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To CERN with Unicorn College I

The cooperation between Unicorn College and CERN is no secret. Moreover, it represents more than just a distant collaboration. Last week, students – along with our colleagues – had an opportunity to visit CERN personally. What impressions did they bring back home? Patrícia Kolmanová, the Head of the Study Department, shared her experiences with us.
Along with my colleague, I got an offer from the Managing Director, Marek Beránek, to visit CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), our long-term cooperating partner. Although we didn't quite know what to anticipate and what we would experience on our journey with Unicorn College students, the reality surpassed our expectations.
We arrived at the hotel near Geneva airport after a long bus ride on Sunday evening. The plan for the next day was clear – a cruel wake-up call at 6am, a morning excursion to CERN and an afternoon trip to Geneva. Therefore, we decided to quickly unpack and go straight to bed. The early morning was softened by a luxurious French breakfast. As a croissant, jam, fresh juice and good coffee lover, I felt ten feet tall. After the breakfast, we got on the bus and headed towards CERN.
As I am no IT expert, I was worried whether the CERN visit would give me anything at all. In the end, I was nicely surprised though. The excursion started with a presentation introducing the operation, main activities and the vast dimension of CERN. The students' curious questions made us learn a lot of interesting facts, for example on work opportunities at CERN, the organization's funding, life in Switzerland and its price and wage levels. Then the excursion led us to other facilities, presentations, visits to huge computer labs or a production hall. Without exception, the information we got was intriguing and the scientists presenting it often used a funny and comprehensible form. However, as a non-IT, on occasion, I felt like in the Big Bang Theory series and therefore I'd rather let a more thorough evaluation on the students.
In the afternoon, we took a trip to the centre of Geneva. We enjoyed a ride on the Ferris wheel with a beautiful view from a bird's perspective and recognized some landmarks. Geneva is gorgeous with its wonderful historic buildings, a seemingly endless promenade along the lake and clean environment. The city's charm was further emphasized by lovely weather and we finished the great day in a restaurant at the Geneva lake shore.
Before the ride towards our home on Tuesday, we had one last item on our itinerary – the Glacier 3000 view in the Diablerets region. We all expected a breath-taking view of the panorama of the Alps, but we also were also worried about the weather conditions. The worries proved unnecessary though as we enjoyed a bright blue sky, sun and a pleasant temperature. What I saw after getting off the cableway definitely belongs among the most beautiful experiences in my life.
It was an altogether great trip and we drew a lot of energy from it for the upcoming 2017/2018 academic year. I hope we'll be able to repeat such a great event at Unicorn College.
Patrícia Kolmanová,
the Head of the Study Department