Zipporah Rini Benher

I knew I wanted to study abroad and I got the opportunity to pursue my doctoral studies in Physics under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Sandra Gardonio as a young researcher at the Graduate School of the University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia with the full grant awarded by Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS).
The Serene Beauty of Slovenia with the snow-capped mountains spreading across the regions impressed me immensely when I first arrived and most of the people in Slovenia speak English, which made my living quite easy. The location of the University itself attracted me as a travel enthusiast to experience the Italian culture at a distance of half an hour away.
The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) of UNG, where I do my PhD research is situated amidst the mountain range at Ajdovščina – a town in the Vipava Valley. The main “pro” point for me is that from the first moment at the university you are treated as professionals and colleagues. The laboratory has an open and welcoming atmosphere in which I could live, work, and study with different cultures. The research that I do here is on topological insulating material which has an insulating bulk and conducting surface states – an exotic material for the future technology. Preparation and characterization have been carried out with the facilities available at MRL. The professors trained me well to be independent in accessing all the equipment without any difficulty and their friendly and unselfish nature made me confident to approach and communicate directly, irrespective of hierarchy, at any time for their guidance and support.
The incredible support from my PhD supervisor and her valuable advice gave me the confidence to cope with the standards of the European curriculum and enabled me to communicate and to do collaborative study/research with an international research laboratory.
As a part of research, the electronic properties of the topological insulating materials were studied at Elettra synchrotron, Italy, which is just an hour away from Slovenia, has been an added advantage to me.
Apart from research, I had an opportunity to do pedagogical activities, which gave me the experience to interact and teach the students from diverse cultures.

Overall, I believe I have had a very complete study experience and I am very satisfied with the decision I made.