ERMeCC PhD Candidates Beyond Academia

ERMeCC PhD Hobbies

While the PhD journey provides great opportunities to focus on the topic of interest and make exciting scientific discoveries, it also brings about great pressure and a variety of stress factors. Between reading, writing, researching and teaching, it is challenging to allocate time for activities beyond academia, and to find the right balance between academic work and other activities.

Nevertheless, diversification of interests and engagement in creative hobbies can be crucial for tuning-up the right work-life balance, which in its turn has an impact on the overall success and well-being of PhD Candidates. This post provides an inspiring snapshot of some of the ‘beyond academia’ activities that ERMeCC PhD Candidates engage in. Enjoy!

Emily Mannheimer

“I have been rock climbing since 2010. I have travelled all over the world, from the US to Europe to South Africa on climbing trips. The best thing about climbing is that it is physically active and mentally challenging. It is also a great way to explore new places and meet new people.”

PhD Club Hobbies - Emily Mannheimer
PhD Club Hobbies - Emily Mannheimer 2
PhD Club Hobbies - Lei Yang

Lei Yang

"Before I moved to Rotterdam, I did not know how to cook at all. After staying in the Netherlands for more than 3 years, I am a great cook now. Want to see some evidence? Here is a picture!"

PhD Club Hobbies - Qian Huang

Qian Huang

“I love music and enjoy singing very much, especially R&B, Soul and Jazz music. I was performing and competing in several singing contests when I was back in China, but now I am only a shower singer. Singing for me is a beautiful way to express various emotions and feelings to other people and it is an important supplement to my daily rational research time. Maybe I will perform again someday, when the opportunity comes!”

PhD Club Hobbies - Carmen Longas Luque

Carmen Longas Luque

“It all started when a friend of mine took me to a salsa party because, in her own words, ‘I was the most loca of the group’, so she thought I could enjoy it. And I did! I enrolled into a salsa course right after and now, a few years later, I can even dance other Latin dances. Do you want to know which ones? Then you will have to ask me!”

PhD Club Hobbies - Qiong Gong

Qiong Gong

I like to play pool a lot. I cannot remember exactly when was the first time I played it, probably the summer after I graduated from high school. Just love it!”

PhD Club Hobbies - Zouhair Hammana

Zouhair Hammana

“When I’m not reading and writing about my research and things that interest me, I practice the Japanese martial art Kendo and the indigenous Southeast-Asian martial art Silat. Kendo is based on ancient Japanese swordmanship and Silat is a traditional Southeast-Asian martial art with a combination of armed and unarmed techniques.”


PhD Club Hobbies - Rashid Gabdulhakov

Rashid Gabdulhakov

“When I was a kid, my father showed me the basics of painting and since then, I like to play with colours every now and then. Painting is a therapeutic process; it helps you relax and stimulates reflection, which can also be very handy for science. I find the Netherlands to be an inspiring place for painting, both in terms of its art history, and its picturesque sights.”


PhD Club Hobbies - Arne van Lienden

Arne van Lienden

“In my free time, I like to visit football stadiums across Europe and other places, especially those of lower league teams in the United Kingdom. Besides the fact that I enjoy watching football, even when it is on a very questionable level, I like to see the passionate support these football teams arouse and the cultural differences between the various fan cultures in Europe and other places. Last year I have watched a football game in Japan, which was definitely the most interesting game I have been to so far!”

Lise Zurné

“Okay, let me introduce two outside-of-academia activities. First, I made a documentary film 2-3 years ago on historical re-enactment in Indonesia, something that I am very proud of! (Including my new Sony a7iii, I can be a bit geeky in terms of camera and equipment). I also go on cycling holidays. The destination is mostly eastern Europe. The last trip was to Romania, a country that I never imagined to be so beautiful! However, I am not sporty at all. Usually these cycling holidays are full of tears and fights with my boyfriend, but when you get to the top of that mountain, it is all worth it!”

PhC Club Hobbies - Lise Zurné
PhC Club Hobbies - Lise Zurné
More information

Read more blogposts from the ERMeCC PhD Club here.