Our first semester is ending, and a lot has happened in the last few months since classes started, so it’s time for a little recap!

In mid-October, we were welcomed in the seminar room at John-Skilton-Straße 4 on the northeastern edge of the campus. Thus, we were the first EAGLE generation to begin classes in the new premises of the Earth Observation Research Department. Back then, the relocation was still in full swing, but everything has settled down quite well in the meantime, and we enjoy the atmosphere there. Very few of us had met beforehand, for example, those from the same bachelor’s program, but it didn’t take long to get to know each other better. A pizza dinner organized by the department and social group activities in Würzburg made this relatively easy. So, 19 students from eight countries and four continents quickly became one EAGLE group, supporting each other in settling into the new environment. If you want to know more about who we are, check out our 8th generation profile page.

We were all quite impressed by the choice and variety of courses on offer. In addition to the four compulsory courses in the first semester, there were many other options, for example on cloud computing, Python programming, radar remote sensing, and even soft skill courses such as presenting or map making (course overview). Therefore, it was rather tricky for some of us to decide which courses NOT to take. Each and everyone was able to set his/her priorities: either become a programming nerd in various languages, crash QGIS a record-breaking number of times, prepare meticulously for heated debating competitions with lecturers, or, believe it or not, perhaps even build up a social life in Würzburg. Apart from the content of the courses, we enjoy the casual atmosphere between lecturers and students, both in class and outside of it (e.g., singing Karaoke together at our EAGLE Christmas party), the opportunity to contribute our ideas and give feedback and criticism, the possibilities to get involved as a student assistant in different research fields, and the many impressions and tips on possible internships and career paths.

A special semester highlight was visiting the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen in early December. At the Earth Observation Center, we listened to presentations on ongoing remote sensing research projects in various fields (Snow & Ice, Forests, Grasslands, Geohealth), had the opportunity to chat with several young researchers in small groups, and were given a guided tour of the German Space Operations Center. Afterwards, we spent two more days together at Schliersee where we enjoyed the snow-covered mountain landscape, some on a hike around the lake, others attempting to dig their way to the summit of the Brecherspitz. In the evenings, there were epic table soccer, darts, and table tennis duels, and the entire range of mulled wine at the local Christmas market was sampled.

The last few weeks, with many submissions, presentations and exams, pushed some of us to our limits, but we got through it quite well and then celebrated with an international potluck dinner. So much about our semester, now it’s back to RStudio, the programming submission is waiting. A few more visual impressions follow, true to the motto, “One picture is worth ten thousand words”.