For today’s post we spoke to Bryony Buck, a postdoc at the Institute of Musician’s medicine who came to Dresden from Scotland a little over a year ago.
“Hi, I’m Bryony and I come from Scotland, in the UK. I came to Dresden because I was lucky enough to get my first postdoc position here after finishing my PhD with the University of Glasgow School of Science & Engineering.
My PhD investigated audio and visual gestural communication of music structure during piano performance and how embodied gestural cues convey important information about structural content during communication. I am now beginning my second year conducting postdoctoral research at the Institute of Musican’s Medicine, Dresden. Within the IMM I am researching physiological aspects of music performance to inform treatment, prevention, and pedagogical techniques related to expert musicianship and disorders such as chronic pain and musicians‘ dystonia.
Dresden is a beautiful, vibrant city full of life, art and culture. During the past year I have met so many people from so many different walks of life; different scientific, artistic, humanistic backgrounds, and from so many different cultures around the world. And the things all of the people I have met have had in common is a desire to explore the rich variety of things Dresden and Saxony has to offer.
I would say one thing I love most about Dresden is it’s ever changing atmosphere; the city scenery quite literally changes before your eyes, with new street art, music, festivals, political and cultural events, appearing every week. Dresden loves a festival and seems to grab every opportunity to celebrate the little things in life – for example, I loved the ceremony of the orange trees being returned to the Zwinger! This is also reflected in the political voice within Dresden and I am very proud to see so many people standing up against fascism, racism and letting their positive voices be heard.
The return of the orange trees (Picture courtesy of dresdenausflug.de. Source)
When I moved here I admittedly knew very little about Dresden, about it’s history, and my culture’s involvement in it’s past. I have rectified that now. I guess I would say to anyone thinking of moving to Dresden to look into all the wonderful and diverse sides of this city and it’s inhabitants, because it really is beautiful and there are so many fun and powerful and exciting things to discover. And to not be afraid to just go and say hello to people! Dresden shyness drops away in a second as soon as people see you are genuinely interested in saying Hello!
Dresden seems to have a huge range of opportunities for international students. There are many groups offering friendship, cultural exchange, language tandems, and support. Every institution seems to have some degree of integration programme and German language classes, and while many residents in Dresden learnt Russian and English in school, the majority of people I have met are keen to exchange the bits of language we share with big smiles and bigger arm gestures! And if you can make friends with someone who is part of Dresden’s very widespread food-cooperative these opportunities grow and swell! Plenty of picnics, weekend brunches, places to meet and chat and eat and share!
I was pretty lonely when I arrived here but I filled my days with exploring the city and its surroundings and talking to the people I met at each place along the way. There really is SO much to see! So many cafes to study in, concerts to watch (mostly for free in the summer!), gardens to cycle through and secret places to enjoy good food and wine (or a fun juice!).
Dresden has many vineyards to explore (Photo courtesy of Katharina Freitag. Source)
My biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to try and speak to people in German, most are very happy to help you out with pronunciation and phrasing. Also, cycling is the fastest way to get where you’re going. The whole experience of the city changes when you do!“