendly weather, modern and comfortable working environment but most of all… cool and intelligent participants and warm, dedicated and professional trainers.
And just to prove that all that sounds well ends well, even from the pragmatical perspective, the gifts I received from this experience are just off the hook… A great master-PhD proposal on neurological research which I might just accept, and travel & expenses grant to the “World Parkinson’s and Related Movement Disorders”, the Congress which will be held in….tam,tam,tam (these are the drums kicking in)…. Shanghai, China!
I will end with a quote from Umberto Eco: “this I recommend to you, sons and daughters of knowledge”.” Dragos-Mihai Malaia, 5th year medical student, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania
“Parkinson’s Disease Summer School was the point of change in my life and my study. I benefited a lot. It is building the future scientists. I enjoyed with new friends from countries around the world and social programs associated with the Summer School. There were really unforgettable days.” Abdullah AlQahtani, 5th year medical student, King Khalid University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
“I participated at 1st PDSS in Adana, Turkey and it was one of the most unforgettable events during my study. Spending time with students of different healthcare professions from different countries was a great experience. The Summer School gives an opportunity to analyze Parkinson’s disease from different points of view, to discuss all problems with professionals, to carry on personal and professional development with a help of trainers and is a good opportunity to start new friendships. I enjoyed it so much!” Ewa Gromadko, graduated pharmacist at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
For me the Parkinson’s Disease Summer School was a challenging week, during which I was able to expand my knowledge about Parkinson’s Disease (PD) from a lot of different views (medical, physiotherapeutical, psychological etc.) and to integrate all this information in a more complete view of PD than I could have developed during my regular study. Beside this knowledge bomb, PDSS is a great opportunity to improve your English skills, presentation skills and you get to know students from all over the world 🙂 So, take a deep breath and accept this challenge. I’m sure you won’t regret!
Mattanja de Ruiter BSc., student of Medical Psychology, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
I participated in the 4th Parkinson’s Disease Summer School in Warsaw!
It was an unforgettable experience in every aspect. Exchanging ideas and knowledge about PD with Professors and students from all over the world was totally beneficial. The organizers were absolutely great, and considered all the details for the Summer School to make it so successful. All in all, I feel extremely grateful for having been given the opportunity to be a part of the programme and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about PD. Thank you.
Anastasia Erythropoulou-Kaltsidou, 5th year medical student, Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Being a part of the Parkinson’s Disease Summer School has been one of the best decisions of my life! It is a very dynamic organization which doubled as a personal development and leadership activities. I enjoyed working hard and feeling as though my efforts make a difference. The relationship I had with my trainer and team members is incredibly supportive. A very open culture and very good environment to study and learn. I have learnt several aspects of running an academic environment here and I am the better for it. I can proudly say that PDSS is an organization that encourages you to be innovative, gives you the freedom to do things the way you want to, and teaches you things that no other school can. Simply proud of being part of a growing organization, “PDSS!”
Vedat Menderes Ozciftci, 3rd year medical student in Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
When I took the decision to sign up for the PDSS for sure I was not expecting to:
To have a mixture of academic and creative thinking at the same time. Knowledge was not simply given but it was discovered by us day per day! Being evaluated and corrected by the end of the night.
To be able to solve problems I’ve never even heard of. From simple time management and team building issues till some of the most difficult riddles in neuroscience and Parkinson’s Disease.
To have a mentor, a trainer and a coach at the same time. People who knew exactly when we needed a break or training and boost us up with the best possible way.
To have such an intensive and exhausting time schedule. Those 11 hours or even some times 12 and 13 hours of daily work were filling our time with searching, typing, brainstorming, proposing, wondering and finally defending and exchanging knowledge and ideas.
To have our work done every day while afterwards we had to go to parties, sightseeing and socializing events; and whereas the day after we had to be there at 8 sharp all fresh and ready for work.
To have our work being broadcasted online and being presented at the same time in the front of some of the most well recognized experts in neuroscience. It was an honour for us to have them travelled from so far away just for a day or two and assess us while we were defending our research proposal.
To pass through all kind of feelings and emotions; anxiety, stress, fear, upset, despair, tenacity but finally get awarded with happiness, relief, pride and fluffiness.
To meet some of the most inspiring and smart people I have met till now in my short life… I have to admit that my life has been changed since that moment in 180° degrees.
And for sure when I got registered to this Summer University… I thought I was going on vacation!!!
I had no idea that those 10 and the most intensive days of my life were about to change it for all.
Just a great thank you to my team and to all those people who contributed, organized and also participated to this PDSS 2012
Zoi-Maria Glarou; Faculty of Pharmacy, ”Ovidius” University; Constanta, Romania
PDSS in Warsaw was about discovering. Discovering that with a bunch of wonderful, motivated people a lot of information can be processed and also created in a very limited amount of time. Discovering that organizers are central to an event like PDSS and are capable of providing an inspirational and memorable time – they certainly were in Warsaw. PDSS was also about reassurance. Reassurance that neurodegenerative diseases in general and Parkinson’s Disease in particular are fascinating and worth spending your time on. Reassurance that discussions with specialists in the topic are inspiring yet do of course make clear that there’s a lot of knowledge to acquire. Basically: 10 days of motivation, inspiration, gaining knowledge and fun. All this (and I have to repeat this) with wonderful people – PDSS colleagues, the local organizers, the PDSS team and also the specialists – surrounding you. What else could you ask for?
Gerrit Machetanz, Medical University of Vienna
For me the fourth Parkinson’s Disease Summer School was an eye-opening experience. I had the chance to improve very rapidly several important skills that usually take time and certain contexts to develop. The visible benefits are not only on a professional level but also personal because PDSS gathers so many great people from all over the world. I’m glad I decided to participate and hope that many other young researchers will have the chance to be part of this ambitious project.
2nd year of master degree studies in Clinical Psychology, Counseling and Psychotherapy at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania