Fellowship experience - Amita Raj

Fellowship report by Amita Raj

It was around 49 ֯C in New Delhi, India when I left to Edinburgh, Scotland, and I think it was the best time to escape from Delhi and visit one of the most beautiful countries of the world.

Firstly, I would like to thank the almighty who destined all this for me and then of course I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards the NEWS Fellowship panel who selected me to avail the NEWS India-UK fellowship on the topic “Testing a new micrometeorological approach for non-invasive ammonia flux measurement in field plots”. I learned a lot not only related to the assigned topic but also in many more fields, like R programming, ALPHA, AMANDA, FIDES modelling, natural peatland (whim Bog site) etc. I also got a proper guidance and training related to running the eddy pro software and handling and processing the eddy covariance data under supervision of the experts, Dr. Carole Helfter and Dr. Nick Cowan. So, I got benefited in many aspects.

Presenting a Buddha statue (from my native place Bodh Gaya) to Prof. Mark Sutton

With Matt at Whim Bog site (top) and with Carole (bottom)

Some old and new friends made it “A home out of home country”

It is quite true that if you have friends and family with you then hell will also seem to heaven to you and here I was very fortunate to had them in the heaven itself. Six of us (me, Mahendra sir, Dibyendu sir, Aniket, Irfan and Nikoletta) were just like a family in the 352 Lowrie’s Edge (our sweet home). We cooked together, ate together and also kept so many house parties. The library (Arthur, Nicole, Emily, Nikoletta, Charu, Andrew, Sammy, Deborah, Rosy…) and other members of CEH gave us a proper comfort and friendly space that I never going to forget. We shared not only lunch but also our culture, history and many more.

“A tale of non-stop scenery on an epic scale”

During my stay (May – June), in a mixed season of spring and summer, I relaxed amongst the high castles, natural beauty of the Lochs and breathe in the air of the hills. This season sees daffodils, bluebells, cherry blossom and rhododendrons bursting into blooms. I felt like as if I have stumbled into a world of fairy-tale. So, it was like ‘dream come true’ to me.

I experienced peace and quiet, whilst spotting wildlife and explored the beautiful landscapes. I am fond of adventures, and its combination with the natural beauty was just awesome. A couple of hours of climbing the Arthur’s Seat rewarded me with an unparallel sense of achievement and awe-inspiring bird eye views of the city if Edinburgh from the top. Two months were just like few days for me and it was not enough to explore the beauty from each and every part of the country. I spent many days roaming beaches, hills and mountains of the region. Weekend trips to Glasgow, the Highlands, museums, the zoo, Loch Lomond, Cramond Island, Portobello beach, Silverknowes and many more, filled me with inner peace and satisfaction.

Scottish Parliament (1); Loch Lomond (2 and 3);
Glasgow (4); View from the top of Arthut’s Seat (5); Edinburgh Zoo view point (6).

“London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.” (G. K. Chesterson) and I felt lucky to had both of them.

London was just amazing. Two days was not enough to roam around but we covered the major part of it like the Buckingham Palace, Madam Tussauds, London Eye, London Bridge etc., which reminded me of many movie scenes and I was astonished with the views and scenic beauty.

At the London Bridge (left) and in the Madam Tussauds wax museum with Johnny Depp (right)

The visit to Paris was just a kind of bonus to me under this fellowship and it was an unforgettable and the craziest trip I have ever had. There we visited INRA, an agricultural research institute and met with a great scientist and person, Prof. Benjamin Loubet who gave us a wonderful hospitality over there. In the free time we managed to have a view of the famous Paris city. “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” Experienced the Eifel tower, a great piece of engineering and had an astonishing view of Paris and seine river, from it’s top.

At INRA with Dr. Benjamin Loubet (1); at the Notre Dame cathedral (2);
sightseeing in Paris (3); at the Eiffel Tower (4).

The sense of freedom and isolation (which is a good thing!) that I felt is indescribable

The last day – Me, waiting for the bus with a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness.

So, at last I just want to conclude with the statement that “It was simply splendid”. I acquired much in the professional as well as personal aspect. It has been a great experience and lifetime achievement too. I want to convey my heartiest thanks to Prof. Mark Sutton, Dr. Andrea Móring, Dr. N. Raghuram and all those who directly or indirectly helped me to avail this fellowship. I pay my sincere thanks to my M.Sc. supervisor Dr. Himanshu Pathak, my PhD supervisor Dr. Arti Bhatia, Dr, Niveta Jain and Dr. Renu Singh who encouraged me to apply for this fellowship and helped me a lot in the successful completion of this NEWS fellowship project.

Thank you very much!

Amita Raj

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