The doctoral candidate Shou-Wang Lin stood out due to his academic success, integrative competence and personal authenticity. Shou-Wang Lin is completing his doctorate on the topic of the evolution of dwarf spiders at the chair of General and Systematic Zoology at the University of Greifswald’s Zoological Institute and Museum. His work is making an important contribution toward the knowledge of Asian spider biodiversity. His research is also providing him with in-depth knowledge of phylogenetics, high-resolution micro-computed tomography and differentiation of species using mitochondrial DNA sequencing. His supervisor Prof. Dr Gabriele Uhl confirms: ‘Several prizes at scientific conferences are evidence of his impressive scientific achievements.’ However, Shou-Wang Lin didn’t just convince the jury with his academic accomplishments. His high level of personal engagement in Greifswald also caught the jury’s eye.
After arriving in Greifswald in 2014, Shou-Wang Lin first tried to concentrate on his research. However, it didn’t take long for him to realise that he needed contact to other people in a town that was completely new to him. He then decided to turn to Greifswald’s protestant community where he was welcomed with open arms. Although at first Shou-Wang Lin was not able to take part in all of the discussions held in German, he kept positive and decided to teach German to the community’s asylum seekers from Afghanistan. This transformed him into a mediator between the German education system and asylum seekers who had recently arrived. His German and English language skills are now excellent.
Shou-Wang Lin is also involved in several other charitable projects in Greifswald. For example, for two years he has been looking after children from the Schönwalde district as part of the church’s creative week, with activities such as arts and crafts, fun and games and Kung Fu. Mr. Lin also teaches a Kung Fu course at University Sport, which he sees as an opportunity for crossing cultural boundaries. During the Chinese New Year festivities in Greifswald and Stralsund, and at other events, Shou-Wang Lin shares aspects of his Taiwanese culture together with Greifswald’s Chinese community.
His decision to help integrate people from other cultures into life in Germany and Greifswald bears witness to his own integration: ‘I sometimes feel that everyone has their own burden to carry in life and that this can be hard to understand or overwhelming for others. But when I think of my friends and the time we have spent together in Greifswald, I am certain that in spite of our different backgrounds and experiences, we still have lots of similarities and that one person’s burden can be shared by someone else.’
Due to his personal and academic experience, Shou-Wang Lin has gained an open-mindedness that is shown in various different ways: Through his contact with other cultures in the community, through his excellent command of German, and through his engagement in the community and academic world. After completing his doctorate, Shou-Wang Lin would like to stay and work in Greifswald.
The prize has been awarded by the DAAD for more than 10 years. It aims to underline the enrichment that international students can bring to the university community and helps give them a face.
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