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Petnica Science Center has been doing science summer camps for high school graduates and undergrads for 25 years and many of its alumni went on to have good careers in science both in Serbia and abroad:

Petnica Science Center is the biggest and, probably, the oldest independent nonprofit organization for extracurricular science education in SE Europe. Since 1982, Petnica has organized more than 2,500 programs (seminars, workshops, research camps…) for nearly 50,000 students and science teachers in 15 disciplines of science, technology and humanities. Majority of programs are designed for secondary-school students although there are a lot of programs for primary-school pupils, university students and science teachers. Attendants of regular Petnica programs are coming from all countries of former Yugoslavia and all these courses are being realized in Serbian language. However, Petnica occasionally organizes programs (like PI) in English for international participants.

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After a decade of wars and sanctions, Serbia has a moderate elected government, nice economic growth and is safe (you can browse my blog for posts related to the area). It is also a huge European center for birding/birdwatching and wildlife. It also needs to recover from a decade of brain-drain and no other scientific institution there is as worthy of support as Petnica. Adventure, science, visiting a beautiful and interesting place – think about it and sign up for their Petnica International summer science on August 2nd to 15th, 2009:

The aim of this program is to enable young scientists to practice scientific research by working on their own research and presenting their results and ideas. Students will also have a chance to attend various theoretical lectures and laboratory exercises, to learn how to use some important software packages and experience work in the field.

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Interested students should fill in the student application form, write a personal statement, and provide two letters of recommendation. The personal statement should list your interests and explain why you would like to attend PI 2009, as well as anything else you think is important for us to know. All registration materials should be submitted by e-mail to pi AT petnica DOT rs no later than May 31, 2009. The program fee – including tuition, learning materials, accommodation, meals, admittance to the recreation center and field trips, is €500. There are no application fees. Also 30 percent of the total number of pupils will be funded by the organizers, and if you need financial support, do not hesitate and contact us.

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If you are still hesitant, you should read this ‘Science in School’ article: Learning through research: a Serbian tradition:

Twenty-five years ago, in a village called Petnica, 100 kilometres south-east of Belgrade, an unusual science education centre was founded and soon became a hideaway for many rebellious secondary-school and university students from all over Yugoslavia. The attractive landscape and rich natural resources, such as a canyon, caves and archaeological sites, caught these students’ attention. Even though they were deeply unsatisfied with the formal education system, they were truly enthusiastic about nature and scientific work, and realised there was much more to education than school. Long before Petnica was formally established, some camps were organised for students of Belgrade University and members of a movement called Young Researchers of Serbia. Eventually, they managed to find government support to start an organisation with a few employees, a pile of books and a couple of Spectrum computers. Thanks to their efforts, an extracurricular educational centre was established for future generations of curious minds.

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Since its beginning in 1982, Petnica Science Center has organised nearly 2300 programmes (seminars, workshops, camps and small conferences) for more than 40 000 secondary-school pupils, university students and teachers interested in science and technology. Today, Petnica is the largest independent, non-profit organisation for out-of-school science education in south-eastern Europe. Programmes at Petnica help students to focus on the scientific method and to write science reports and papers.

Read the whole thing. Then sign up for the summer program.

Comments

  1. #1 Tanja Sova
    May 11, 2009

    Happy to read about Petnica here, Bora

    it is wonderful and unique place. If I could dream about perfect spot for young people (even not so young), that would be Petnica :-)

    I have enjoyed it. I am sure whoever goes there would love it, too. Cave, nature, equipment, setting, open around the clock, relaxed, excellent staff. Wildlife, archeology spots and findings, dynamics… just about everything – I am trying to make comment short, but memories are jumping in and everything seems equally important. My warmest recommendations!

  2. #2 Coturnix
    May 11, 2009

    I thought I knew someone who went there, but I forgot it was you. Glad to hear a personal endorsement!

    Anyway, spread the word and if you know of a student who would be interested, let them know about this.

    Also, if anyone ends up going there because someone saw this blog post, I’d love to know that as well.

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