Back to School in Izmir

A jump-start is always useful. For a group of researcher from other areas to embark into hydrogen and fuel cell research, an opportunity came when an advertisement on UNIDO-ICHET Fuel Cell Summer School was spotted on the internet. Following some communications with the organizer and the university authority, we were set to go – back to school, five full days of crash course on fuel cell. mmm…

Interesting program - Campaign to remove tatoo - organized at Masjid Sultan, Singapore

Due to flight schedule, the journey began on the 7th of july, a bit early than intended. Instead of going straight to the airport, we decided to visit few places and have dinner in Singapore. The dinner was interesting as we were not sure whether or not we had enough Singaporean dollar to pay for the meal, and the restaurant wouldn’t accept Malaysian Ringgit. Nevertheless, luck was on our side and the cost was almost as much as what we had in our wallets. Haha.. a good start, “this must be a lucky trip”,  thought I. We had a quick visit to the city centre and Marina bay and performed our prayer at Masjid Sultan.


Adnan, Wijay, Chad, Saha - visit to Blue Mosque and Aya-Sofia

Adnan was excited about Istanbul, deliberating various historical facts about Abu Ayub Al-Ansari and Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh (or Fatih Sultan Mehmet) and the likes. Since we had about a day and a half in Istanbul, we had to prioritize the sight seeing and social activities. After a short discussion, the plan that involved lots of walking and tram rides was set and executed accordingly.

An offer from a shop near our hotel (behlul?)

We settled at a budget hotel which was far more than sufficient. The location was close to amenities and historical places, but require a breathtaking climb of the steep pavement. Pulling the luggage up the cobblestone road and narrow pavement was quite challenging.

Ready to go to leave Istanbul for a school in Izmir


We arrived in Izmir after a short  flight via Turkish Airline from Istanbul. Although we were early and the first shuttle service provided by the organizer was 6 hours away, we decided to wait in the airport. A six-hour wait in the airport was easy for me as I conveniently buried myself in a novel that I brought along, a habit that I’ve picked up many years ago.  Perhaps I should follow the example shown by this lady.

A soothing sight - a lady reciting al-Qur'an at the airport while waiting for her family members to arrive

At 4 pm, Enes Ugur was in sight. He was a cheerful and friendly Electrical Engineer working for ICHET, the main organiser of the event. Along with two other guests, and a local guide, the minibus driven by Fatih (a guy that I’ve met before) took off to Urla, some 30 km away from Izmir. The first stop was Pera Hotel where the two speakers for the school were to stay.

The minibus then sped off towards Izmir Institute of Technology (IYTE). In that journey, I had an interesting discussion with Ilkai, the guide, who was a lawyer by profession. We were talking about Turkey – its development and social condition. He was a progressive guy who believed in hard works and always interested in making the country better. I was guilty in provoking him with some sensitive issues – for this I have to apologize here in written. Sorry bro, it was only a joke and never intended to be a serious note. Perhaps, language barrier confused the tone of my statement. I should be more careful in future.

Izmir Institute of Technology Dormitory

Accommodation for participants was provided at the dormitory of IYTE. It was a twin-sharing room with an attached bathroom, but without air conditioning. Since summer was quite hot in Izmir, we slept with windows and balcony door open throughout the night.

Settling down in dormitory room - a real back to school

The program began with a reception scheduled at 8 pm. It was a short introductory session with light refreshment. Following the welcoming speech by Dr Suha, each participant quickly introduced themselves.

Dr Suha of ICHET - waiting for participants to appear for the reception session of the summer school

The 5-day program was on very tight schedule. Every day, we had to attend series of lecture between 9 to 5 with an hour of lunch break and  short tea breaks in the morning and evening. Quite often, the sessions dragged an additional hour or so. The lectures were informative and delivered by leading figures  in fuel cell from academia and industry in Europe. Some of the lectures were very deep into the subject matter that led some of the lost ones to dozing-off.

Participants of PEM Fuel Cell Summer School 2011

Every day, social events were organized. After about an hour of rest, around 7 pm we were back on the bus for some activities, most of which were visits to interesting places including Chesme, Alicanti, Urla, Izmir and Efes.

Dinner at Izmir

Ancient City of Ephesus

Ancient City of Ephesos (around 100 km from Izmir)

Ephesus was once the trade centre of the ancient world,  dated all the way to 10 century BC, but was famed by the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world  which was completed around 550 BC. Quick info on Ephesus is available on the wikipedia ( Today’s archaeological site lies 3 kilometers southwest of the town of Selçuk, in the Selçuk district of İzmir Province, Turkey.

Ephesus - an ancient city, most of which are still buried

The visit to the archaeological site involved quite a bit of walking following the main road of the ancient city that stretched about 2 km. A guide was useful, but our guide was more than useful. He was so passionate in explaining, and was sometimes upset when some of the crowds went their own way. Well, it was a hot summer afternoon…

The public theater at Ephesus (There were 2 smaller ones). A group of Japanese school children were performing for their teachers

Thanks Everybody

The summer school had been very informative and had fulfilled our objectives. We cherished the moments together, even though, we were a bit quiet. Well, when you are much older than majority of the crowd, you have to move one step backward and let the young and energetics took the floor. To ICHET, EU-JRC, speakers and all participants of the summer school, I thank you all. Hope to see you again some time, somewhere in future.


About Dr. AA

I am an educator, professional trainer, safety consultant, researcher, social worker, outdoor enthusiast, and a thinker.
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