The experience of an investigator from University of Groningen, the Netherlands, after moving to SMS - Unicamp
Dario Cecilio Fernandes, Young Investigator FAPESP, lived in the Netherlands during five years and currently works at Department of Medical Psychology and Psychiatry, School of Medical Sciences (SMS), University of Campinas (Unicamp). He told to the SMS - Unicamp International Office his experience.
“Living abroad and having a PhD in a prestigious University was always a dream. When I was finishing my master’s degree, I felt this dream was almost impossible. There were some tough decisions that I had to make, including changing my field of research. I have completed my training in psychology and shortly after my master in psychological assessment. My path was unclear: deciding whether to take my PhD in psychometrics or organizational psychology would be decisive for my career. In the middle of this decision process, I was contacted by René Tio asking me whether I was interested in having my PhD in the field of Medical Education. At first, I was intrigued with the idea, but also scared of changing my field of research as well as going to an unknown country, the Netherlands. Looking back at almost 6 years ago, it was clearly a good decision, but I was only able to see that looking backwards.
"In addition to loving the research in Medical Education, I had grown so much in the 5 years I lived in the Netherlands. Of course, during these 5 years I had to overcome many challenges, but the lessons and experience I had and all the amazing people I had the opportunity to work with and meet were amazing. Although the term Medical Education may sound as related to medicine, it is actually a multidisciplinary field, which encompasses all health professions. This field also allows for collaboration from different fields. For example, my PhD thesis consisted of a multidisciplinary team: Debbie Jaarsma is a veterinarian, Fokie Cnossen is a cognitive psychologist, and René Tio is a cardiologist. The different perspectives embedded in my thesis allowed me to understand research and the world in a different way, especially that complex problems need multiple perspectives.
"After my PhD and a post-doc at the University of Groningen, I was awarded with a young investigator grant from Fapesp. This grant allowed me to start my own research group at University of Campinas (Unicamp). My research interest lies in optimizing learning by understanding how people learn from a cognitive perspective and the influence of assessment on learning.
"I was positively surprised how everyone received me at Unicamp, especially in the School of Medical Sciences (SMS). Professors and staff were so friendly, helping me with every step of the university bureaucracy and with my ideas. I was amazed with the number of research projects related to education as well as different ways of teaching, innovations and diversity. Interestingly, this warm feeling expanded from the School of Medical Sciences to the Faculty of Education, and hopefully, to other faculties. My only hope is that I can contribute to this great university with positive changes in education and educational research”.