Due to restrictions in travel and regulations to contain the Corona pandemic, international academic research is not easy. We have talked to Ilgiz Mufazalov, who has returned to Mainz in those challenging times.

Originally from Russia, Ilgiz Mufazalov completed his first Postdoc at JGU and spent two years in San Francisco for his second Postdoc, to return again to JGU as a Senior Research Associate in June. Circle completed! The COVID-19 pandemic impacted his move back to Mainz in many ways.

He left San Francisco, to visit his parents in Russia, before coming to Mainz. Unfortunately, this fell into the lockdown period, during which travel restrictions were implemented. Happy to find a place on a charter flight to Germany and to start his work at JGU he came fully prepared for the 14 days period of self-isolation. Those days in quarantine were already put to good use by advising and supervising students in the lab remotely. He also took the time, to catch up on the newest scientific papers in his field.

„Even though quarantine slowed me down a bit, the pandemic now has minimal impact on my lab work“ says Mufazalov since his main focus is on research, and in the lab, all work is done in compliance with the COVID-19 hygiene regulations. One negative aspect of the current situation that he regrets, is not being able to travel to conferences that are so necessary for networking and sharing ideas.

With the start of the winter semester he will start teaching, and he is excited about passing on knowledge to the students. Dr Mufazalov values face-to-face teaching, as it allows for intensive interaction between him and students. The current situation makes this difficult, nonetheless he says that holding an online lecture in a live setting still gives everybody the chance for discussion. In his eye’s students adapted and coped well with the switch to technology- based learning, even though it depends on the stage of their studies.

„My colleagues and the Welcome Center at JGU supported me with my relocation. Thanks to them, it went as smoothly as possible in COVID-19 circumstances“ he describes his move to Mainz. They helped him with visa issues, housing, offered translation services and so forth. As all official paperwork can now be done online, it made things easier for him. The digital possibilities - as internet accessibility and software - give us opportunities that we would not have had if the SARS-CoV-2 virus lockdown had hit us 15 to 20 years ago. Definitely we would not have been able to adapt and adjust as smoothly as we have. As soon as he is more familiar with things in Mainz, he is looking forward to polish up his German skills.

Dr Mufazalov is happy to be back in Mainz and discovered, while he was house hunting, hereto unknown to him, charming areas in Mainz.

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