Ana Maria Botero,
BMS Phase I student,
BSc University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia

When I was in my last year of my bachelor program back in the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia, I was sure I wanted to continue my mathematical studies. But I had no idea where. After seeing a poster about BMS, I decided to give it a chance and submitted an application. Fortunately, I was invited to the BMS Days, and it was during those days that I became completely convinced that BMS is exactly what I wanted. It combined academic excellence with a rich intercultural environment.

I started Phase I in 2011. When I first came to Berlin, everything was so exciting and interesting that my mind couldn’t stay still for one second -- meeting mathematicians from all over the world, selecting courses from such a large and interesting pool of options, getting to know the city. And the good thing is that the city and its people are so amazing that this excitement continues indefinitely. Every day in Berlin still feels like the first one.

During Phase I, I attended an average of 3 courses per semester. During my last semester, I wrote my masters' thesis and prepared for my Qualifying Exam. These were two years of hard work but the knowledge I gained was truly rewarding. What I learned in these two years is about five times what I had learned in my whole bachelor program. I am now convinced that I want to get a PhD and I will start Phase II this October.

This decision would not have been possible without the BMS and the opportunities it offers. First of all, the BMS offers the possibility to interact with new mathematicians and to get you close to what is being done in mathematics all over the world through events like the BMS Fridays or support providing travel funding. And second, both the staff and the students really make you feel at home. Being a BMS member means belonging to a family where you are taken care of.

I am sure that I made the right decision to come to BMS and I am very excited about what I will experience in my next three years as a BMS Phase II member.

published in September 2013

Update 2015: Ana did her Qualifying Exam and finished her Masters degree in August 2013 and is now a BMS Phase II student. She is doing research as a doctoral student at HU under the supervision of Professor Jürg Kramer and is a member of the IRTG Moduli and Automorphic Forms.