Ruben Verborgh, Belgium
Looking back after two years, I can say that the ESWC summer school has been the most influential event in my research career so far. You get to know many people at once, giving your network a serious boost: you'll never walk alone at any Semantic Web conference. For me, it has also been the start of two rewarding friendships and research collaborations. We all gladly look back at our time in Greece.
Amrapali Zaveri Gokhale, India/Germany
Don't be fooled by the nice pictures of the beach and the pool, they make you work for it ;) Seriously though, it was quite an intensive week, but well worth both the effort and money. Attending the summer school not only gave me the opportunity to meet different tutors and students from several different institutions and countries but also helped me gain insight into what's "hot" in the field. The hands-on tutorial sessions were extremely helpful as were the student projects. These sessions helped build team, communication as well as technical skills. Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for students to meet other students who are working on closely related projects and interact with experts to get feedback and advice for our projects. In fact, I am still in touch with most of the students and already collaborating with three on different projects!
Okan Bursa, Turkey
I knew that my knowledge about the Semantic Web was not the best and I didn't know the community, but I knew as well that I would be able to make new social contacts easily and learn something interesting. This was my motivation to go to the ESWC 2011 Summer School and indeed they had fascinating speakers. "Summer" is actually summer in Crete and they have very nice historical places as a plus. Even with these beautiful distractions, I was motivated to collaborate on each session. Instructors are very helpful and friendly and organization was exceptionally well coordinated. We studied during the day and made new friendships at night. I am still in contact with most of my colleagues from the ESWC Summer School and we even had a tiny meeting last year here in Turkey too. So don't be shy about your project topic nor your social skills, join the summer school, have fun and learn much in such a beautiful place and friendly organization.
Anisa Rula, Albania/Italy
From start to finish, my experience at the ESWC summer school 2011 was utterly special. I knew from the beginning that this was the right summer school to apply for. Indeed, as a young PhD student I had the opportunity to enrich my theoretical background with practical parts during the hand-on sessions. It was a great experience for my research because I attended lectures from well-known researchers in this field and learnt how to use and build Semantic Web applications. Last but not least was the social part, which was aimed at making friends and creating networking opportunities with people from different institutes all over the world. As of now, the contacts I made in the summer school were very useful. I met so many different people and learned so many different aspects based on their working experience in the Semantic Web. Even today the connections I made in the summer school allow me to still collaborate on projects and paper writings with ex-summer school students. This experience resulted to be extremely rewarding because furthermore I had the opportunity to stay in Germany and working closely with some of the summer school students. Finally, I could say that the place where the summer school took place with the beach and the open air was very joyful.
Maribel Acosta, Venezuela/Germany
What I liked about the school was the balance between a very challenging, hands-on program and the enjoyable people and venue on the other hand. The lectures and keynotes were all done by experienced Linked-Data lecturers and I made a lot of contacts with junior and senior researchers from the field. In fact, attending this summer school eventually lead not only to some nice paper collaborations but also paved the way to the PhD position in Germany that I'm currently holding. And now, 2 years after, I'm even part of the organizing team. So you can say that the ESWC summer school was an extremely valuable experience for me.
Ke Tao, China/Netherlands
Only reading a couple of existing standards or a textbook might make you doubtful about Semantic Web, either its future or the possibilities of monetization. However, the experience at the ESWC summer school, where I heard lectures from tutors who energetically apply latest developments in their research, gave me a brand new understanding and inspired me. Moreover, I got to know tens of young researchers active in this community. The communications and teamwork at Kalamaki as well as the cooperation afterwards definitely gave me advantages in further research. And, having lessons next to a swimming pool and reaching a beach on the Mediterranean sea in 2 minutes are an amazing experience, aren't they?