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ICARE Exchange Students in Europe--Written by FENG Huayi
Source: Release:2018-06-04 08:39:47 Writer: Hits:

The sun warmly blazed down on the beach, the transparent blue sea was like an obsequent blue sky, the sea breeze was blowing, the flowers were blooming and the Catalonia culture extends to every corner of the life. The dream scene I once looked for has now become a sketch of my life. This is Perpignan, a place integrating customs of South of France and customs of Spain.


Since my laboratory has cooperation with my European supervisor, I had the opportunity to come to this small elegant and gentle town in South of France to have my half-year internship. Perpignan has unique solar energy source. So CNRS and University of Perpignan cooperated and established CNRS-PROMES laboratory to specialize in solar energy utilization related studies. My work here was mainly deepening my studies that I conducted in Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), namely numerical simulation of optimum design of light concentrator heat absorber and design of more precise model.


Many of my fellow students choose to have internship in Paris and they can accompany each other. But here I am alone. Frankly speaking, I was caught by the exotic here and was willing to explore at the beginning. Yes, it is France, a country with fresh air, developed transport and romantic customs. But when the sense of freshness faded and I began to have my daily life, I inevitably felt somewhat lonely and lost. I had no friends here, I was alone in the office and the teacher did not call on team meeting to let me know somebody. This is reality and I had no idea what to do and my desire to explore the unknown world was cooled down.

I clearly know that everything is difficult at the beginning and I had no choice but to positively face it. So I planned to get deeply involved here. For this purpose, I began with change of my lifestyle. I bought wine and steaks, learnt to cook western food, invited international fellows in the laboratory to discuss the customs and culture here. These enriched my extracurricular life. I gradually began a new life, leisure and optimistic. Now, I would step on the balcony after the lunch, tasting a glass of wine, looking into the castles and snow-capped mountains in the distance, the sea and the sky and thinking about the life. Several months secretly flow away and I would also go for an outing with my friends at the weekends. This valuable experience added color to my life.


The working environment of the laboratory was also full of leisurely French style. There was no fixed work time and no tense tasks. It looked like that the lab teachers and students were relaxed every day, drinking coffee and chatting. It appeared to me that work is just a spice of their life. However, it was not what I thought after I got to know them deeply. It looks that the French people work for less hours, but they work highly efficiently. Playing happily, learning seriously and working highly efficiently are the merit that our domestic laboratories should learn. Indeed, the laboratory should be a place where both teachers and students are rigorous in studying. Playing the mobile phone and being absent-minded should be screened out of the laboratory. Dedication is the spirit that a researcher should have.

There is no royal road to learning and we should learn the merits from others. The French people's rigorous attitude towards study is my largest gain from this experience of studying abroad. My usual research work was done with software simulation. Although I knew how to operate it, I still had superficial knowledge of the formula of the model. I thought this was no big deal. But my French teacher changed my mind with his rigorous academic style. He said that every model is corresponding to a specific formula and you must determine whether these formulas are suitable through reading the literature; meanwhile, you must demonstrate the formulas used in your paper to the readers; in this way, your paper can then be rigorous and persuasive. I clearly understand this and I was dedicated and rigorous in my work step by step during each simulation. This helps me achieve maximum results in a minimum time.


Growth is a natural thing but accomplishing something requires resistance and choice. Achieving success requires spirit of breaking out of the cocoon and becoming the butterfly. The short stay in France left profound impression on me. Thanks to the platform and opportunity provided by China-EU Institute for Clean and Renewable Energy at Huazhong University of Science & Technology (ICARE), I will never forget why I started, forge ahead, firmly and steadily continue my scientific research in the future.