“It’s the best summer for me.” Meet four of this year's “Summies”

“It’s the best summer for me.” Meet four of this years’ “Summies”


The 2017 summer student programme has been another rich edition with 340 students from 90 countries coming to CERN for a unique summer experience like nowhere else on earth. Students have the opportunity to attend lectures, workshops, and take part in various activities in a rich programme that will make for memories to last a lifetime. We met 4 of them at the Summer Student Poster Session to find out more.


If this article sparks your interest in taking part, note the CERN Summer student programme will open for applications in October.



Alonso, Costa Rica

“Hi, I’m Alonso Corrales form Costa Rica, I just finished my Bachelor and have started my Master’s degree. I always wanted to come to CERN, it’s been a key motivating factor throughout my studies. CERN inspired me to study physics because I have always been interested in the fundamental constituents of matter, in knowing how the world works.

I first heard of CERN at high school, through documentaries and the internet. I have always been interested in atomic theory, fundamental particles and naturally came across CERN and its research. I looked forward to coming to CERN but didn’t expect to so soon in career!

Today I’m presenting our Poster about the measurement of top an anti-top quark pair systems in CMS and TOTEM collaborations. It’s part of the highlights of being here: getting to know first-hand how real-world research works, at the boundaries of science. Being able to witness how scientists work at this level and to be in contact with those researchers is amazing.

The programme also gives you the opportunity to be among different cultures, people from all countries. Imagine sitting with 10-15 people from different countries and cultures but realising that we all have the same motivations and interests, we’re driven by something together. I love how it doesn’t matter where you’re from, we’re all human, we interact and learn from each other.


My advice to anyone out there considering the summer student programme is don’t hesitate at all. Actually before coming I doubted for a second whether I should apply as I’m more into theoretical physics and thought I wouldn’t get a project on that at CERN. But it doesn’t matter as whatever the project you get, you will learn so much, you will gain so many skills and experiences!”


Sjoerd, The Netherlands

“Hi, I’m Sjoerd, I come from Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands and my field of study is Applied Physics. Although particle physics is not offered in my University, I still wanted to join the CERN Summer school.

I first got to visit CERN about 4 years ago on a trip  with my honours programme, and it was then I heard about the Summer School. It made me curious, so I dug deeper, liked it, and applied. One of the reasons of my application was my participation in another summer school two years ago in Hong Kong. There I interacted with lots of motivated people from all over the world, with the same mindset, which was an amazing feeling. The only thing that was lacking in this summer school was physics. Already during my time in Hong Kong, the CERN summer school was on my mind and therefore applying was the obvious next step.

So I uploaded my application and got a place! After my Bachelor in applied physics, during which I found an interest in quantum mechanics, photonics, condensed matters and accelerator physics I have now started my Master’s degree. I’m curious about what is going on in particle physics as I have no background in that. I am so glad I have applied for CERN as I have learned a lot from the lectures they offer in particle physics, it is giving me orientation for the future choices I will make.

The highlights of this summer school for me is seeing everyone is into meeting each other, we are all summers students, young, taking initiative to make the best out of our lives, socially as well as educationwise. I spend a lot of time with people from India, Costa Rica, all over Europe, Africa, everywhere. It’s so easy to speak with everyone.

While living in Geneva is expensive, CERN gives us a good subsistence so we are able to go to the city and do nice stuff. Cost of living shouldn’t hold you back. And there are the Jura mountains, Mont Saleve, beautiful nature so close, it makes the experience greater. CERN also offers great opportunities for nice sports, table tennis, football, tennis, anything. And my colleague, but most of all good friend, Alonso is really into Krav maga, he started up a new group and every Monday and Tuesday we train and new people join all the time. There is a sense of freedom, no discrimination, it’s very inclusive. That’s the general feeling you get when you are at CERN.

My advice? Don’t have any doubts, apply! Since I got here I have had so much fun. You learn a lot, lecturers are eager to help us, they’re open and available, you get to know amazing people, and you know that after CERN you will still keep in touch.”


Warda, Oman

“Hello, my name is Warda, I’m from Oman, and I have done a Major in general physics, and a Minor in medical physics. A friend participated in the CERN Summer Student Programme last year and encouraged me to come. I didn’t think I’d be accepted, I’m so happy to be here, working on the CMS experiment to develop new analysis methods to find the mass of W boson. I started on 2nd July.

I’m enjoying the lectures, they’re all very good, some of them are high level and complicated, but you get into it, you get used to it.

What’s life like here? You meet so many different people from different cultures: it’s not only about physics, you get to know more about other countries without visiting them! The experience also makes you more responsible, you’re away from family and home, so it’s both an educational and personal experience. You have to do everything yourself, you become more independent, it’s about personal growth.

The area is great, I thought it would be cold in Europe but it’s very hot, maybe because it’s summer. But there is no air conditioning here J Each weekend gives a new opportunity to visit places so you do loads of tourism. The best place for me so far has been Paris, Disneyland. It was great! And I also went to Milan.

My advice to anyone thinking of applying is to go for it: to increase your knowledge, to grow more, to know more. Don’t hesitate!”


Ena, Bosnia Herzegovina

“Hi, My name is Ena, I come from a small country: Bosnia Herzegovina. I have always followed CERN publications and everything, and wondered if I could take part, get involved in the projects. I was really excited when I found out that I could: I applied and was surprised when I was selected! The CERN Summer Student Programme is a really nice opportunity for every student. It’s not every day you meet students from exotic countries around the world, from other continents. I really recommend this programme, by learning and researching you can have fun and have a good time. It’s the best summer for me.

I am studying theoretical physics, and will continue PhD and other studies in experimental physics. I am glad I have the theoretical base and can now research and evolve experimentally.

In terms of daily life, we have Summer Student parties,  we can travel around France and Switzerland, there are so many opportunities. It’s nice to see places with other people. You can travel by train, you can hike. It’s amazing! I have already been to Lyon, Lausanne, Annecy and of course around Geneva.  With a good schedule and time table you’re able to do so much!

My advice is believe in yourself and try, to take part in this opportunity. It’s great. Increase your skills, speak other languages, It’s really amazing. There are many clubs and sports. I play table tennis every night, I like to dance and hang out. I’m having a great time!”